Social Psychological Approaches to Intergroup Communication

Authored by: Scott A. Reid

The Handbook of Intergroup Communication

Print publication date:  May  2012
Online publication date:  June  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415889643
eBook ISBN: 9780203148624
Adobe ISBN: 9781136513619


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The science of intergroup communication is predominantly social psychological, and has focused on the communicative dimensions of prejudice, stereotyping, and social influence. Over time and across areas, a common finding has emerged from this work. Namely, researchers have observed that these phenomena are characterized by social structuring and social evaluation along orthogonal dimensions of status and solidarity (e.g., Bales, 1956; Brown, 1965; Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002; Giles & Coupland, 1991). In fact, this is true across areas of investigation in intergroup communication: Research on small group dynamics (e.g., Bales, 1956) has found that hierarchies of status and socio-emotional standing emerge from communication, and that these hierarchies maintain inequalities of participation and influence; social identity research (see Giles & Coupland, 1991) has found that these dimensions characterize language attitudes, and that language attitudes affect ongoing intergroup relations (see Chapter 7, this volume); work in social cognition has explored the links between linguistic representations of groups and social inclusion and exclusion (e.g., Mullen & Rice, 2003); and recent work is beginning to demonstrate the evolutionary significance of language in promoting status and solidarity.

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