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date: 25 September 2022

Queering the Study of U.S. Military Family Communicationlocked

Queering the Study of U.S. Military Family Communicationlocked

  • Erin Sahlstein ParcellErin Sahlstein ParcellDepartment of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  •  and Danielle C. RomoDanielle C. RomoDepartment of Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Summary

Military families in the United States reflect diverse family forms. They include not only “traditional” families but also single service members, women service members, dual-career couples, service member mothers, single-parent service members, service members of color, cohabitating military service members (i.e., nonmarried couples), LGB service members, and transgender service members. However, the research primarily reflects white, heterosexual, cisgender, different sexed, married couples who are able-bodied with biological children as well as postpositivist and interpretivist perspectives; trends that parallel interpersonal and family communication studies broadly speaking. Given calls for new approaches within these areas, and in particular military family communication research, scholars should consider “queering” the study of military family communication by including individuals who identify as queer but also varying the research theoretically. Studies that bring attention to different types of military families (e.g., LGBTQ+ military families) would make significant contributions to the scholarship and make these families as well as their unique experiences visible.

Informed by calls for critical military studies and the critical interpersonal and family communication framework (CIFC), recommendations are offered for future queer military family communication inquiry. First, a brief history of queer families in the military as well as the current state of military family communication scholarship are presented. Next, the CIFC framework, discourse dependence, and relational dialectics theory are discussed as conceptual paths for engaging in critical military family communication studies.

Subjects

  • Communication Theory
  • Gender (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies)
  • Interpersonal Communication

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