Psychosocial approach: Communication and social listening in polarised contexts
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Who are “they”?

In the realm of group dynamics, the recurrent theme of “they” assumes significant importance, echoing throughout this section. As outsiders, those individuals who belong to a different group or do not affiliate themselves with any specific group are often characterised as “they.”

This categorization of “them” can result in their stigmatisation, setting the stage for the propagation of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Stereotyping involves the tendency to magnify beliefs about distinct traits associated with particular groups. Naturally, prejudice takes root, fostering negative perspectives towards group members, supported by these prevailing stereotypes. Discrimination, in turn, denotes the manifestation of negative behaviours directed at group members, rooted in pre-existing prejudice.When individuals identify with a group’s goals, a profound sense of connection and increased propensity for collaboration often ensues. Regrettably, this affiliation can also give rise to animosity towards other groups and the rejection of individuals within one’s own group. Furthermore, the act of comparing oneself to “outsiders” may fuel an augmented sense of self-worth and happiness, inadvertently nurturing the seeds of bigotry.

Emotional communication strategies for a sense of unity

In the artful hands of populist leaders, emotional communication strategies deftly manipulate group identification, deliberately fostering a negative image of others to cultivate solidarity within their own group. Skillfully appealing to patriotic sentiments and nationalism, they create a shared sense of identity and values, skillfully portraying them as endangered by external forces. This narrative engenders an atmosphere of cohesion and unity within the group, while concurrently isolating and marginalising those deemed as outsiders.

Consequently, the employment of these methods can engender an atmosphere of hostility towards outsiders, acting as a catalyst for societal polarisation, amplifying divisions within the fabric of society. The phenomenon that emerges from such tactics is a breeding ground for animosity and societal fragmentation, further exacerbating tensions among different groups.

Who are ‘they’?
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