Ethnographic Studies of Intergroup Communication

Authored by: Donal Carbaugh , Sunny Lie , Liene Locmele , Nadezhda Sotirova

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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Ethnography, as we employ it, is a distinctive philosophy, theory, and methodology for the study of group communication and intergroup relations. In fact, we argue that group identity is not only a topic for discussion, but is moreover a basic dimension of all communication. In social acts of communication, whether one intends to or not, one says something about who one is (and implicitly, at least, about who others are). The language we use, how we use it, the expressive symbols we assume, all presume and create a cultural arena of shared practice and meaning which some, but not all, will find intelligible. Those who find the communication intelligible can in some ways identify with it. Those who cannot are outside its scope, beyond its practical world of action and meaning. It is this presumption of intelligibility, through this play of practice and meaning, which sets the stage not only for group identity but moreover for relations among groups. These dynamics, we emphasize, are not, fundamentally, options to be used as tools like a hammer or a wrench, but a basic dimension of all discourse, its life-blood, a necessity for communicative action and meaning.

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