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Week 7

by: Emily Mason

Week 7 COMM 2010

Emily Mason

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These notes cover all of the learning objectives for week 7 as seen on blackboard
Introduction to Communications Studies
Marilyn Pugh
Study Guide
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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Emily Mason on Friday June 24, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to COMM 2010 at Clemson University taught by Marilyn Pugh in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Communications Studies in Communication at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 06/24/16
Week 7: Relationships Chapter 7  There are 2 broad categories of relationships: social and personal o These categories are NOT mutually exclusive, as relationships can become more personal  social relationships: relationships in which the specific people in a given role can be changed and the relationship would still occur (e.g., customer–client relationships are the same irrespective of who is the customer and who is the client on a particular occasion  personal relationships: relationships that only specified and irreplaceable individuals (such as your mother, father, brother, sister, or very best friend) can have with you  Benefits of Personal Relationships o Provide ways of knowing and support o They are not just a result of communication, but they are also significant in the opposite process, which is the formation and transaction of knowledge. o Relationships exert influence on the distribution of information o Communicating with others offers opportunities for people to test their knowledge of the world. o Provide you with support o provisions of relationships: the 6 areas of deep and important psychological and supportive benefits that relationships provide 1. Belonging and a Sense of Reliable Alliance- Feeling connected with others provides a sense of stability and provides feelings of comfort. 2. Emotional Integration and Stability- Personal relationships also provide people with opportunities to express and evaluate emotions. 3. Opportunity to Talk About Oneself- one of the main things that makes a relationship more rewarding to people is a sense of being known and accepted 4. Provision of Physical Support- Physical support includes needing help from others to move a heavy piano, fix your computer, or look after your pet rat while you are on vacation. 5. Reassurance of Worth and Value- relationships show people how others see the world, how they represent/present it, what they value in it, what matters to them, and how one’s own way of thinking fits in with theirs  Initiating Relationships o Talking to Strangers- Interactions among strangers focus on information gathering and providing information, in which you use a filtering process. o Relationship Filtering Model: demonstrates how sequences of cues are used to determine which people are selected to develop close relationships 1. Appearance- includes age, race, sex, dress, number of tattoos and body piercings, height, and physical attractiveness. 2. Behavior/Nonverbal Communication- their inner world of meanings, beliefs, and values about themselves is exhibited through their behaviors and actions. 3. Roles- Roles can be either formal (school principle) or informal (good friend) and can in both cases provide information about how a person thinks and sees the world. 4. Attitude/Personality- you are really trying to find out what people are like at the level of their deeper worlds of meaning, so you aim all the questions you ask and all the communication strategies you adopt toward finding these deeper selves. Relationship development is dependent on the interpretation of this information  Transacting and Maintaining Personal Relationships o The essential function of talk happens when talk makes the relationship real or talks it into being. o The indexical function of talk demonstrates or indicates the nature of the relationship between speakers.  What you say and how you say it reveals intimacy (closeness) levels, power differences, and other characteristics of relationships. o Transforming Relationships- the transformation of a relationship is generally the result of at least one partner, if not both, driving it toward more intimacy or less intimacy. o Relationship Talk: Direct- Relationship transformation can also occur through communication about the relationship. o Relationship Talk: Indirect- most communication about a relationship—and the communication that most often results in transforming relationships—is indirect.  Keeping Relationships Going Through Communication o relational continuity constructional units (RCCUs): small-talk ways of demonstrating that the relationship persists during absence of face-to-face contact, divided into prospective, introspective, or retrospective types  Prospective units provide recognition that an interaction is about to end but the relationship continues  Any form of communication that suggests the likelihood of the partner’s return is considered a prospective unit.  Ex: “Let’s set the agenda for next time” or “See you later.”  Introspective units are direct indications of a relationship’s existence during the physical absence of one partner.  Acknowledges that the absence has already happened  Ex: wedding rings worn when away from the spouse, as well as text messages and photos of friends, romantic partners, and family on your cell phone.  Retrospective units directly recognize the end of an absence and the reestablishment of the relationship through actual interaction.  Ex: The most familiar nonverbal example is a hug or handshake or kiss upon greeting. The most common forms of conversation that fit this category are catch-up conversations and talk about the day  relational dialectics: the study of contradictions in relationships, how they are played out and how they are managed  contradiction (relational dialectics): interplay between two things that are connected at the same time they are in opposition  change (relational dialectics): movement in relationships that occurs in part through dealing with relational contradictions; in relationships, change is the constant element; relationships are perpetually in motion, unfinished business, and constantly evolving  praxis (relational dialectics): the notion that activities of the partners in a relationship are a vital component of the relationship itself; people are both actors and the objects of action in relationships  totality (relational dialectics): the notion that relational contradictions do not occur in isolation from one another and that the whole complexity of relationships must be taken into account as each element or part of the relationship influences other parts  internal dialectics: those occurring within a relationship itself  external dialectics: those involving a relational unit and other relational units or people within their social networks  Symptoms and Sources of Decline o Deterioration in Communication o Destructive Conflict o Changes in Evaluative Standards o Major Transgressions o Inequity o Personal Reflection  The Breakdown Process Model 1. intrapsychic process: part of the process of breakdown of a relationship where an individual reflects on the strengths and weaknesses of a relationship and begins to consider the possibility of ending it 2. dyadic process: part of the process of breakdown of relationships that involves a confrontation with a partner and the open discussion of a problem with a relationship 3. social process: telling other people in one’s social network about dissatisfaction and about possible disengagement or dissolution of a relationship 4. grave dressing process: part of the breakdown of relationships that consists of creating the story of why a relationship died and erecting a metaphorical tombstone that summarizes its main events and features from its birth to its death 5. resurrection process: part of the breakdown of relationships that deals with how people prepare themselves for new relationships after ending an old one Chapter 8  socialization: the process by which a child comes to understand the way the surrounding culture “does things”—that is, holds certain values to be self-evident and celebrates particular events or festivals  rules: norms for “family” that monitor the way in which family life should be carried out  Structural definitions term a “family” as people who are related by blood, law, or adoption  Functional definitions focus on the behaviors that make a family work well, such as mutual support, socialization, and financial assistance  Transactional definitions are based on the communication that takes place within a group in a way that builds a sense of family identity.  Families as Structures o Can be defined according to biological ties, legal definitions, and sociological definitions. o kin networks: the extended relational network of cousins, second cousins, children of cousins, uncles, aunts, and even long-term friends who are considered family, too o nuclear family: the parents plus their genetically related children o extended family: a family that has at its center a nuclear family but also includes grandparents, aunts, cousins, and all other living forms of blood relatives o family of origin: the family where you are the child of two parents, and in the majority of cases you will have spent some of your life with one or both of them o family of descent: the whole historical family tree from which you are descended, both living and dead o family of generativity: the family where you are one of the parents of at least one child o family of choice: a family created through adoption, or simply the group of people you decide is your “true” family even though there is no genetic connection o blended family: when parents adopt nongenetic offspring, divorce, or remarry other partners, then so-called blended families are the result o binuclear family: two families based on the nuclear form (e.g., the children’s father, their stepmother, and her children, if any, as well as the children’s mother and their stepfather and his children, if any) o single-parent family: family where there are children but only one parent caregiver; singleness may be a choice, a preference, or an unwanted outcome (e.g., as a result of an undesired divorce or unexpected death)  Families as Communication Systems o Family communication is described along two dimensions: conformity orientation and conversation orientation. o Conformity orientation- describes “the degree to which family communication stresses a climate of homogeneity of attitudes, values, and beliefs,” o Conversation orientation- describes “the degree to which families create a climate in which all family members are encouraged to participate in unrestrained interaction about a wide array of topics” o This creates four types of family communication: 1. Protective families are high in conformity orientation and low in conversation orientation. Family members place a value on conformity to family norms and do not permit or expect discussion of alternatives. 2. Pluralistic families are the opposite on both dimensions: high in conversation orientation but low in conformity orientation. Such families encourage conversation about rules and enjoy discussion, innovation, and diversity of lifestyle, so it is not offensive to break family rules if it raises a worthy issue for discussion. 3. Consensual families are high in both conformity and conversation orientation. In these families, parents expect children to obey rules but provide opportunities to discuss and question these rules, as long as there is ultimately agreement about how the rules should be followed in the future. 4. Laissez-faire families are low in both conformity and conversation orientation. These families have lax rules and do not talk about them much. One consequence is that members of such families are somewhat emotionally distant from each other  Families as Systems o systems theory: deals with (among other phenomena) family and social events as systems made up of parts but operating as a whole system that can achieve functions that individuals alone cannot and that also creates an environment in which those individuals must exist; the behavior of one part (person) affects the atmosphere and behavior of other parts (persons) of the family o Systems are goal-oriented and self-regulating o Systems show hierarchy among component parts and environment, in that one component tends to be in charge of others o The parts are also mutually interdependent, and the performance of one influences the success of the total system (common fate) o peer culture: the set of attitudes and beliefs that create influence from children or adults of the same age/generation as the target person  Families as Transacted Relationships o norms: the habitual rules for conducting any family activity o rituals: particularly formalized ways for handling, say, the routines of mealtimes or birthday gift giving in a family o authority structure: in some families the authority structure stresses the role of one parent as head of the family; others stress equality of all the mature members o bidirectionality hypothesis: the idea that power can work in two directions; that is, at some points and times it works one way when parents control or influence their young kids, but power also goes the other way and sometimes kids can control or influence parents, for example, by throwing temper tantrums o boundary/privacy management: focuses on the way marital couples manage talking about private matters with each other and how they coordinate communication boundaries in balancing a need for disclosure with the need for privacy o family storytelling: families have stories about remarkable figures or events in their history that help define the nature of that particular family; telling such stories is a way of bonding and uniting the family as well as identifying some of its key characteristics o family identity: a family identity is a sense of the special or unique features of the family; often revolves around intergenerational storytelling, where the elders talk about dead relatives or relate stories about particular family characters who defined the essence of being a member of their family o family narratives: in the process of storytelling families create a shared sense of meaning about the family experience, whether it is something positive like a birth or an adoption or something negative such as a death or divorce o long-distance relationships (LDRs): relationships characterized by the distance between partners that prevents them from meeting face-to-face frequently (e.g., commuter marriages or relationships where one person lives on the East Coast and one on the West Coast) o kin keeping: the act of serving as a reservoir for information about members of the family, which is passed along to the other members of the network o introspective units: one of three types of relational continuity constructional units that keep the memory of the relationship alive during the physical separation of the members involved; introspective units are reminders of the relationships during an absence, examples being photographs of a couple, wedding bands, or fluffy toys that one partner gave to another o prospective units: one of three types of relational continuity constructional units that keep the memory of the relationship alive during the physical separation of the members involved; prospective units are recognitions that a separation is about to occur


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