The term intergroup relationship describes the relations, or interactions, between two or more groups of people. In sociology, the focus is often on the intergroup relations between two different racial groups, ethnic groups, or social groups. Some relationships could be described as tolerant, while others are clear examples of intolerance.
The types of intergroup relationships in sociology include:
Assimilation occurs when one group discards its identity and adopts the values, beliefs, language, or culture of another group as a way to fit in. In many cases, it is a minority group that assimilates to the majority group, but assimilation can be a two-way process.
Pluralism occurs when each group retains its identity while peacefully and respectfully existing with the other group. For pluralism to exist, the minority or subordinate group must be accepted by the majority or dominant group and fully participate in the majority or dominant society.
Amalgamation occurs when two different groups combine to form a single group with shared values, beliefs, cultures, languages, and so on. This is sometimes, but not always, achieved through marriage or breeding between people from two different groups.
Segregation occurs when one group, typically the dominant group, creates a physical separation between themselves and another group. This may involve designated areas or behaviors for each particular group, to ensure that there is limited or no intermingling.
Expulsion occurs when one group, typically the dominant group, forces another group to leave a community, region, or country.
Genocide occurs when one group, typically the dominant group, tries to deliberately destroy another group. It is undoubtedly the most toxic, intolerant intergroup relationship.