Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Family Communication
For a Special Issue on
Relational Dialectics Theory
02 January 2024
Relational Dialectics Theory
The purpose of this special issue of the Journal of Family Communication (Volume 24, Issue 4 in 2024), co-edited by Elizabeth Suter, Erin Sahlstein Parcell, and Comfort Tosin Adebayo, is to spotlight family communication scholarship using relational dialectics theory (RDT). An extension of Mikhail Bakhtin’s dialogism to the study of relationships, RDT (Baxter & Montgomery, 1996) was a radical departure from previous approaches to studying relating and inspired researchers to approach relationships in fundamentally new ways. The wave of scholarship that followed transformed thinking and research on relationships and families. While primarily focused within interpersonal and family communication, RDT informed research across the discipline and beyond its borders. Fifteen years later, Baxter published Voicing Relationships: A Dialogic Perspective (2011) where she rearticulated the theory to bring greater conceptual and methodological clarity on central concepts introduced in the first iteration. In particular, Baxter focused on RDT’s central premise—that the meaning of phenomena transpires in the moment through struggles of competing possibilities of meaning—discourses. In the last decade, family communication has seen a new wave of scholarship guided by Baxter (2011). And yet, despite RDT’s significance and impact developing over 25 years, no special issue has reflected on its history and place in family communication nor specifically promoted its cutting-edge research.
For this issue, we call on scholars to submit manuscripts that use and/or critically reflect on RDT. Specifically, we invite scholars who are pushing the RDT scholarship forward in one or more of the following ways:
- Examines discursive power struggles at the relational level (i.e., the proximal links on the utterance chain), focusing on the conversations between individuals in their primary relationships that have relational histories and expectant futures
- Analyzes talk outside the research study context, gathers conversations in situ, such as recorded face-to-face turns of talk, naturally occurring conversations/enacted talk
- Examines genres understudied in RDT research to date (e.g., the carnivalesque)
- Includes data from or about understudied and marginalized family forms
- Examines the fractured, unstable nature of identity categories
- Engages discourses of class, race, and social inequity in which families are (re)constituted
- Presents findings that extend conversations around inclusivity, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA)
- Integrates RDT with other dialogic and/or critical theoretical developments.
We seek two types of papers--data-based and critical reflections--for this special issue (Volume 24, Issue 4, October 2024).
Data-based manuscripts should be theoretically grounded and methodologically robust. Broadly, these manuscripts should focus on communication and use RDT. We welcome a wide array of data sources, but authors must (a) specify their semantic object(s). A semantic object refers to the referential object under study, the central analytic question asked of any utterance or set of utterances: “What is the meaning of a particular semantic object of interest (e.g., ‘family’), and how is it that this meaning rather than alternative meanings emerged in this communicative moment?” (Baxter et al., 2021, p. 2). Authors must also (b) use contrapuntal analysis, RDT’s companion method, to analyze their data.
Data-based manuscripts should be prepared according to the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and should be no longer than 8,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. Author names and affiliations should not appear on the title page or elsewhere in the manuscript.
Critical reflections manuscripts should center on a pedagogical, theoretical, methodological, practical, or ethical problem or issue relevant to RDT. Critical reflections should be as data-driven as possible, describe the problem or issue, and provide resolution to the problem or issue.
Critical reflection manuscripts should be prepared according to the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and should be no longer than 3,000 words, excluding references, tables, and figures. Author names and affiliations should not appear on the title page or elsewhere in the manuscript.
Authors should select "Special Issue: SI-Relational Dialectics" when submitting their manuscript.