Social Cohesion without a Mediator: The Role of Cooperative Contact

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


How to successfully promote social cohesion in a post-conflict divided society constitutes one of the pressing challenges worth taking up. By using the premise of contact theory, a qualitative study that explored the relational effects of
contact, in the cooperative form of organisation, between antagonistic groups in post-genocide Rwanda—genocide survivors and former genocide perpetrators, as well as their respective family members—was conducted. Findings indicate that the cooperative contact, which involves cooperative members’ compliance with
cooperative values and principles, created a positive working environment that engaged them in an intimate friendlier communication that transformed their relationships constructively. This corroborates the existing literature regarding the positive relational effects of contact between antagonistic people to achieve
the same goal. The novelty of this study is that successful social cohesion necessitates the integration of the economic and social dimensions of life. In addition, unlike previous contact-based mechanisms that are public and involve a third party or mediator, the cooperative way is private and does not involve a mediator, which makes it an alternative approach for social cohesion after violent conflicts.
Original languageEnglish
TypePolicy Brief
EditionPB 018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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