The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication

The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication

The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication

The Meaning of "Relationship" in Interpersonal Communication

Synopsis

Despite a growing emphasis on relationship studies in interpersonal communication, serious attention to the conceptual meaning of relationship has been limited. The purpose of this volume is to explore the meaning and use of "relationship" in interpersonal communication studies. The contributors to this volume, representatives of related, but differing perspectives, outline definitional boundaries and conceptual implications of the term stemming from their particular ontological and epistemological approaches. This volume provides an engaging and provocative examination of "relationship" by seasoned writers who are committed to seeing the field with new eyes. As such, the book will be invaluable to scholars and researchers in the field.

Excerpt

In looking across the changing landscape in the field of interpersonal communication, one finds a recent resurgence of interest in the concept of relationship, an interest centered less on individual psychological constructs or the traditional sociological meaning of social roles and more on the communication grounding of the concept. The emerging interpersonal emphasis on relationship is perhaps a natural unfolding of the general, theoretical movement in communication from individual units of behavior to process-oriented concerns.

As evidence of the developmental shift toward a relational focus, one can hardly pick up a recent interpersonal text without finding "relationship" and related terms, highlighted by title or purpose (for example, Conville, 1991, Relational Transitions: The Evolution of Personal Relationships; Knapp and Vangelisti, 1992, Interpersonal Communication and Human Relationships;Birtchnell, 1993, How Humans Relate: A New Interpersonal Theory; Erber and Gilmour, 1994, Theoretical Frameworks for Personal Relationships; Wilmot, 1995, Relational Communication; Galvin and Cooper, 1996, Making Connections: Readings in Relational Communication; Baxter and Montgomery, 1996, Relating: Dialogues and Dialectics; Vanzetti and Duck, 1996, A Lifetime of Relationships). At present, the common, generalized usage of the phrase "relational communication," diffused from its original meaning within the pragmatic . . .

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