|Keywords:||Communication; Mass Media; Mass Communications; Media; Conflict Audiences; Information Dissemination; Plateau State; Nigeria|
|Full text PDF:||http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=ohiou1458650635|
This study represents one of the first attempts to use grounded theory methodology to identify and explain, conceptually, the latent communication behavior of conflict audiences. Theoretically, the study expands current conversations that explore the interaction between the media and audience in conflict environments. Straussian grounded theory approach was utilized to answer the primary research question: “What patterns of communication behavior do conflict audiences in Plateau State engage and how does the behavior shape the information dissemination process? The study also identified factors that influence the communication behavior and the extent to which the behavior is shaped by opinion leaders and preexisting schemas of individuals.The data were collected using focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with participants in Plateau State, Nigeria. Data analysis was conducted using open, axial, and selective coding. A conditional/consequential matrix was also utilized to examine the dimensions and properties of the categories generated in the study. Through coding, recoding, and regrouping, key categories (self-preservation and attack as defensive communication) that represented the communication strategies adopted by conflict audiences in Plateau State were analyzed in order to identify the relevant themes that could answer the research questions. The core category (main theme) of the study, “conflict audiences as `dissemiusers’ of information” suggests that people engaged in a pattern of behavior that empowered them to (re)gain control of the information dissemination process in conflict situations. The findings also finds that deep distrust for the media, lack of ethical and professional practice among journalists in Plateau State, religion, and the current indigene/settler dichotomy served as trigger factors for the behavior. Another significant finding is the role of mobile phone technology and Internet access in shaping this pattern of behavior. A theory of audience empowerment was thus generated around the core category to describe and explain the nature of the communication behavior and the interaction with both the media and conflict environment.The study contributes to both media and conflict literature. The dissertation also offers a set of recommendations that includes applying different methodologies to provide empirical support for the relationships between media, the audience and conflict environment, as well as media reform and capacity building for journalists in Plateau State. Advisors/Committee Members: Cooper, Roger (Committee Chair).