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Contexts of the Dark Side of Communication

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Edited By Eletra S. Gilchrist-Petty and Shawn D. Long

Research on the dark side of communication has typically been studied from a single standpoint confined to a specific context. As an intradisciplinary project, this volume transcends the traditional unilateral perspective and focuses on a wide range of communication topics across a variety of contexts. From interpersonal communication, organizational communication, computer-mediated communication, and health communication, the book presents a collection of essays that merges theory with practical application.
Chapter contributors write candidly and unapologetically about how they and various populations under investigation mitigate a wealth of dark side behaviors spanning sexualization, cyberstalking, bereavement, and various illnesses.
The different perspectives offer a lens through which students and academics can enhance their understanding of how dark side behaviors are experienced and communicated. They enlighten our understanding of the dark side of human communication, initiate thought-provoking conversations, and inspire future studies that will advance the limitless inquisitions of contextual dark side research.

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Foreword: Welcome to the Dark Side (Mark P. Orbe)

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Foreword: Welcome to the Dark Side Mark P. Orbe In many cultures, a dichotomous distinction exists between light(ness) and dark(ness)� Lightness is associated with optimism, affirmation, goodness, purity, softness, gentleness, delicacy, joy, hap- piness, carelessness, and anything viewed as positive� Darkness, in contrast, is situated with evil, anger, fear, hatred, greed, violence, brutality, cynicism, shame, fear, denial, manipulation, deceit, exploitation, abuse, and anything viewed as negative� Historically, “dark topics” have been regarded as taboo within personal, familial, and intellectual conversations� “Taboo” (or tabu) is a Polynesian word that refers to a general ban on a particular object; al- ternatively, a taboo is “marked off”—implying that certain things are unsafe for casual contact or conversation (Evans, Avery, & Pederson, 2000)� Taboo topics, then, refer to a strong social prohi- bition against words, actions, and discussions that are considered offensive and/or undesirable� A taboo can exist on an action (something that you should not do), on discussion (things that you do but do not discuss), or anything associated with certain actions (including thinking about it, creating a label for it, etc�)� Topics generally exist on a continuum from those that are acceptable for discussion to those that are strictly taboo� Taboo topics can vary depending on context (per- sonal, relational, cultural, and/or societal), but the commonalty is that all involve subjects that are perceived to be painful, embarrassing, and/or humiliating to self and/or others� Within the field of communication, taboo topics largely are associated with the “dark side” of communication...

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