AUTHORS’ NOTE: The authors would like to thank Jake Harwood, Beth LePoire, Dolly Mullin, and Nancy Collins for their assistance on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Correspondence: Jessica Abrams, Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4020; email: jessicaabrams@earthlink.net

Communication Yearbook 27, pp. 193-219

JESSICA R. ABRAMS University of California, Santa Barbara

WILLIAM P. EVELAND, JR. Ohio State University

HOWARD GILES University of California, Santa Barbara

The concept of vitality was first introduced to account for factors affecting language use in the late 1970s. Today, vitality has developed into a broader theory addressing issues related to ethnicity, gender, age, and intergroup communication. Theorists propose that the more vitality a group has, the more likely that group will survive as an entity in an intergroup context. Intergroup researchers claim that perceptions of vitality may be influenced by mass media. This relationship has yet to be explored in detail. Based on mass media theory, we offer a number of contrasting propositions about how television might function to impact subjective group vitality and, ultimately, intergroup communication. The integration of relevant intergroup and mass communication literature reflects the extent to which television empowers minority groups as well as how levels of empowerment are manifested in nondominant groups’ behaviors.