After a civil war or other forms of mass violence, a society needs to reestablish trust between formerly conflicting groups and take peaceful collective actions to address the root causes of the conflict. We propose that one method of facilitating improved intergroup attitudes, a sense of community, and collective action intentions is Forum Theater (Boal, 1989); we tested this prediction in postwar Liberia. In 2 communities, 218 diverse Liberians participated in a field experiment evaluating 2 Forum Theater plays (one about rebuilding trust following intergroup conflict and one about a public health issue); we also included a control group that did not receive any intervention. Both Forum Theater interventions increased participants' sense of community and willingness to engage in collective action. Only the play about intergroup conflict increased intergroup trust and reduced social distance toward a disliked group. Specifically tailored Forum Theater thus has the potential to improve intergroup attitudes, sense of community, and collective action intentions in postconflict societies.
- Community intervention
- Intergroup contact
- Theater of the Oppressed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations