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Contacts in contexts: A population-scale social network approach to the study of close intergroup social ties

June 28 , 17:20 19:00 CEST

On June 28, Nicolás Soler, PhD Candidate (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and POPNET Fellow, will give a lecture about a new approach that investigates social context in intergroup social ties across multiple contexts.


Close intergroup social ties provide fertile ground to cultivate mutual trust and tolerance. Social context shapes the opportunities to form such ties, but what is exactly the relationship between opportunities and realised intergroup social ties? When assessing the importance of social context, previous quantitative research has faced a trade-off between generalisability and granularity in data collection. The challenge is to study the relevance of social context in intergroup social ties across multiple contexts, in detail, and at a large scale. To do so, we map social context using newly available population-scale social network data from the Netherlands. We link them to survey data on close intergroup social ties. We showcase our novel approach by investigating which contexts sustain close social ties between immigrants and natives, i.e. individuals born and residing in the Netherlands. Our results confirm that natives who have more opportunities to interact with immigrants are more likely to have a close intergroup social tie with them. We find that this effect is stronger when the opportunities for intergroup interaction arise in private rather than public contexts. We also find that natives with at least one immigrant parent are important brokers in this type of intergroup social ties.

Co-authored with Eelke and Yuliia. Presented as poster presentation.