This study placed 18 groups of African-, European-, and Latin-Americans (divided by race and gender) into the role of news producers; each peer group was charged with planning a hypothetical TV newscast from a list of realistic stories. The study investigates the relevance of cultural identity as these groups go about their task, and found clear differences in the extent to which cultural identity was articulated, the type of identity considered (race, gender, religion), whether the focus was on the ingroup or outgroup, and whether the references were affirmatively or negatively valenced. The study also compares the content different cultural groups included in the newscasts. Assuming that a context can function actively to weave together (rather than the more passive conceptualization of context as that which surrounds), this research concludes that discourses of separateness, of narrowly-defined identity, and of inequality were common; the context enacted by participants revealed a strained, uneven social fabric.
Rebecca Lind, University of Illinois at Chicago, United States