Communication Differences : Symbolic Interactionism And Relational Dialectics

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The two communication theories I will feature are Symbolic Interactionism and Relational Dialectics. As defined in our text book, Symbolic Interactionism refers to how “humans act toward people, things and events on the basis of the meanings they assign to them.” (Cite your textbook) while Relational Dialectics states “social life is a dynamic knot of contradictions, a ceaseless interplay between contradictory or opposing tendencies such as integration-separation, stability-change, and expression-nonexpression” (Cite your book) Leslie Baxter and Barbara Montgomery coined the phrase “opposites attract” to make it simple in understanding Relational Dialectics. This theory is rooted in phenomenological tradition, and even to the yin and…show more content…
3. 3. Expression-nonexpression: Internally, the struggle between openness and closedness; externally, the struggle between revelation and concealment. (Cite Relational Dialectics Therory ( The Relational Dialectics theory is common within marital studies. Baxter and Montgomery created four subcategories within couples pertaining to their romantic relationship which were: 1. Openness with – individual’s self-disclosure of information to another. 2. Openness to – being attentive or responsive 3. Closedness with – superficial “small talk” 4. Closedness to – not wanting to listen to other people’s problems Other research applications Baxter and Montgomery apply include: 1. Autonomy-connection - wanting independence but wanting dependence of the partner 2. Comfort – balance found within the couple – giving each other space 3. Time Segmentation – time spent alone and time spent together 4. Activity Segmentation - allowing for needs alone – i.e. girls/guys night out 5. Exclusive Selection – dependence on one’s spouse 6. Reframing – evaluation of the relationship for flaw and correction Several other researchers used the Relational Dialectics principles in their research. E. Sahlstein examined uncertainty and certainty to long distance relationships. S.E. Wilder focused on second marriages. William Rawlins studied friendships. K. J. Conger applied the theory to sibling relationships. L.A. Baxter
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