Intergenerational Communication across the Life Span

Intergenerational Communication across the Life Span

Intergenerational Communication across the Life Span

Intergenerational Communication across the Life Span

Synopsis

This book brings together research from multiple disciplines concerned with intergenerational communication framed by several unique theoretical perspectives drawn from the communication discipline. Recent books on intergenerational relationships have provided a demographic and structural sociological analysis of intergenerational contact. Intergenerational Communication Across the Lifespan moves the study of intergenerational contact closer to the actual participants, to what happens within intergenerational interaction, and to how people evaluate their intergenerational experiences across the lifespan.

Excerpt

Effective communication is considered by many to be the number one problem in, and the number one solution for, numerous aspects of our lives. If we only communicated better, wars would not occur, lawsuits would be avoided, and all of our relationships would be more satisfying and more successful. What a wonderful world it would be if we could all communicate effectively. Sentiments such as these are accepted with so little criticism that we never question the assumption that effective communication is not difficult if people are given the right information and training. One simply needs to watch television or to enter any bookstore to see hundreds of self-help manuals and other examples of how to accomplish effective communication. The ordained wisdom of our popular culture reassures us that if we come to understand our innate bias toward behaving like true men or true women, or if we learn a few basic dating rules and behave accordingly, all our relationships will become manageable while we achieve our relational goals, and ultimately, true happiness. These popular and rather rudimentary analyses of competent communication simplify the process of effective communication and completely ignore the fact that years of academic study of these issues point us away from such simplistic solutions. N. Coupland, Giles, and Wiemann (1991) reiterated this position in their theoretical examination of miscommunication. These authors pointed out that communication is, by its very nature, ambiguous, imprecise, and inherently flawed. Furthermore, communicators are strategic and often less than honest, direct, clear, and so forth. Sometimes miscommunication itself may be the goal, at other times interactants in a conversation may not care whether they have communicated effectively or have achieved harmony because each has an entirely different agenda.

Of particular interest to us is intergenerational communication, which according to recent research, has rich potential for misunderstanding and . . .

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