Infighting and ideology: How conflict informs the local culture of the chicago dyke march

Amin Ghaziani*, Gary Alan Fine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although the study of local cultures has become established in American sociology, it often ignores the contested nature of how culture emerges and is negotiated within the context of small groups. To this end, we address the concept of infighting, a subtype of conflict, as it operates within a small group framework. Building on an ethnographic study of the Chicago Dyke March, we demonstrate that infighting highlights competing ideologies that may remain implicit in the absence of such conflict. Infighting treats divergent meaning systems as part of local contention between rival cliques and power centers. These ideological battles both reflect pre-existing differences between subgroups and serve to make explicit and public such differences, both in their background characteristics and in their interests. In the process infighting directs attention away from shared concerns and group building to questions of strategy, transforming the small group into an arena of ideological production and factional rivalry. Infighting recasts a group from a space of consensus to a contested political arena. We elaborate four analytic processes through which infighting connects to ideology and small group culture: infighting emphasizes the multivocality of meaning, cultural heterogeneity, an equilibrium of inclusion and group boundaries, and planning in light of ideologies of power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Politics, Culture and Society
Volume20
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Keywords

  • Conflict
  • Ideology
  • Idioculture
  • Infighting
  • Localism
  • Small groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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