Assumptions of Relational Dialectics Theory Relationships are not linear.Relational life is characterized by change Contradiction is the fundamental fact of relational life.Communication is central to organizing and negotiatingrelational contradictions.
BASIC ELEMENTS Rawlins, 1992 TOTALITY CONTRADICTION MOTION PRAXIS
TOTALITY People in a relationship are interdependent. When something happens to onemember of a relationship, the other member(s) will be affected as well
CONTRADICTION• OPPOSITIONS• TWO ELEMENTS THAT CONTRADICT EACH OTHER• The central feature of the dialectic approach. Dialectics are the result of oppositions.
MOTION• Processual nature of relationships and their change over time• Noticing how someone is different from the way they were when you started the relationship.
PRAXIS• Humans are choice makers.• It embodies the view that people are social actors and, simultaneously, objects of their own actions.
RELATIONAL DIALECTICSThe most common dialectics in a relationship are :- 1. Autonomy and Connection 2. Openness and Closeness 3. Novelty and Predictability
Autonomy and ConnectionAutonomy:• The need to be your own person• The need to do things independentlyConnection:• The need to be close to other• The desire to link actions and decisions
Openness and ClosednessOpenness:• The disclosure and honesty• The desire to share intimate ideas and feelingsClosedness:• Keeping certain facts, thoughts, ideas to yourself• The desire to maintain privacy
Predictability and NoveltyPredictability:• The need for consistency and stability within the relationship• Consistency, reliability and dependability in a relationshipNovelty:• The need for fresh and new experiences• Originality, freshness and uniqueness in the relationship
DENIAL• Responding to only one side of the tension while ignoring the other side of tension DISORIENTATION • Escaping the tension by ending the relationship
ALTERNATION • Alternates over time, taking turn being privileged. SEGMENTATION• Choosing to deal with one side of the tension in one area of life, and the other side of the tension in another area of life.
BALANCE • Compromise between two opposing forces INTEGRATION• Develop behaviors that will satisfy both sides on the tension at the same time.
RECALIBRATION• Reframing a tension so there is no longer any opposition REAFFIRMATION• Accepting the tension as a normal and healthy part of a relationship
Critique• Limited testability – Researchers cannot monitor what goes on behind closed doors• Limited scope – There are limited studies on homosexuality and other cultures• Timelessness – New research is introducing new dialectics with the changing technologies and ways of communicating
Conclusion• The relational dialectic theory describes explains and predicts the tensions that occur in our interpersonal relationships.• The theory expanded on other relational studies to help us better understand that relationships are ongoing.• The theory is relevant to each individual’s life and the relationships within.
REFERENCES• Baxter, L.A. (1988). A dialectical perspective on communication strategies in relationship development. In S. Duck (Ed.), Handbook of Personal Relationships, 257-273.• Baxter, L., & Montgomery. (1996). Relating: Dialogues and Dialectics. New York: The Guilford Press.• Cools, C. A. (2006). "Relational Communication in Intercultural Couples." Language & Intercultural Communication p. 13.. Mount Union College. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from EBSCO database.• Duta, Andrei. (2008). Leadership Succession: A discourse analysis of governance dialects in two non-profit organizations. Retrieved February 1, 2009 from Google Scholar.• Goldsmith, D. (1990). “A Dialectic Perspective on the Expression of Autonomy and Connection in Romantic Relationships.” Western Journal of Speech Communication: WJSC, 54(4), 537-556.Retrieved January 26, 2009, from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.• Graham, E.E. (2003). "Dialectic Contradictions in Postmarital Relationships." Journal of Family Communication , 193. Retrieved February 1, 2009, from EBSCO database.