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Moral Talk Across the Lifespan

Creating Good Relationships

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Edited By Vince Waldron and Douglas Kelley

Grounded in path-breaking research but written in an accessible, engaging style Moral Talk Across the Lifespan explores how our most fundamental moral commitments are shaped by crucial conversations with family members, romantic partners, and friends. Taking a lifespan approach, the authors demonstrate that moral growth is a continual process, one stimulated by transitions (e.g., leaving home for university) and disruptive events (serious illness). With chapters penned by leading relationship scholars, the volume contributes original thinking, data, and innovative theoretical pathways for researchers. For instructors it explores pressing moral questions encountered by students in their own relationships with romantic partners, friends, parents, and other family members. When is revealing a secret the right thing to do? Is revenge ever a worthy response to an insult or sleight? Why are young adults persuaded to accept some of their parents’ values but not others? Is there a right (or wrong) way to support a parent facing a terminal illness?
Moral Talk Across the Lifespan offers a stimulating blend of social science research and moral reflection. It is a key text for courses in Relational Communication, Family Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Communication Ethics.
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Preface

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DAWN O. BRAITHWAITE University of Nebraska-Lincoln



I have followed with great interest the development of this book project on Creating “Good” Relationships. From the first I heard about it from Doug Kelley and Vince Waldron, the book sounded like a very good idea, even as it made me initially a bit uncomfortable as a researcher for reasons I’ll explain below. I am honored that they asked me to write this preface to their book, which I believe makes an important contribution to our understanding of communication in close relationships. As Vince and Doug so cogently describe in their introduction, like most close relationships scholars, once I had some time to think about it, I asked the same question, just what do you mean by “moral dimension of communication?” You would think—given the importance of what people believe is “right” or “wrong”—that this topic would be of central concern to close relationships scholars, but it has not been. This demonstrates a need for this book that brings together essays that get us thinking about, increasing our comfort with, and commitment to, centering the moral dimension of communication into our thinking, teaching, and research.

In the introduction to this volume, Waldron and Kelley take a broad approach to the “moral dimension” as focusing on what persons believe is “right” or “wrong” and they turn our attention toward a communication or discursive focus which means that we look at communication as the primary...

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