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Collaboration in Organizations  

John G. McClellan

Among organizational communication scholars, the term collaboration is most often used when exploring interactive practices by which a variety of organizational stakeholders (individuals, groups, or organizational representatives) engage in generative conversations to accomplish collective tasks, contend with mutual problems, or pursue mutually beneficial goals. An emergent collaborative turn in organization studies arose as the complex and interconnected challenges facing contemporary organizations intersected with increased acceptance of the constitutive relationship of communication and organizing and growing concern about the inherent politics of meaning making. Motivated by mutual understanding, rather than persuasion and control, scholars focused on collaboration in organizations to attend to the complex ways organizational decisions are made as well as how organizational practices and overall understandings of organizations are constituted and by whom. As interest in collaboration emerged, scholars increasingly recognized the value of mutual engagement as a key motivating force for generating creativity and innovative decision-making. Across the interdisciplinary research on collaboration, covering a wide range of organizational contexts and issues, several discourses of collaboration have emerged. These meta-perspectives of collaboration include collaboration as collective activity, collaboration as responsive engagement, collaboration as pursuit of equitable relations, collaboration as dialogic process, and collaboration as constituted in communication. Future research on collaboration can provide meaningful insights into contemporary organization studies especially if it is attentive to issues of diversity and intercultural communication, everyday intraorganizational contexts, new developments in collaborative technologies, and issues of power and the politics of meaning making. As scholars continue to explore varied forms of collaborative organizing, the ongoing study of collaboration in organizations is ripe with potential for contributing to understanding how communication can promote innovative decision-making in ways that realize the benefits of organizational diversity as organizations work to address today’s complex interconnected problems.

Article

Kuaer Theory  

Ryan M. Lescure

Although queer theory was profoundly influenced by the womanist feminism of the 1980s and its emphasis on the ways in which intersectionality affects lived experience, popular queer theorizing generally lost this as it became more popular in academic contexts during the 1990s. Generally, the popular queer scholarship that was being published in the 1990s did not pay much attention to the diversity of queer experiences and subjectivities. Because many popular queer theorists at the time were White, affluent, cisgender, and based in the United States, their scholarship, while anti-heteronormative, tended to reflect their privileged racial, socioeconomic, gendered, national, and cultural standpoints. Subsequently, this scholarship tended to construct a singular, definitive, and universal queer subject position as White, affluent, cisgender, and based in the United States. Wenshu Lee’s kuaer theory is an example of one of the first significant theoretical challenges to queer theory’s problematic universalizing tendencies. Initially advanced in 2003, kuaer theory is influenced by postcolonialism, womanism, and E. Patrick Johnson’s quare studies, which Lee characterizes as having advanced queer theory in a similar way that womanism did for feminism. Finding inspiration in the writing of Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Cherríe Moraga, and Gloria Anzaldúa, kuaer theory applies womanist concepts to expand on the foundation built by Johnson’s quare studies, which calls for queer theorists to focus on the particularity and diversity of sexualities as well as the ways in which sexualities relate to and are shaped by race, gender, socioeconomic class, and culture. Kuaer theory agrees with and advocates for all of these things, but it notably adds a transnational perspective and emphasizes that queer theorists must also highlight the relationships between sexualities and nation, nationality, power, and culture at the local, national, and transnational levels. Kuaer theory notes that queerness, queer activism, and queer knowledges are not exclusive to the United States or to the Western world. Because of this, kuaer theory encourages queer theorists to emphasize the local and intersectional particularities of people’s sexual experiences and subjectivities while simultaneously being critical of the ways in which queer theory itself often reproduces imperialism and cultural hierarchies at the global level. Kuaer theory continues to be influential among queer theorists, especially for its critique of queer theory’s often implicit reproduction of hierarchies. Like quare studies, kuaer theory is often cited by queer theorists who challenge queer theory’s continued general inattention to intersectionality and to the multiplicity of queer subjectivities. Finally, kuaer theory’s emphasis on transnational and transcultural perspectives as well as its criticism of queer theory’s imperialistic consequences has proven to be a substantial influence on critical intercultural communication and the emerging field of queer intercultural communication.

Article

Queer Men’s Bodies and Digital Media  

Jamie Hakim

The politics of queer men’s bodies as they relate to digital media are fraught with ambivalence. A very narrowly defined body type is considered the ideal form of beauty in queer men’s cultures in the Global North: white, masculine, able-bodied, lean, muscular, youthful, and hairless. Other body types are also considered beautiful or desirable or both, but this ideal is the norm against which these other types are defined. The politics of this ideal change across contexts. In some, they render anyone who deviates from it less-than-human. In others, the ability to safely express the desire for this body has provided the basis for networks of belonging, pleasure, and experimentation in an otherwise homophobic and transphobic world. The various developments that digital media have undergone since the penetration of the internet into everyday life have not fundamentally altered the ambivalence of these politics. They have, however, rearticulated them anew in various ways. The exponential proliferation of networked spaces that the internet has provided for minorities to share information and to produce and consume culture has meant a number of different queer male beauty ideals have been given room to flourish. But so too have their related constraints and ambivalences. These ambivalences have intensified as the internet, once defined by amateurish user-generated content, has been captured by the interests of global capitalism. One result has been that its increasingly visual culture has become as normative and aspirational as possible in a bid to increase its profitability. However, room for critical or deconstructive body projects still persists. The hegemonic struggle over queer men’s body politics may have started long ago, but it continues, and digital media is now the terrain where much of it occurs.

Article

Representations of Drag Culture  

Niall Brennan

Drag may be understood as performing a gender other than one’s self-identified gender. Drag is therefore underpinned by the concept of gender performativity, or acts that naturalize constructs of gender, yet drag complicates gender performativity by imitating and parodying such “natural” performances of gender. Drag is also underpinned by camp, a sensibility combining incongruity, theatricality, and humor emanating from the 1960s gay liberation movement and more recently appropriated by heteronormative culture industries, bringing forth the need to differentiate queer (political) from gay (mainstream) camp deployment. In American popular culture, the focus of this entry, drag most closely approximates cross-dressing as a mainly humorous narrative trope involving a duplicitous cross-dresser (and knowing viewer) and a duped (and often amorous) “victim.” Cross-dressing therefore should be discerned from transvestism, which involves greater subjective investment in performing a gendered other, and from the antiquated terminology of transsexualism, which implies the desire to become a gendered other. In these differences, drag can invoke gender, race, and ethnicity with different levels of performative consequence, such that women and Black men performing drag assume historical and institutional significance differently from (white) men role-playing as women. Lastly, RuPaul’s Drag Race, the American reality/competition television series, has brought drag into global, commercial mainstream culture by establishing drag as a paradigmatic, professionalized set of performances. While Drag Race has moved queer politics into public discourse with greater visibility for LGBTQ+ peoples and communities, the reality series has circumscribed “winning” and “losing” versions of drag and, by consequence, versions of gender performativity, most notably by circumscribing the boundaries of drag between gender performativity and transgender identities.

Article

Sound Studies and Speech Rhetoric  

Justin Eckstein

The communication discipline has a unique take on the intersection of sound and rhetoric that comes from the history of speech. While scholars of composition examined text as a way to understand sound and rhetoric, the legacy of public speaking teachers (who insisted that speech expressed something beyond the text itself) led to a foundational shift. Speech rhetoric gave birth to a new set of objects, research, and instruction around sound. The public conditions and topoi that help determine signal from noise create a robust area of study. While there are different avenues around how sound is known, each gets at this basic intersection of sound and the contingent of a civic movement that makes up the center of the communication discipline’s unique contribution to the interdisciplinary conversation on rhetoric. The unique configuration of sound and rhetoric that makes up speech was born from the history of communication studies. The vocality inherent in a speech of any form is about drawing relations together in time’s presence, something not captured by the metaphor of the text. Speech as metaphor gives rise to three facets of investigation into rhetoric. The first focuses on sound’s pre-symbolic and pre-cognitive influence on the listener. The second examines sound’s unique contributions to speechmaking from both the speaker’s perspective and the listener’s; it asks how sound serves as a resource for invention and what individual opportunities and constraints it produces. Lastly, the examination moves from individual to societal as speech becomes a mode for public advocacy and cultural exchange, adding to the broader conversation on rhetoric across disciplines.

Article

Homonormativity  

Dawn Marie D. McIntosh

Homonormativity emerged as an interdisciplinary theory that rendered valuable understandings of power relations within and beyond the LGBTQ community. Homonormativity is a discursive and embodied practice, or set of practices, by sexual minorities that aligns with and reinforces power constructs. The transitions from macro-orientations (political strategies and movements) to microstructures (aesthetics and embodied performances) of homonormativity are arguably best located within the communication studies field. This article examines how communication studies contributes to and directs the workings of homonormativity. To accomplish that goal, the article articulates four trajectories of homonormativity: intersectional homonormativity, homonormative whiteness, transnational homonormativity, and homonormative possibilities. Embodied and/or intersectional homonormativity considers the theory of intersectionality in relationship to homonormativity. Next, homonormative whiteness details the role whiteness plays in homonormativity. Whiteness depends on the erasure of difference, and this erasure is critical to how sexually marginalized individuals as a community acquire power through racism, sexism, and classism. Homonormativity, then, is dependent on workings of whiteness to acquire power. Following this, transnational homonormativity explores the relationship between homonationalism, homo-colonialism, and homonormativity. Homonormativity is grounded in the understanding of queer bodies in relationship to nationalism, transnationalism, and xenophobia. Finally, homonormative possibilities articulates the potentialities that exist in the embodied critiques of homonormativity and possibilities provided by academic work that deconstructs it.

Article

Queer Sexualities in Latin America  

Héctor Domínguez Ruvalcaba

As a field of study constituted by contributions coming from various disciplines and methodologies, queer studies in Latin America can only be understood as a multiplicity of discourses that discipline, regulate, vindicate, or bring into critical view dissident expressions of gender and sexuality. These discursive formations have given rise to moral, scientific, political, and aesthetic conceptualizations through which sexually diverse bodies in this region have been understood. Notable academic texts published since the 1980s have studied the diversity of sexual identities in different modes of representation, including the fields of history, ethnography, and literature, as well as performance, journalistic, cinematographic, and television discourses. The selection for this multidisciplinary review was based on the following thematic axis: colonial studies of Latin American queerness; modern history and literature on sexual dissidence; ethnographies of sexual diversity; and the studies of film, media, and performance.

Article

Relational Turbulence Theory  

Jennifer A. Theiss

Transitions are pivotal junctures in close relationships that have the potential to transform relational roles and disrupt interpersonal routines in ways that contribute to upheaval and turmoil for relationship partners. Relational turbulence theory identifies the mechanisms and processes that account for challenging relational circumstances emerging during relationship transitions. This framework was initially articulated as a model that was applied to relationships at moderate levels of intimacy when couples transition from casual to serious involvement. The model asserted that relational uncertainty and interference from partners are heightened during this transition and intensify emotional, cognitive, and behavioral reactivity to relationship events, creating a climate of turbulence in the relationship. As research on the relational turbulence model continued to evolve, scholars moved beyond transitions to intimacy within dating relationships and began to apply the model’s logic to a wide range of transitions across various types of relationships. The theorists sought to clarify and refine the theoretical mechanisms underlying the associations that had been documented in empirical tests of the model and advanced relational turbulence theory. The theory advances axioms around five core processes that occur in relationships during transitions. First, the theory proposes that relational uncertainty corresponds with biased cognitive appraisals due to its deleterious effects on message processing, and that interference and facilitation from partners are associated with emotional reactivity due to the arousal that is generated by interrupted routines. Second, the theory articulates the processes underlying associations between emotions, cognitions, and the engagement and valence of communication behavior during interpersonal episodes. Third, the theory explains how repeated interpersonal episodes marked by polarized emotions, cognitions, and communication accumulate over time and coalesce into a global sense of the relationship as turbulent. Fourth, the theory illuminates how relational turbulence affects various personal, relational, and social processes due to restricted relational construal levels and disrupted dyadic synchrony under these relationship conditions. Finally, the theory highlights the potential for reciprocal effects between features of communication episodes and the relationship mechanisms that create conditions for turbulence. The theory continues to evolve and be thoroughly tested through a variety of methods and measures.

Article

Ancient Rhetoric  

Susan C. Jarratt

In the Greek-speaking cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, effective and artful speech was highly valued: practiced and reflected upon from the time of Homer (ca. 8th-century bce), and conceptualized as “rhetoric” in the 5th and 4th centuries bce. At the moment of its emergence, rhetoric was bifurcated: the new discipline of philosophy denigrated it as a realm of mere opinion and potential deception while teachers and public figures began a process of building from its resources an elaborate edifice of training—a paideia—essential for success in political, legal, and cultural life. Consolidated as the queen of arts in the medieval curriculum, rhetoric was studied by European and Arabic scholars and remained at the center of elite learning for centuries, reaching a high point in the Renaissance, when significant texts of ancient rhetoric were revived. With the study of ancient Greek and Latin languages and literature at its foundation, this model of university education was adopted by colleges in the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. The rise of modern science and the utilitarianism of the Industrial Age eroded this classical foundation in the late 19th century. The rediscovery of ancient rhetoric in 20th-century U.S. university departments of speech communication beginning in the 1920s and 1930s and a decade or so later in the adjacent fields of English and composition studies has brought ancient rhetorical concepts and debates under new scrutiny. A story dominated by readings of Aristotle’s Rhetoric for most of 20th century has been transformed by revisionist reinterpretations from the 1990s onward emphasizing, among other changes, (a) a sophistic line of influence running from classical Athens through the Roman imperial period, (b) a revaluation of epideictic (ceremonial) rhetoric with its wide range of genres, and (c) a shift in periodization to take in late antiquity and the Byzantine era. Twenty-first-century scholars draw on ancient sources to generate new rhetorical conceptions of time, space, energy, and imagination, putting visual and material as well as verbal texts under analysis in this dynamic field of study.

Article

Media and the Management of Cultural Diversity in Cameroon: The Case of the Anglophone Crisis  

Afu Isaiah Kunock

Media can play a crucial role in dousing tensions and maintaining peaceful coexistence among culturally diverse peoples. However, the role of media is yet to be fully comprehended in the ongoing sociopolitical crisis in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon since 2016, arising from two distinct colonial heritages. Mindful that Cameroon has not experienced threats of separation stemming from cultural diversity prior to this time, the Cameroon radio and television (CRTV) is challenged as to how to report this crisis in a manner that will result in containment and management, promoting unity in diversity. The theory of framing was used to analyze interviews with key informants, CRTV news content, and documentaries. Therefore, the question of how state television uses frames in this sociocultural and political crisis involving two cultural entities brought together by history is at the heart of this study. The state through mainstream media uses news frames that promote national unity in cultural diversity in contrast to separation advocated for by separatists through social media.