Why Can’t We Live Together?

17th Jan 2013; 13:00

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RSA Thursday

The cities we live in are more ethnically, financially, culturally and linguistically diverse than ever before, and yet we are collectively suffering from what Obama has recently termed an ‘empathy deficit’.  Is it possible to transcend our differences and create workable, peaceable societies, or are we destined to suffer the ‘distrust’ and division Robert Putnam argued was the inevitable consequence of disparate societies?

Celebrated academic Miles Hewstone visits the RSA to challenge Putnam’s findings, and to provide evidence for how ‘intergroup contact’ can play a fundamental role in creating peaceful, heterogeneous societies.

Speaker: Miles Hewstone, award-winning professor of social psychology at Oxford University and adviser to the Department of Communities and Local Government. Miles uses data from his fieldwork in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and South Africa to highlight the value of cross-group friendship and interaction, and to explore how, when and why cross-group contact works.

Chair: Nicola Bacon, founding director, Social Life

See what people said on Twitter: #RSAnetwork

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