Forum theater can improve intergroup attitudes, sense of community, and collective action intentions: Evidence from Liberia

Friederike Feuchte, Katelin H.S. Neufeld, Rezarta Bilali, Agostino Mazziotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-280
Number of pages11
JournalPeace and Conflict
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Community intervention
  • Intergroup contact
  • Postconflict
  • Reconciliation
  • Theater of the Oppressed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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