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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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Introduction: A Contextual Perspective of the Dark Side of Communication (Eletra S. Gilchrist-Petty)

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Introduction: A Contextual Perspective of the Dark Side of Communication Eletra S. Gilchrist-Petty Scholars and practitioners have long understood the importance of communication in human interaction� However, aside from the few select popular topics of conflict, transgressions, and rela- tionship dissolution, traditional interpersonal and/or human communication pedagogy and theo- ries have focused more on the positive, or at least the more neutral, aspects of communication� During this time, social scientists largely presented communication as a kind of “panacea”—a tool that when wielded effectively could provide redress for problematic situations (Spitzberg & Cu- pach, 2007, p� 14)� We now know that this historical perception is idyllic and fails to fully unravel the inextricable complexities that co-exist with bright optimisms� In other words, traditional com- munication pedagogy neglected to tell the complete story, and instead advanced an “ideology of the pursuit of goodness” (Spitzberg & Cupach, 2007, p� 7)� This one-sided representation of communication and human experiences persisted in academic texts and most curricula until the mid-1990s when Cupach and Spitzberg ignited a paradigm shift by arguing that not all communication is positive; in contrast, they posited that relationships can be sources of extreme problematic interactions� Cupach’s and Spitzberg’s groundbreaking text, The Dark Side of Interpersonal Communication (1994), offered the first collection of chapters that focused exclusively on the not-so-sunny side of communication and included necessary conver- sations relative to equivocation, relationship uncertainty, unrequited love, and even abuse� This initial dark side volume served as a forerunner for examining the pages left unturned...

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