Topic 3: Raze. Task 2: Hann Tapper reading

Topic 3: Race

Task 2: Read Hahn Tapper (2013) ‘A pedagogy of social justice education: social identity, theory and
intersectionality’, Pp. 411-
417 (and see diagram on p.426)
Discuss two things you learnt from the text.
And one question/provocation you have about the text.

The reading from Hann Tapper was the positioning section of a much longer document. The selection kicks off with a blinding recap of Frier. Hann Tapper explains that the group’s pedagogy for social justice education is a moderate form of Social Interaction Theory (SIT). 1 The paper also explains that the ‘contact hypothesis’2 which by contrast helps define SIT, but has more ‘criticism than support’. In the selected reading we don’t get much further than this.

My reaction: It seems reasonable that the moderate SIT approach will change the micro (individuals behaviour) by directly engaging with the macro (larger group behaviour).

This seems more likely to be effective to me, because in the course of a project the dissonance between the two views (Macro/micro) fatigues personal prejudice.

My provocation: If the individual experience cannot be reconciled with the group identity, then which will move? Will the perception of the group or the perception of self change first?

I suspect that the SIT approach works to create a better quality of dissonance, by that I mean that the new individual identity is incubated longer. The new individual identities are more ‘lived-in’ before they emerge.

In my experience of group work, trust is built by seeing individuals function in their larger groups. Loyalty and trust are motivating for change in individual identity.

When the internal processes of individualised change is artificially hastened and people step up to take places in a new group (such as a new group formed by a contact hypothesis endeavour), the behaviours of those who adapt quickly may be interpreted as superficial, as abandoning your old group too quickly, and may draw suspicion of persona flaws such as recklessness, betrayal, and ambition.

The more dangerous the conflict is between groups, the more necessary is the stability those groups provided. It would seem sound to approach from a SIT methodology, with an observance that contact hypothesis like interactions may arise and cut across the dominant SIT approach.

A primarily contact hypothesis approach which suppresses interaction through larger group behaviours seems to me to be in denial of the macro. The group’s identities, despite the conflict between them, provide structure and security for the individuals in them. Strip this away and any positive changes from an encounter are likely to be brief, superficial and generally fragile.

Of course that is just a superficial and probably unacademic reaction to the reading. I’m compelled to read further.


  1. ‘SIT posits that intergroup encounters must be approached in and through students’ larger social identities. T is theory assumes that struc- tured intergroup encounters ref ect or are inf uenced by the dynamics that exist between the communities “outside the room,” that is, in the larger societies in which the encounter is embedded.’ Hann p417
  2. ‘According to this supposition, if individuals identifying with particular groups in conf ict interact with one another in a positively structured environment, they have an opportunity to reevaluate their relations with one another such that one-time enemies can become acquaintances or even allies. Understood in its most austere way, this theory assumes that the primary reason groups have discord with one another is the negative perceptions each has of the other, something that can potentially be overcome through af rmative contact. If people are able to deconstruct and even eliminate these negative stereotypes, the con-f ict between them can be resolved.’ Hann. p415
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