This monograph has focused on the importance of intergroup relations, their major types, the comparative perspective and its relevance to this topic, intergroup relations in the United States specifically, and how these phenomena operate generally worldwide. We have made the following major points:

continuing types of social conflict in various parts of the world, often genocidal in proportion, persist despite human economic and technological progress, as well as attempts by international organizations to intervene and provide a wide variety of economic, educational, and military aid. Furthermore, significant levels of violence, even in western democracies such as the United States, continue to be visible, highlighting the widespread existence of “cultures of violence.” This trend underlines the need to understand major factors behind the emergence of intergroup conflict and violence in historical, national, and international context in order to maximize peaceful conflict-resolution and significantly reduce potential intergroup violence;

we indicated that societies may be viewed as types of social structures, or combinations of particular contact situations, in which certain types of intergroup relations, positive or negative, may be situationally triggered in ways which are often unpredictable. Consequently, understanding these social environments, their historical development, and ongoing dynamics, becomes vital to dealing effectively with intergroup conflict and its destructive impact on all involved;

thirdly, we stressed that intergroup relations involve the kind of social interaction which occurs at individual, group, institutional, and societal levels, using group-based categories or definitions of particular contact situations. These operate at the individual level as attitudes and social identities, are very much part of intergroup dynamics (particularly social movements), reflect any society’s institutional arrangements (e.g., the social organization of inequality), its historical development, and the global arena in which international reactions to conflict take place. They also occur in particular economic contexts, ecological locations, and political situations, reflecting the differential effects of both internal and external factors on them. We highlighted the importance of their ecological, demographic, and economic environments in this attempt to take a multi-level approach to these complex phenomena;

we underscored that the comparative approach to this subject permits the analyst to develop an awareness of the major factors defining such dynamics at all levels of society within the processes of any nation’s shift from the more traditional to the modern industrial type. This particular method, while complex logically and methodologically, affords the researcher possible explication of major factors underlying a continuum along which a number of cases may be examined. In the case of intergroup relations, this method provides the observer with insight into the kinds of societal contexts within which they have emerged and change over time;

focusing on comparative intergroup relations specifically, we delineated two major types of elite situations: indigenous and migrant rulers with respect to their varying historical, ecological, economic, sociocultural, political, psychological and consequent intergroup relations differences. We concluded that migrant elites tend to be small, exploitive, ethnocentric, manipulative, destructive, and discriminatory, resulting in negative intergroup dynamics. Indigenous rulers, on the other hand, are more likely to be larger, less competitive and manipulative, creating more harmonious societal settings and social relations;

we examined intergroup relations within the United States as reflecting its colonial foundation, elite values, institutionalized inequality, adverse historical frontiers, continuity of negative intergroup contact, hierarchical, elitist social structure, and conservative response to social change. We also placed intergroup relations at the state level along a colonial continuum, ranging from the least to highest types of colonialism, based on differential location, type of societal foundation (viz., types of migration, subordination, importation, and use of slavery), and consequent intergroup relations (positive or negative). We examined isolated and less colonial situations, states initially controlled by adjacent powers, those dominated by invading whites, and the most colonial, typically involving slavery and highly negative race relations. We concluded that a society’s relative access, formative intergroup sequences, and general dynamics are crucial to appreciating its internal social relations;

finally, we examined intergroup relations worldwide with respect to the kinds of contact situations behind the formation of particular societal contexts relating to general levels of intergroup conflict. We examined a wide range of societal contexts, including the isolated and remote, traditional societies, those subject to external control and/or cession, countries exposed to high levels of outside invasion, areas which became protectorates, and situations formed predominantly through external colonialism. We concluded that particular kinds of contact sequence (rather than type of societal context) differentiated between low and high intergroup conflict: contact situations which facilitate indigenous political development, self-government, constitutional reform, democracy, and independence tend to result in social harmony; on the other hand, external invasion, partitioning, interference, manipulation, occupation, exploitation, imposed elites, and other forms of differentiation tend to create dictatorships, revolutions, civil war, and generally high levels of intergroup violence involving genocide on occasion. Based on this, we concluded that the higher a society’s level of independence, the greater the likelihood of intergroup harmony; alternatively, conditions which repress indigenous autonomy inevitably result in societal tension and violence. Facilitation of a society’s independence is consequently vital to ensuring its internal social harmony. What appears crucial to intergroup harmony is any group and society’s freedom to meet its needs adequately in its own way, without outside domination, manipulation, or exploitation of any kind. The above analysis also appears to indicate that some kinds of historical, ecological, societal, and political conditions tend to favor group independence and relative intergroup harmony while others have the opposite effect.