Making contact? Black-white social interaction in an urban setting

Lee Sigelman, Timothy Bledsoe, Susan Welch, Michael W. Combs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Although numerous studies have examined the consequences of social contact between black and white Americans, relatively little is known about the determinants of such contact. Drawing on a survey of residents of the Detroit area, this article probes to what extent and in what manner interracial contact (a) has changed over the past quarter century and (b) is shaped by propinquity and personal characteristics. Interracial contact is more common than it was during the late 1960s, especially for whites, but still consists primarily of brief, superficial encounters. For whites, the quantity and quality of contact with blacks are determined primarily by propinquity. For blacks, place of residence matters less, and early childhood experiences matter more.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1306-1332
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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