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(2011) The social psychology of communication, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Representations, identity, and resistance in communication

Caroline Howarth

pp. 153-168

Our identities, the ways we see and represent ourselves, shape how we communicate, what we communicate about, how we communicate with others, and how we communicate about others. Hence identity, representation, culture, and difference are all central to a Social Psychology of communication. Take the factor of culture, as addressed in Chapter 3: Germans and Greeks differ considerably in the amount of small talk in business discussions, which is seen by Greeks as important to building up relationships (Pavlidou, 2000). American English speakers tend to be talkative and inquisitive in conversations with people they do not know well, and relatively quiet in the comfort and intimacy of close relationships, while the reverse is true for Athabascan Indians (Tracy, 2002). Added to such cultural differences are communication patterns relating to gender (Duveen and Lloyd, 1986), religion (Miike, 2004), class (Skeggs, 1997), language and dialect (Painter, 2008), among others. What's more, it is very difficult to untangle the intracultural nature of identity and how this impacts on communication (Martin and Nakayama, 2005). Hence communicative exchanges are "deeply cultural", as "groups of people will speak and interpret the actions of those around them in patterned ways' (Tracy, 2002, p. 34). One of the questions for a Social Psychology of communication is: Do these cultural patterns facilitate or obstruct communication? (See Box 7.1.)

Publication details

DOI: 10.1057/9780230297616_8

Full citation:

Howarth, C. (2011)., Representations, identity, and resistance in communication, in D. Hook, B. Franks & M. W. Bauer (eds.), The social psychology of communication, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 153-168.

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