Facebook and the Interaction of Culture and Conflict

Facebook and the Interaction of Culture and Conflict

Godfrey A. Steele (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3784-7.ch008

Abstract

The intersection of culture and conflict is relatively understudied in communication, focusing on mass-self communication and power relations and new media scholarship. Conflict and the cultural dimensions in media coverage are well documented, but with less attention to new media cultural settings, often limited to use as one-way broadcasting media or as audiencing participants in social media marketing. Potentially more interactive communication exists within a closed community, especially because Facebook has defining cultural, psychological, and psychosocial characteristics. Conflict message interactions facilitate studying the intersection of culture and conflict within a new media setting. This chapter focuses on conflict within the cultural context of Facebook closed communities, theorizes about this relationship, and tests its application.
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Background

Why Study Culture and Conflict on Facebook?

Overview

The intersection of culture and conflict is a relatively understudied area of new media communication research. Embedded within such research are paradigms of mass-self communication and power relations (Castells, 2013) and new media scholarship (Boyd & Ellison, 2008). Conflict in media coverage is well documented (Arno, 2009), but there has been less attention to conflict within a new media cultural setting or to intractable conflict (Bar-Tal, Abutbul-Selinger, & Raviv, 2014), or to imagining such communities in newer media settings (Conboy, 2006). Even when such communities exist in social media networks such as Facebook, they are often limited to being used as one-way broadcasting media, among politicians for example, without real interaction (Ross, Fountaine & Comrie, 2015) or as audience participants in social media marketing (Fisher, 2015). There is potentially more interactive communication, with resulting opportunities for the intersection of culture and conflict within a closed community, especially as research on Facebook has defining cultural (Köhl & Götzenbrucker, 2014), psychological (Anderson, Fagan, Woodnutt, & Chamorro-Premuzic, 2012) and psychosocial characteristics such as oversharing (Agger, 2015). The conflict messages in interactions among members of a community offer an opportunity to study the intersection of culture and conflict within a new media setting. This chapter focuses on conflict within the cultural context of Facebook closed communities, theorizes about this relationship and tests its application.

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A Systematic Review Of The Culture And Conflict Literature In Newer Media Settings

A systematic review of the literature derived from a search of “Facebook AND culture” published between 1978 and 2017 produced extensive results for peer-reviewed journal articles (n=19,811). Refinement of this scoping search yielded fewer, but substantially high results for peer-reviewed articles for the period 2004-2017(n=19076). Prior to the research for this chapter, extensive studies had been conducted on the definition, history, development and features of social networking sites for the period 1997-2006 (Boyd & Ellison, 2008) and a narrative review of scholarship on social support based on SNS platforms for the period 2004-2017 (Meng et al., 2017).

For the purpose of this chapter’s focus on culture and conflict on Facebook and the implications for reconceptualizing new media, it was decided to narrow the search to “Facebook AND culture AND conflict”. This refinement yielded 5,810 peer-reviewed articles from several databases such as ProQuest, Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science), Science Citation Index, Medline, Emerald, Informa, Taylor and Francis, Springer and JSTOR among the top 20. Further refinement led to 4,747 peer-reviewed articles. An additional refinement to include only 2004-2017 led to 4728 results. Another refinement for the period 2004-2017, focusing on studies yielded 956 results, of which there were experimental/theoretical (n=336), social networks (n=255), communication (n=70) items and social media (n=65).

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