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Empirical testing of intercultural relations hypotheses in Russia.

On March 27, Professor N. M. Lebedeva, the head of the International Scientific-Educational Laboratory of Sociocultural Research at HSE, delivered a presentation as a part of «Culture matters» seminar.

N. M. Lebedeva presented the results of a study that tested three hypotheses of intercultural relations and was carried out by Prof. Lebedeva, A. N. Tatarko and J. Berry The hypotheses tested were:the multiculturalism hypothesis, the integration hypothesis and the contact hypothesis.

The multiculturalism hypothesis predicts that cultural identity safety, a belief that one's cultural heritage is not threatened, is related to better acceptance of others and reduced outgroup discrimination.

The integration hypothesis claims that a migrant's involvement into both their own and the host cultures leads to positive individual-level outcomes, such as better psychological and financial well-beind and better sociocultural competence.

The contact hypothesis, a suggestion that intercultural contact is conductive of mutual exploration and acceptance, is one of the oldest hypotheses in cultual psychology, yet it was shown that the contact hypothesis work only when a number of conditions is fulfilled, most importantly that of equality.

1029 participants from 5 cultural groups (Russian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Karachai, and Georgian) have participated in the study. The measures include cultural, economic, and personal security, multuculturalism ideology, ethnic tolerance, life satisfaction, acculturation strategies, sociocultural adaptation and ethnic contact frequency. The data was analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM).

Data analysis provided support for all three hypotheses both in ethnic minority and ethnic majority samples. However, while the results were consistent with both integration and contact hypothesis, the multiculturalism hypothesis received the most robust support.

The presentation was followed by a discution on the future of multiculturalism in the world and in Russia.

Vladimir Ponizovskiy