Preserving spatial and temporal dimensions in observational data of segregation

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 6
  • Abstract:

    Recent approaches to the study of intergroup contact have emphasised the need for naturalistic studies and the importance of paying attention to the spatiality of contact. In this article it is argued that it is important to preserve both spatiality and temporality when studying inter-group contact in naturalistic settings. This is not easy to do with existing observational methods, and a novel approach is proposed. Photographs are taken of a public space with a fixed periodicity and vantage point, and with knowledge of the physical layout of the space, three-dimensional, time-marked data points are recorded for each inhabitant. A public space on a university campus was used as a test bed, and data are reported that show it to be very useful, giving fresh insights into the nature of segregation and integration in informal leisure spaces, as well as providing evidence of the importance of taking temporality into account when studying naturalistic instances of inter-group contact.