In Defence of Social Justice:A Qualitative Study on an Intergroup Dialogue Programme in American Higher Education

Majka, Jennifer (2022) In Defence of Social Justice:A Qualitative Study on an Intergroup Dialogue Programme in American Higher Education. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

Text (2022MajkaPhD)
2022MajkaPhD.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.

Download (805kB)


The continuous struggle for equity in American culture and the recent racial tensions on university campuses across the United States prompt further exploration into innovative initiatives that maximise the educational benefits of diversity in higher education. Intergroup dialogue (IGD) has gained recognition as a transformative social justice education practice that focuses on issues of diversity and inequality while employing critical, democratic pedagogies. This qualitative study examines the extent dialogue across identity differences can be used in higher education to motivate awareness about and actions in defence of social justice. Freire’s (1970, 1974) critical pedagogy framework is combined with Pettigrew’s (1998) intergroup contact theory to provide theoretical context for examining the complex learning experiences and outcomes of intergroup dialogue. This theoretical framework positions the examination of intergroup dialogue as a social justice praxis versus intergroup dialogue as an individual intervention with intergroup harmony as its objective. The study uses qualitative data from focus groups with voluntary participants from a convenience sample of students who enrolled in an intergroup dialogue class at a US-based university (anonymised as USU in this thesis) in the autumn semester 2017. The study found that IGD shows promising results on the individual level, facilitating deeper awareness and understanding of social injustice, but does not seem to have an influence on supporting social justice at the institutional and systemic levels.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
21 Jun 2022 17:05
Last Modified:
29 Dec 2022 01:29