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Articulation and Recognition of San Firstness in Southern Africa and the Contestation Over Citizenship  

Nhamo Anthony Mhiripiri, Keyan Tomaselli, and Julie Grant

Different groups of contemporary San or “Bushmen” peoples in southern Africa have a different status. Bantu and White Europeans’ subjugation and marginalization of the San over the past centuries has traceable influences on the way that the San have been represented and are perceived in the public consciousness. Public perceptions are often based on what the mass media present as San identities. This also has implications on the way different countries recognize them as people and as citizens. In the best of situations, they have at least been accorded the status of First Nation within the multiracial and multiethnic modern nation-state. At worst, they lack recognition and are stateless or without citizenship.


Genealogy of the Indigenous as an Enemy: Critique of Moral, Criminal, and Neoliberal Reason in Chile  

Carlos Del Valle-Rojas

The cultural industry, especially the hegemonic media and dominant literature, constitutes a complex system specialized in the production of enemies. This process of enmity has a historical, systematic, planned, institutionalized, and ideological character, whose primary purpose is to build the Indigenous image as a discredited, marginalized, and excluded condition. Original peoples and later Indigenous movements have been portrayed in an economic-political framework through which the moral, productive, and political interests of those who exercise power prevail. Different theoretical and empirical works show the predominance of civilizing rationality and a colonial matrix of power. This focuses on the process of enmity through different strategies, such as stereotyping, stigmatization, criminalization, and entrepreneurship. There are various theoretical-conceptual perspectives, such as (a) critical structuralist, (b) deconstructivist, (c) postcolonial, (d) decolonial, and (e) spectral. They have relentlessly tried to explain the presence of the Indigenous otherness about a hegemonic “us.” This is a complex empirical journey full of evidence ranging from extermination to dispossession. From a historical perspective, there are three significant milestones: (a) a moral-civilizing mode of production and reproduction throughout the 19th century, (b) a criminal-punitive mode during the 20th century, and (c) a neoliberal-productive mode during the 21st century. These rationalities, with their apparent transitions and overlaps, converge in the fabrication of the Indigenous person—Mapuche people in the Chilean case—as an enemy whose mask changes according to the sociopolitical and economic context threats.


Half Sibling Relationships and Family Communication  

Bailey M. Oliver-Blackburn

Half siblings are brothers and sisters who share only one biological parent and are thus, half biologically related. Although half siblings may be the result of extramarital/partnership affairs or post-bereavement, most are the result of a divorce and remarriage. Half sibling research is rare, and existing research and even national and international statistical reporting agencies often incorrectly conflate half siblings with stepsiblings. Research that can be found on half siblings often illustrates a “deficit-comparison” approach where half and stepsiblings are compared to full biological siblings and studied for how they fall short of biological sibling outcomes. Early research speculates that children who reside with half siblings experience poorer educational outcomes, report significantly more depressive symptoms, exhibit poorer coping skills, are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as early sexual activity and drug and alcohol use, and have more strained sibling and parental relationships compared to those with no half siblings or those with only full biological siblings. The challenges that exist for half sibling relationships are often hypothesized as associated with either family structure (half siblings located within a complex stepfamily) or explained through evolutionary perspectives of Darwinian fitness. However, research on half siblings overall is mixed, with studies also positing these outcomes are not due to the presence of half siblings and that there are instead positive implications from having a half sibling on individual outcomes, sibling relationship quality, and overall family functioning. Overall, half siblings can form quality relationships and half brothers and sisters who share a residence, are closer in age, of the same gender, spend more quality time with one another, have parents who prosaically intervene on their behalf, and who emphasize their positive relationship and connection through addressing terms and sharing backstories of their family’s origins are more likely to report a positive relationship.


LGBTI and Indigenous Groups in Ecuadoran Media  

Palmira Chavero Ramírez and Martín Oller Alonso

Public opinion is strongly influenced by the images that media present of the outside world and the frames of the main issues. In the case of Ecuador, this media content has been characterized by a strong presence of discriminatory and biased content. This kind of content contributes to the exclusion of some citizens, especially social minorities such as LGBTI; indigenous; and other identities people. As a consequence, the role of the state is more important to generate public policies in order to protect the minorities and to recognize others kinds of media. In the last three decades, some of these groups have taken an important role in the social and political sphere, in addition to the academic one. The LGBTI collective has seen some of the historically denied rights recognized (such as equal marriage, approved in 2019), and progress has been made in the public debate on some women’s rights. For their part, indigenous people have taken a leading role in political action and have managed, at least for a time, to stop regressive public policies of rights, thereby becoming one of the main political actors today. The role played by the media in making these actors and their actions visible has also taken center stage. The situation of these groups is currently in a drastic process of change, although they still feel discriminated against and judged by society and by current legislation. This situation is aggravated due to the image that the media show of them, based on stereotypes and the lack of knowledge of their diversity identity. The main challenge continues to be for the mainstream media to move away from their economic and political nature to approach an inclusive communication, with a rights-based approach that recognizes and allows the development of equality in all citizens.


Race and Digital Discrimination  

Seeta Peña Gangadharan

Race and digital discrimination is a topic of interdisciplinary interest that examines the communicative, cultural, and social dimensions of digital technologies in relation to race, racial identity, and racial inequalities, harms, or violence. Intellectual traditions in this area span vast terrain, including those that theorize identity and digitally mediated representation, those that explore social, political, and economic implications of unequal access to technological resources, and those that explore technical underpinnings of racial misidentification in digital systems. The object of inquiry thus varies from racialized interactions in digital spaces, to the nature or extent of access to high-speed broadband infrastructure, to levels of accuracy in computer automated systems. Some research orients toward policy or technical interventions to safeguard civil and human rights of individuals and groups and prevent racial discrimination in the design and use of digital technologies. Other strands of race and digital discrimination scholarship focus on diagnosing the (both recent and distant) past to excavate ways in which race itself functions as a technology. The variety in approaches to the study of race and digital discrimination has evolved organically. Following a general concern for bias in the design, development, and use of digital technologies, scholarship in the 1990s began to center its attention on the problem of racialized discrimination in computerized, data-driven systems. In the earlier part of the 1990s, scholars writing about surveillance warned about the social, political, and economic consequences of sorting or categorizing individuals into groups. Toward the latter half of the 1990s, several scholars began scrutinizing the incorporation of specific values—and hence bias—into the computational design of technological systems, while others began looking explicitly at racialized interactions among users in virtual community and other online space. Throughout the early 2000s, scholarship—particularly in European and US contexts—race and racialization in different aspects of design, development, and use of digital technologies began to emerge. The advancement and rapid commercialization of new digital technologies—from platforms to AI—has heightened interested in race and digital discrimination alongside social movements and social upheaval in relation to problems of systemic and institutionalized racism. Scholars have also taken interest in examining the ways in which race itself functions as a technology, primarily with attention to race’s discursive power. The study of race and digital discrimination in all its varieties will remain relevant to issues of social ordering and hierarchy. Scholarship on race and digital discrimination has been instrumental in broadening critical and cultural perspectives on technology. Its ability to expose historically and culturally specific dimensions of race and racial inequality in digital society has helped scholars question modernist assumptions of progress and universal benefit of technological development. This body of work will continue to push discussion and debate on the nature of racialized inequalities in future eras of technological innovation.


Romani Ethnic Media in Hungary  

Konrad Bleyer-Simon, Kata Benedek, and Tibor Racz

Research has shown that the portrayal of ethnic communities in the media can benefit or harm the groups in question. Thus, to counter stereotypical depictions or just establish their own identity, the literature sees a role for ethnic communities to launch their own ethnic or minority media initiatives. While there has been scholarship about the media representation of the Roma in Hungary, media produced for and/or by Romani people have been under-researched. Based on existing research and interviews, it can be established that there have been three main waves of Romani ethnic media in Hungary: first, the period of the pure ethnic press, secondly, a wave of professionalized media that involved non-Roma as managers and journalists, and finally, a new series of grassroots-level efforts to create popular media on the web. In the decades that have passed since the end of socialism, Hungary’s Romani people have had print media, a radio station, a cable television station, online outlets, and social media sites. Regardless of the promising nature of some of these Romani publications, there have been serious concerns about their sustainability. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Romani media relied on support from the government and private foundations; advertisers have proved unwilling to work with outlets associated with a marginalized ethnic group. The financial stability of Romani media has thus been dependent on conditions detached from actual audience interest; many outlets have encountered difficulties paying bills and salaries, while co-option by interest groups has been a looming threat. As of 2020, the only safe way to keep control over ethnic media has been to rely on voluntary, unpaid work.


Video Games as Meaningful or Eudaimonic Experiences  

Daniel Possler

Research on meaningful or eudaimonic gaming experiences explores players’ profound responses to video games. It rests on the observation that video games have ‘grown up’ in the 2000s and 2010s. While the medium traditionally aimed at providing fun, modern games increasingly afford meaningful experiences, for example by addressing serious topics (e.g., loss). Drawing on philosophical and psychological well-being research, these meaningful experiences are often termed “eudaimonic.” Beyond this shared categorization, however, no consensual definition of eudaimonic/meaningful gaming experiences has yet been developed. Instead, various competing and partially overlapping conceptualizations exist in the literature, including (a) appreciation, (b) the covariation of meaningfulness, being emotionally moved or challenged, and self-reflection, (c) deep social connectedness, and (d) specific emotional responses (e.g., nostalgia, awe). The formation of eudaimonic/meaningful gaming experiences has mostly been attributed to game characteristics, including (1) game mechanics that allow rare performances or promote reflection by disrupting players’ gameplay expectations; (2) narratives that address emotionally challenging topics, feature moral dilemmas, or facilitate deep social bonds with game characters; (3) multiplayer features that enable cooperative interactions with close co-players; and (4) game aesthetics that facilitate awe or aesthetic contemplation. In contrast, little is known about how player characteristics affect the formation of eudaimonic/meaningful gaming experiences. Similarly, research on the effects of these experiences is sparse. However, initial studies suggest that eudaimonic/meaningful experiences may benefit players beyond gaming by increasing their well-being or promoting pro-social behavior. Additionally, eudaimonic/meaningful gaming experiences appear to have a motivational appeal, as preliminary studies suggest that seeking such experiences can motivate playing games in general and specific titles in particular. Overall, this burgeoning line of research is still in its infancy but has already provided valuable insights into the quality and formation of eudaimonic/meaningful experiences in interactive media and the attraction and positive effects of video games.


Social Interaction in VR  

Eugy Han and Jeremy N. Bailenson

Social interaction is one of the most popular use cases of virtual reality (VR). Virtual worlds accessed through VR headsets can immerse people in diverse places and present its users however they wish to be represented. The affordances of this technology allow people to connect with themselves, others, and their surroundings in unique ways. Research has shown that social norms found in the physical world transfer over to virtual worlds. People respond to virtual people in a manner similar to how they would treat people in the physical world. Although virtual worlds and the physical world share similarities, they have many differences. Virtual reality is not—and does not necessarily need to be—a veridical representation of the physical world. Virtual reality has the ability to transform everything, such as what people look like, how they behave, where they are, and how they see things. Cues related to people, such as their visual appearance and nonverbal behavior, or place, such as the surrounding environment and perspective, can be augmented, filtered, or suppressed. These transformations also lead to significant psychological and behavioral effects, affecting how people build trust, engage with others, or communicate nonverbally. Whereas some of these transformations may be unintentional, such as technological by-products, other transformations can be intentional. As a result, it is critical to understand how social interactions occur differently in these transformed environments.


Amazigh Cultural Movement and Media in Morocco  

Abdelmalek El Kadoussi, Bouziane Zaid, and Mohammed Ibahrine

The Amazigh, ethnographically known as the local inhabitants of North Africa, constitute more than half of the Moroccan population. As of 2023, the Amazigh question is a pending contention spot in the current political and public debate. The Amazigh’s contribution is evident in the Moroccan premodern political history (11th–17th century), the protectorate period (1912–1956), and the post-independence nation-building period (1956–1975). However, after independence, the linguistic, cultural, and ideological choices of modern Moroccan national identity did not include the Amazigh, since their cultural recognition and visibility remained marginal. Constitutions prior to 2011 denied local and Indigenous languages and prohibited ethnicity-oriented political parties with very few exceptions. Cultural marginalization, underrepresentation, and misrepresentation were far more evident in Moroccan media, especially the government-owned ones. From its inception, the Amazigh cultural movement (ACM) has militated for both communicative and socioeconomic rights. ACM activists were aware of the importance of Amazigh languages for the construction, consolidation, celebration, and reimagining of the Amazigh collective identity. They were also aware of the centrality of mass media for Indigenous identity politics and cultural representation, articulation, and diffusion. Drawing on secondary and case study data analysis, quantitative and qualitative indicators testify to Amazigh underrepresentation and misrepresentation in Moroccan public media. They show, for example, that Amazigh broadcast outlets’ poor content quality and amateurish diffusion styles tend to be a disservice rather than a service for indigenous communities and culture. However, the advent of the internet and digital platforms offered Indigenous cultural activists convenient spaces and effective venues for revitalizing cultural identity politics. Techno-savvy Amazigh youths managed to do in a few years what their ascendants failed to do in many decades: join efforts of home-based and diaspora activism; gather established scholars, academics, artists, and advocacy groups to address that question from different perspectives by engaging in multidirectional digital activism; build a multilayered virtual community that transcends geographical borders; and, most importantly, firmly address the political authorities and hold them to account.


Argumentation and Rhetoric  

John Kephart III

The study of argumentation is inherently interdisciplinary. Broad in scope, argumentation theory generally refers to descriptive and normative attempts to understand the products and processes of disagreement and the attempts by participants in argumentative discourse to make their standpoint prevail. Rhetoric, informal logic, pragma-dialectics, and other approaches to argumentation theory describe specific theoretical approaches to the study of argument. While there is some difference of opinion as to whether the focus should be on the arguments themselves, the process of their exchange, the procedure for making and evaluating arguments, or some combination of the three, as well as over what constitutes normatively good arguments or even what counts as an argument in the first place, the range of theories that fall under “argumentation” are motivated to understand what happens when differences of opinion come into conflict with one another. Rhetorical approaches initially focused on the role of argument in contingent situations where a rhetor appeals to an audience to change a behavior or belief, adopt a policy, or reason to consensus in a disagreement. Later developments critiqued the idea that all argument assumes an attempt at reasonable resolution obscures the value in dissensus and ignores that some arguments are advanced for the purpose of demonstrating support for a cause or political faction, to undermine an opponent’s position, or to frame the terms of a debate for one’s own advantage. While this may not be ethical or “productive” argumentation, rhetorical scholars consider such tactics important to understanding the rhetorical strategies of a speaker wishing to persuade an audience. Development of rhetorical argumentation saw: criticisms of science and academic inquiry as rhetorical; the importance of controversy in generating dissensus in challenging the norms of public deliberation; approaches to nondiscursive arguments such as visual, sound, spatial, and embodied argument; and the ways that postmodern, critical, feminist, and race-conscious theories’ challenges to epistemology and ontology refigured considerations of arguer/rhetor, text, persuasion, and audience. Four areas of development for the field are: carrying elements of argument into nondiscursive forms such as aesthetics and affect, digital media (including the role of technological infrastructure on argument), argument designed to evade consensus and reasonability, and further developments in cross-cultural perspectives in argument.