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Relational Dialectics

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Lauren Hatfield

on 24 November 2013

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Transcript of Relational Dialectics

Relational Dialectics

Dialogue as Utterance Chain
-building block of meaning-

Dialogue as Dialectical Flux
-the complexity of close relationships-
Dialogue as Constitutive-
Relationships in communication-
Integration and separation
Expression and Nonexpression
Stability and Change
Three Dialects that affect
- The me-we tug of war.

-Struggles with stress of intimacy in relationships

-Deciding factors of what kind of relationship you are going to have.

"No relationship can exist by definition unless the parties sacrifice some individual autonomy. too much connection paradoxically destroys the relationship because their individual identities become lost"
Berger's uncertainty reduction theory makes a strong case for the idea that people strive for predictability in their relationships.

Baxter and Montgomery don't question our human search for interpersonal certainty, saying "without the spice of variety to season our time together the relationship becomes bland, boring, and ultimately, emotionally dead"
A class the includes how open and closed one is in a relationship.
Communication creates and sustains a relationship

Differences are as important as similarities
Utterance - What a person says in one conversational turn

Utterance Chain - Things heard in the past and responses anticipated in the future.
Unpredictable, unfinalizable, and indeterminate

relational forces are in tension

2 typical conversational strategies for responding to relational dialectics:
1. Spiraling inversion
2. Segmentation
Momentary sense of unity

Sometimes an aesthetic moment can be a meaningful ritual
Criteria for a good theory

Dialogue as Aesthetic Moment
-Creating unity in Diversity-

Dialogue as Critical Sensibility
-A critique of Dominant Voices-
Ex: going public in a relationship: Relational rite of passage, signaling bond is strong but offset by potential corresponding dangers.
Revelation and Concealment dilemma of what to tell others is a common problem in relationships.
Relational Dialectics
-Leslie Baxter (University of Iowa) & Barbara Montgomery (Colorado State University-Pueblo) are central figures who study how communication creates & constantly changes close relationships
-Baxter & Montgomery co-authored a book on the premise that "personal relationships are indeterminate processes of ongoing flux"
-their basic claim: "social life is a dynamic knot of contradictions, a ceaseless interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies"
-Relational Dialectics highlight the tension, struggle, and general messiness of close personal ties.
Tug-of-War Dialectics of Close Relationships
-Contradiction is a core concept of RD-"contradiction" refers to the dynamic interplay between unified oppositions
-"bonding occurs in both interdependence with the other and interdependence from the other"--one without the other diminishes a relationship
-Relationships are always in flux; the only certainty is certain change
- a whole new way to make sense out of close relationships.
A new understanding of people.
A community of agreement.
- Baxter's work has received high acclaim from scholars
- the International Association for Relationship Research designated her monograph "Relationships as Dialogues" as its 2004 Distinguished Scholar Article
- Baxter's research has changed the landscape within the field of personal relationships
Clarification of values
- value placed on hearing multiple voices
Reform of Society
- theory seeks to carve out a space where muted/ignored voices can be heard
- encourages dialogue rather than monologue
- force for change-not only in personal relationships, but public as well
Aesthetic Appeal
- Baxter holds out the promise of an aesthetic ideal to which all of us can aspire-an image that could make slogging through the morass of relational contradictions feel less frustrating
Craigs Seven Traditions
A dynamic knot of contradictions in personal relationships; an unceasing interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies
Griffins Text
Brief Description
Leslie Baxter

Barbra Montgomery
Internal Dialects
External Dialects
Integration- separation
Stability Change
Constitutive dialogue
Utterance chains
Spiraling inversion
Aesthetic moment
Critical sensibility
Scholars Disciplines
Key Term(s)
Dialogue is obligated to critique dominant, oppressive voices
Sissela Bok's Principle of Veracity
-Bok rejects an absolute prohibition of lying
-Rejects consequentialist ethics
-Bok doesn't view lies as neutral
-Her principle of veracity asserts that "truthful statements are preferable to lies in the absence of special consideration.
Scholarly resources
Baxter, L. A. (2004b.) A tale of two voices: Relational Dialetics Theory. Journal of Family Communication, 4, 181-192.
Braithwaite, D.O.., & Baxter, L.A. (1995). "I do" again: The relational dialetics of renewing marriage vows. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 12, 177-198.
Petronio, S. (2002). Boundries of Privacy: Dialectics of disclosure. Albany: State University of New York Press.
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