Civility and Rejection: The Contextuality of Cosmopolitan and Racist Behaviours
Applying a dual-process framework to in-depth interviews and survey data, this article explores behavioural manifestations of intercultural attitudes for white majority Norwegians. The article builds upon established literatures on social cognition showing that humans operate with two separate cognitive systems. Affective ‘automatic’ heuristics often generate negative stereotypes, aversive emotions and behavioural responses to ethnic diversities. In contrast, the ‘discursive’ cognitive system, which stores cultural scripts, motivates predominantly egalitarian aspirations and performances. As people balance their behaviours according to contextual evaluations of costs and benefits, the article’s findings indicate a tendency to practise openness and civility in public and spatio-temporally bounded encounters, and to reject or exclude the Other in half or more of privately made selection decisions.