A case study investigation of the shared identity of the Papua New Guineans Against Domestic Violence Facebook Group



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This dissertation examined the online interactions of a Facebook group over a six-month period of time in an effort to answer questions about group identity, meaning making, and cultural impacts on the group. The dissertation was exploratory in nature and did not seek to prove a theory but rather to provide a more descriptive examination of group processes. In order to understand the impact that socially situated knowledge had on a virtual group [Facebook group] of people primarily located in Papua New Guinea, a process analysis was used to examine the most widely discussed posts occurring during the period of May through October, 2012. Providing a different perspective to the group interactions, a conversation mapping tool, adapted from the field of genome mapping, was also used. Findings related to the group’s common identity indicated that the primary characteristic exhibited by group members was information sharing in the form of suggestions, opinions, and orientations (instructions and clarifications). A second characteristic was found in expressions of solidarity seen in posts that provided encouragement and support. Findings relating to meaning making indicated that rather than reliance on top-down information sharing, from the group administrators to the general membership, for example, exchanges between and among all levels of members occurred in most of the interactions. This sharing of information among members with varying degrees of knowledge resulted in a continuing process of meaning making within the group. Findings related to cultural impacts on the group’s identity introduced a more malleable, more fluid, blurred edge model of cultural differences among group members than was expected based on previous cultural group studies. Additional data provided by this study indicated this group functions in much the same way as many face-to-face groups and more homogeneous groups in spite of the study group’s diversity and the fact that the primary topic of discussion, gender based violence in Papua New Guinea, is considered by many in that region to be a socially tolerated practice.



Identity, Group identity, Small group, Cultural group studies, Gender based violence, Papua New Guinea, Facebook group