Undergraduate Research Journal


Every day people are thrust into situations in which they are forced to work with individuals they don’t know. Often times, these people come from different backgrounds. The only rules these people are bound by are the laws and norms of society, which they may or may not break. In reality television game shows such as Survivor, a microcosm of real life and how we live is created. This paper examines how small group dynamics play out in the sixth season of the show “Survivor.” In the show strangers are forced to work together and create a society for themselves, while gradually eliminating each other as competitors from the game. This study looks at the role of in-group and out-group identity in small groups using Realistic Conflict Theory. Using Realistic Conflict Theory as a conceptual framework, this paper examines voting patterns at the game’s tribal council of participants in the television show Survivor. A quantitative analysis was used to examine the voting tendencies, while a qualitative analysis was employed to examine dialogue and interaction between contestants. This study hypothesizes that the better job a player in the game does at fostering an in-group identity, the further the contestant will progress in the game.

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