Computer-Mediated Communication and Virtual Groups: Applications to Interethnic Conflict
This essay represents the first in a series wherein an established scholar is invited to synthesize his or her program of research to offer practical applications. This essay concerns applications of computer-mediated communication (CMC) research in groups toward the enhancement of relations between members of potentially hostile ethnopolitical groups. The characteristics of CMC offer several possible means of facilitating the reduction of animosity through online contact among intergroup constituents. The scatter of applicable findings across disciplines, and imprecision in theoretical appropriations, have inhibited advancement of applied research in this context. This essay examines findings from management, intergroup, and interpersonal approaches to CMC, and provides some examples, suggesting opportunities for synthesis and the development of starting points to design the arrangement of diverse online groups that may help reduce conflict among otherwise antagonistic members.