ERIC Number: ED366029
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov-18
Reference Count: N/A
Beyond Sharing and Caring: Theoretical Biases in Interpersonal Textbooks.
Psychological theories continue to dominate the study of interpersonal communication, as is evident from dozens of introductory interpersonal communication textbooks. The perspectives most consistently missing from interpersonal textbooks are sociopolitical analyses of relational communication patterns, analyses that locate relational "problems" and "control" in society, rather than in the individual. The exclusion of critical perspectives may result from the discourse and audience of introductory textbooks as well. The voices of radical theorists are difficult to translate into the "polite" and "neutral" vocabulary and tone that characterizes textbook writing. The introductory textbook is a mass medium written to appeal to the majority of the assumed audience--that is, white, middle income, heterosexual students. Given the authority students often assign to information included in textbooks, the possible consequences of the bias may be significant. Consequences for students include: (1) when any perspective is promoted to the exclusion of others, there is a risk of indoctrination rather than education taking place; (2) the psychological bias may encourage the view that any human conflict can be overcome by changing communication style or behavior; and (3) a multitheoretical approach might encourage a more analytical and less personal method of studying interpersonal communication. (Contains 14 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Patterns; Educational Issues
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (79th, Miami Beach, FL, November 18-21, 1993).