Interpersonal Communication Research as Ideological Practice


  • John W. Lannamann

    1. Associate professor in the Department of Communication, Horton Social Science, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824. An earlier draft of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Speech ommunication Association in November 1989. The author wishes to thank Ian Angus, Brock Dethier, Pat Daley, Kenneth Gergen, Sheila McNamee, Barbara Montgomery, and C . David Mortensen for helpful comments about this essay
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Interpersonal communication research is shaped by both epistemological and ideological assumptions. Although the interpersonal field has engaged in extensive epistemological inquiry, ideological issues have rarely been addressed. In this article, I argue that an ideological commitment to (1) individualism and cognitive, (2) subjectivism, (3) subjective internationality, and (4) historicism shapes current interpersonal communication research. To the extent that these four ideological orientations define research and scholarship, the interpersonal field is at risk of reifying contemporary values and uncritically reproducing and legitimizing the relations of power that constitute the social order.