Ethno-religious diversity and social trust (completed)

Miles Hewstone (University of Oxford), Anthony Heath (University of Oxford), Ceri Peach (University of Oxford), Sarah Spencer (University of Oxford), Steven Vertovec

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust and undertaken in conjunction, this project critically evaluates and provides European comparison to Robert Putnam’s recent American findings that areas with high ethnic diversity seem to manifest low levels of social trust. The project’s objects are (1) to investigate the degree of trust that obtains in residential and educational areas of different ethnic mix, and how this is related to various types of intergroup contact; (2) to develop causal models of the associations between key, theoretically-identified variables; (3) to study the longitudinal impact of contact on outcomes in educational settings, and to plan and evaluate interventions to improve its effectiveness; and (4) to examine ways in which trust and cohesion may be fostered and implemented in neighbourhood and schools policy. Although based in the UK, the intention is to broaden the methodological design to undertake comparative research in other European contexts.

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