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Advances in Intergroup Communication

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Howard Giles and Anne Maass

Advances in Intergroup Communication is a timely contribution to the field. It reflects developments in older, more established intergroup settings (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, organizations) whilst introducing newer studies such as the military and political parties. It also pays attention to emerging trends in new media and social networks and considers the developing field of neuroscience of communication.
The volume brings together authors from different geographical areas (North America, Europe, and Australia) and from different disciplines (particularly communication, linguistics, and psychology). Contributions are organized around five themes, corresponding to the five sections of the book: defining features and constraints; tools of intergroup communication; social groups in their context; intergroup communication in organizations; and future directions.
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Chapter Ten: Social Media and Intergroup Communication: Collapsing and Expanding Group Contexts

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← 154 | 155 →CHAPTER TEN

Social Media and Intergroup Communication

Expanding Identification and Collapsing Contexts

CALEB T. CARR, ERIC J. VARNEY, AND J. RYAN BLESSE

The “Star Wars vs. Star Trek” Facebook community1 is comprised of 1,812 members, who use the forum to continue one of the most contested and persistent debates in science fiction. Just as in traditional Web-based chat fora, individuals post information about and argue the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two titular franchises, clustering into two distinct groups based on members’ attitudes and subsequent social identities (see Walther & Carr, 2010). Star Wars fans argue the merits of George Lucas’s galaxy far, far away and decry the naiveté of any Starfleet cadet striving to wear a red shirt; while Star Trek fans concurrently advocate Gene Rodenberry’s egalitarian Federation and mock Darth Vader’s crippling asthma. As these interactions occur, ingroups and outgroups form, wherein individuals polarize with others holding similar views on the issue and distancing themselves from members who do not share their views on the technological terrors that were the Death Stars.

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