Family Communication as Argument


Family Communication as Argument


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text


If asked to recall an argument in your family, it probably would not take you long to name at least one, and likely more. Arguments in interpersonal relationships occur when relational partners try to move toward agreement or shared understanding about a particular topic (Canary et al. 1995). This can happen using a combination of both constructive (e.g. explanations, reason-giving) and destructive (e.g. criticism, withdrawal) messages (Canary et al. 1995). Family relationships are an early and ongoing breeding ground for observing argument strategies, developing and "testing out" argument patterns and preferences, and engaging in arguments with varying levels of success. For example, when children have the opportunity to engage in arguments with their parents or peers (such as their siblings), they can better develop argument skills (e.g. Kline 1998). So, in this chapter, we "argue" that families are a metaphor for the communicative act of argument. Though we could make countless connections between families and argument, we focus here on power and argument through the lends of dyadic power theory (DPT; Dunbar 2004), and how family members -- particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals -- manage arguments about the 2016 presidential election. This election ignited previously avoided conversations about LGBTQ rights and other important issues among family members, which initiated arguments.



Publication Date



John Wiley & Sons Inc.


Hoboken, NJ


Critical and Cultural Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Other Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication


In Jimmie Manning, Jordan Allen, and Katherine J Denker (Eds.), Family Communication as... Exploring Metaphors for Family Communication.

This text is only partially available through the link provided; some pages are not included. Please visit your local library or purchase the book through the "Buy This Book" link above to read the full text.


John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Family Communication as Argument