11-20 of 778 Results

Article

Ethnicity, Identity, and Branding in Postcommunist Romania  

Alina Dolea and Arthur Suciu

Among the Eastern European nations, Romania experienced one of the harshest forms of communism that imposed an ethnically homogenous nation and gradually cut the nation off from the rest of the world. The violent revolution to overthrow the communist regime in December 1989 was widely covered by the international news media and foreign correspondents who came to report from the ground: Moving images of a backward, poor country, with disabled children abandoned in orphanages, made headlines at the time. They have shaped the first representations of postcommunist Romania in the West, generating in turn outrage and heated debates within Romanian society over the negative stereotypical image of the nation thus projected to global audiences. Competing discourses over what is representative for the Romanian nation and how it should be promoted abroad have been recurring since then in the institutional, media, commercial, and cultural public spheres. Romania’s relationship with the West has been, and continues to be, discussed particularly along the lines of how “others” (in the West) perceive and evaluate the nation. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) membership in 2004 and 2007, respectively, have been constructed as symbolic victories, legitimizing the democratic transition of the nation, while its progress has constantly been evaluated in comparison with its neighbors. These have been part of nation-building efforts aimed at constructing a certain relation of difference between Romania and the other Eastern European postcommunist nations. They have added to the ongoing self-reflective identity efforts that have also included facing and dealing with uncomfortable aspects in Romania's history throughout the 20th century: ethnic homogenization, discrimination and the oppression of minoritieswere hidden before and during communism and have been marginally discussed after the fall of communism. These debates and competing discourses have influenced Romanians’ representations and perceptions of self, “others”, and their own history, amplifying their emotions of pride, inferiority complex, or shame at “belonging” to this nation and this Balkan, or Eastern European, space. The negative image of Romania has often been discussed in terms of who is to blame for generating such negative representations. Initially, it was the communists and the horrors of their regime. Then, it was the foreign media that, every now and then, subjected Romania to negative media campaigns. After 2010, it has been the politicians, sometimes the West, the millions of Romanian migrants and, especially, the Roma migrants. Romania’s postcommunist development has been constantly evaluated through the “eyes” of the West and the imperative of a better nation branding has been turned into a dominant discourse. Since the fall of Ceausescu, Romania’s negative image that needs to be corrected, the tensions between Romanians’ (self) representations and perceptions of “others,” and the constant identity negotiations after 45 years of harsh communism have been intertwined public issues and are to date recurring in public debates.

Article

Maternal Emotions and Childrearing in China  

Meng Li

Psychological research on maternal emotions often examines how mothers’ emotional expression or regulation may affect children’s development. This perpetual interest in the benefit and harm of mothers’ emotions reflects popular beliefs that women are inherently emotional and, as the primary caregiver of children, mothers must restrain and regulate their emotions in order to raise well-balanced children. Rather than treating maternal emotions as private, intrapersonal feelings, scholars from various disciplines (e.g., sociology, anthropology, communication, women’s and gender studies, etc.) have recognized that many sociocultural forces contribute to the formation and interpretation of emotions. Emotions are not just a primary means through which humans experience the world but are also an avenue for understanding both the individual and the society. The interaction between the psychological and the social is especially salient in societies undergoing radical social transformations, such as China. In the postsocialist era (1978–present), a mother-responsible, child-centered, and education-oriented childrearing culture has emerged in China, presenting unforeseen challenges to parents. Unlike their parents’ generation who mostly adopted traditional authoritarian styles of childrearing, parents who raise children in the new cultural environment are expected to meet the multifaceted needs of their children while also cultivating intimate bonds with them. Mothers in particular carry the greatest emotional burden of childrearing. To be good mothers, they are told that they must learn how to express their emotions appropriately. Proper expressions of love and intimacy keep the channels of communication open and foster trust between generations. Expressions of negative emotions, conversely, are described by childcare experts as a potential threat to children’s psychological development. But when mothers are confronting a highly competitive education system and an increasingly narrower path for social mobility, negative emotions, such as anger and ambivalence, are inevitable and justified. Mothers from different socioeconomic backgrounds also have different emotional experiences when raising children. While urban middle-class mothers are anxious about food safety, environmental pollution, and their children’s educational achievements, rural–urban migrant mothers feel guilty for leaving their children behind in the countryside to pursue a dependable income. Overall, the Chinese case illustrates how maternal emotions can provide a unique window through which a society’s childrearing culture, intergenerational dynamics, and structural inequalities can be observed.

Article

Communicative Decisions in Families  

Rudy C. Pett, Kristina M. Scharp, and Yueyi Fan

Families represent a central relational unit within society and a formative context of interdependence throughout one’s life. How family members individually and collectively navigate communicative decisions therefore illustrates a process offering implications for each member within a family. Although various forms and contexts of decision-making might emerge, decisions guiding how family members communicate remain inevitable. Thus, particular importance emerges in understanding the processes and considerations that guide communicative decisions in families. Some decision-making processes might remain implicit, but several communication theories and models illuminate explicit considerations guiding family members’ communicative decisions. The first set of theoretical perspectives provides insights regarding communicative decisions relevant in contexts of uncertainty. The theory of motivated information management, for example, suggests that family members must make decisions regarding how they wish to manage a lack of information and any resulting uncertainty. However, those decisions likely remain guided by how family members assess their individual (or collective) ability to obtain the desired information, as well as cope with the outcomes of obtaining new information. Relatedly, uncertainty management theory illustrates the ways that family members experiencing uncertainty likely face decisions regarding if, as well as to what extent, they wish to acquire more information related to the source of uncertainty. Communication often serves as an information-seeking behavior family members decide to either enact or avoid, depending on how interested they are in reducing their uncertainty. A second set of theoretical perspectives illustrates the decisions family members face regarding if (and how) they communicate “private” information, as well as secrets. When managing private information, communication privacy management theory outlines decisions family members likely confront related to privacy ownership, privacy control, and privacy turbulence. In terms of secrets, the revelation risk model explicates considerations guiding if (and how) individuals decide to reveal secrets to their family members. These considerations include assessments of potential risk, perceived communication efficacy, and the relational closeness between the family members. The cycle of concealment model also examines decisions to reveal secrets, but this model suggests that these decisions also consider elements such as family interaction histories and, similarly, the quality of the relationship shared between the family members. A final theoretical perspective illuminates how health contexts introduce unique considerations that might dictate if (and how) family members decide to communicate about health-related information. Specifically, the disclosure decision-making model proposes that these types of communicative decisions remain guided by more unique considerations, such as (a) the type of information to be disclosed, (b) the relationships among the family members, (c) how a family member is likely to respond to the disclosure, (d) perceived disclosure efficacy, and (e) available strategies to disclose the information. Collectively, these six theoretical perspectives provide a multifaceted understanding of the central processes and considerations that guide communicative decisions in families.

Article

Identification and Parasocial Relationships With Video Game Characters  

Arienne Ferchaud

The field of game studies rests on how video game players use their relationships with their avatars to fulfill the goals of the game. From studies on the effects of violence in video games to examinations of serious games for entertainment and/or education, all areas presume a level of connection between player and the avatar they control. This relationship is first defined by the type of play style—that is, the approach the player takes when sitting down to play. Next is the avatar—the graphical representation of the player—that will differ drastically from game to game. Based on these two individuals, one actual the other simulated, a relationship of some sort is built. This relationship can be monadic, meaning the player fully identifies with the avatar to the point that they are the same being. In contrast, it could be dyadic, in which a separation exists between player and avatar more akin to a parasocial relationship (PSR). Further, some scholars have suggested that the relationship between player and avatar exists on a continuum known as player-avatar relationships. Concepts like presence and empathy can be used to predict the strength of the relationship between player and avatar. This bond is incredibly important and can be used to predict both enjoyment of the game and cultivate story-consistent attitudes. Future research should examine more closely the nature of PSRs between avatar and player, as this context is relatively unexplored.

Article

Minga for Indigenous Collective Communication: Indigenous Communication Public Policy in Colombia  

Eliana Herrera Huérfano, Amparo Cadavid Bringe, and Jair Vega-Casanova

Indigenous activism in Colombia has a long history and various paths of development. The struggle of Indigenous peoples rose at the time of independence from Spain in the early 19th century and is still ongoing. Throughout this time, the movement has achieved the cultural recognition of Indigenous People, the preservation of their territories, the safeguard of their image, the protection of image property, the defense of their political and social rights, their autonomy, and what they call “buen vivir” (“good living”) as a proposal for all humanity. It was only in 1991 that Indigenous peoples were recognized as full citizens in the new Colombian Constitution. However, Colombians remain polarized about Indigenous issues, including their worldviews, proposals, movements, rights, and full inclusion into society. Indigenous activists remain marginalized and discriminated despite the new legislation. In 2019, approximately 80 Indigenous leaders were murdered. Since 2010, Indigenous activists have worked to build a collective communication public policy for their communication practices to be recognized as a new proposal, a means to support their struggle for other rights.

Article

Journalism of the Populist Movement  

Timothy Vest Klein

In the 1880s and 1890s working class Populists from the American South and Midwest started approximately 1,000 small newspapers in support of the Populist movement. Populist journalists, such as Henry Vincent, Mary Elizabeth Lease, Thomas E. Watson, Charles W. Macune, Ignatius Donnelly, and James “Cyclone” Davis, saw themselves as writing on behalf of the nation’s struggling farmers and working poor. They attempted to unite the economic suffering of sharecroppers and indebted farmers with the despair of wage laborers and the declining fortunes of independent craftsmen, who were being put out of business by massive corporations. Populist journalists focused on economic suffering along with the political and social isolation of life on the geographic periphery. They contrasted the wealth and power of industrialists and political elites in the boardrooms and exclusive social clubs of the Eastern seaboard with life in the slums of urban metropolises and in rural America. Out of the Populists’ isolation came a form of journalism that was full of intensity for their cause and a certainty in their moral superiority. For instance, Populists did not simply advocate for increasing the nation’s money supply through the free coinage of silver—they declared that “free silver will save us” and “God will raise up a Moses to lead us out” of the bondage of the gold standard. Although free silver may be the most widely remembered Populist plank, its emphasis in 1896 was seen at the time, and by later historians, as a strategic miscalculation that split the Populist movement and played a major role in the movement’s downfall. Nonetheless, the fervor and moral certitude that Populists expressed around free silver was also evident in their advocacy for the sub-treasury agricultural loan program, farming cooperatives, the graduated income tax, postal savings banks, regulation (or public ownership) of the nation’s monopolies, and numerous other Populist policies. The boldness of Populist communication gave farmers and political outsiders the confidence to enter the political arena and fight for their ideas, but it also created intense hostility against the movement. Many Populist journalists preached the superiority of rural areas over urban areas, of the South and Midwest over the East Coast, of manual labor over office work, and of the “plain people” over political and economic elites, and in the process they made many powerful enemies who were committed to defeating the Populist movement. Populist journalism was sandwiched between two broader journalistic trends. With the rise of the yellow press in the 1890s, journalism was moving toward a hypercommercialization, where newspapers were attracting a mass audience and news was becoming a big business. At the same time, journalism was also moving toward greater professionalism, with the rise of journalism education and the flourishing of Progressive journalism in the decades following the Populist movement. Populist journalism did not fit into either of these conflicting trends, and it was instead a vestige of the partisan press era of personal attack journalism that was common in the United States in the early 19th century.

Article

The Rhetoric of Sport  

Michael L. Butterworth

The relationship between rhetoric and sport dates back to ancient Greece, but the academic discipline of rhetorical criticism did not take up the study of sport in earnest until the turn of the 21st century. The growth of the field draws from the traditions of antiquity, featuring a shared emphasis on agonistic democracy. Given this interdependent heritage, rhetoric is especially well suited to the study of sport. In particular, rhetorical scholars have focused on four areas of inquiry: (a) apologia and image repair, (b) presentations and representations of identity, (c) constructions of myth and ideology, and (d) athlete activism. Contemporary work looks to these contexts to demonstrate the many ways that sport has reflected, maintained, and constituted public and political culture.

Article

Argentina and a Racism Hidden in Plain Sight  

Sergio Caggiano

As part of a push to homogenize culture, the modern Argentine nation-state (1880–1930) did away with race as an explicit criterion of social classification, laying the foundations for the myth of White Argentina. Cultural productions and the mainstream media have fed that myth for a century. In recent decades (since the mid-1980s and the 1990s), however, community media outlets have drawn attention to racist practices against specific social groups, particularly Indigenous peoples, regional immigrants, and Black people. While working to forge ties with ancestors from the 19th century or even earlier, these alternative media outlets tend to overlook the 20th century entirely, as if to confirm how successfully Argentina rendered non-White people invisible during the nation’s modern history. Besides targeting minority groups, racism in modern Argentina was also directed at a large swath of the working class that embodies what shall be referred to here as negritud popular (low-class Blackness). What is the relationship between discrimination against specific groups, their responses to this discrimination, and a broader racism directed against working-class and popular sectors? Working through denial and drawing on appearance, Argentinian racism operates ambiguously and intersects with other forms of discrimination. By removing the racial dimension from racism, race could no longer be politicized, but “White” Argentines could still refuse to acknowledge others’ existence, shaping a racism through denial that is epitomized in the commonly heard “in Argentina there are no Blacks/Indians left.” Appearance proves key in this process: Although it alludes to the color of one’s skin and phenotype, it also encompasses a number of visible traits, such as clothing and accessories, gestures, and face and hair care, that, when taken together, convey a person’s social class and value. From this perspective, racism in Argentina targets two types of subjects (ethnic, national, and diasporic subjects, on the one hand, and negritud popular on the other), although certain individuals may fall into both categories. The spaces for racism in Argentina—and for combating racism—are difficult to locate with any precision.

Article

Conflict in Family Communication  

John P. Caughlin and Emily Gerlikovski

Conflict is a common experience in families. Although conflicts can be intense, most conflicts in families are about mundane issues such as housework, social life, schoolwork, or hygiene. Families’ negotiations over even such mundane topics, however, have important implications. Through conflicts with other family members, children typically first learn about managing difficulties with others, and the skills they learn in such conflicts are important to their social lives beyond their families. Yet poorly managed conflicts that become more intense or personal can undermine the well-being of families and family members. Family conflicts are extremely complex, and understanding them requires analysis at multiple levels, including examining the individual family members, dyads and larger groups within the family, and the sociocultural context in which families are embedded. At the individual level, family members’ conflict behaviors (e.g., exhibiting positive affect vs. negative affect), conflict skills (e.g., whether they are able to resolve problems), and cognitions (e.g., whether they make generous attributions about other family members' intent during disputes) all are important for understanding the impact of family conflicts. Examining conflict from the dyadic and polyadic levels recognizes that there are important features of conflict that are only apparent with a broader perspective. Dyadic and polyadic constructs include patterns of behavior, conflict outcomes that apply to all family members involved, and beliefs shared by family members. There are also particular types of relationships within families that have salient conflicts which have drawn considerable scholarly attention, such as parent–child or parent–adolescent conflicts, conflicts between siblings, marital conflicts, and conflicts between co-parents. In addition, families experience various transitions, and the life course of families influences conflict. Some key periods for conflict are the early years of marriage, the period of launching children and empty nest, and a family member navigating the end of life. Finally, family conflicts occur in a larger sociocultural context in which societal events and conditions affect family conflict. Such contextual factors include broad social structures (e.g., societal-level power dynamics between men and women), financial conditions, different co-cultural groups within a country, cross-cultural differences, and major events such as the COVID-19 pandemic that have direct effects on families and also elicit dramatic social responses that affect families. Despite the complexities, it is important to understand family conflict because of its implications for the health and well-being of families and family members.

Article

Flow Experiences and Media  

Paula T. Wang, Kylie Woodman, and René Weber

“Flow” originated in the field of positive psychology and describes an optimal psychological state obtained when skilled individuals face challenges that leave them creatively stimulated, attentionally immersed, and flourishing. It was introduced into the communication literature at the turn of the 21st century, when media researchers began to revisit enduring questions surrounding media use, selection, and behavior. At the time, the established uses and gratifications (U&G) framework offered limited explanatory power to address newer questions arising from the emergence of interactive media such as the proliferation of video game consoles and advent of early social media. Flow has since become increasingly adopted within the field of media research as an alternate approach that addresses many of the criticisms of the U&G framework. Flow is characterized by a single key antecedent—that participants engage in an activity that maintains strict balance between task challenge and user skill. Video games in particular offer the ideal vessel for flow because they most easily fulfill the required challenge–skill balance due to their interactive and adaptable nature. Attempts to advance the development of the flow construct have faced challenges stemming from conceptual ambiguity and operational inconsistency, resulting in findings that are difficult to consolidate across studies. Despite these contentions, nascent research has been largely focused on identifying the correlates and predictors used to measure flow across new behavioral, psychophysiological, and neurological avenues. The development of more robust measures of flow will allow researchers to resolve lingering conceptual ambiguities and answer new and emerging questions, such as the length, depth, and stability of flow episodes and the role of flow in promoting problematic gaming behavior and behavioral addictions.