Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Basics of Communication: A Relational Perspective

Rate this book
Written in a warm and lively style and packed with learning tools, The Basics of Communication: A Relational Perspective offers an engaging look at the inseparable connection between relationships and communication, highlighting the roles that interpersonal connections play in casual discussions as well as in public speaking. This groundbreaking text combines theory and application to introduce students to fundamental communication concepts. It also provides practical instruction on communicating interpersonally, in small groups, and in making effective formal presentations. Authors Steve Duck and David T. McMahan encourage students to think critically about key topics, to link communication theory to their own experiences, and to improve their communication skills in the process.

488 pages, Paperback

First published August 11, 2008

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Steve Duck

49 books3 followers
Steve Duck (Steven W. Duck) a British social psychologist turned communication scholar, is the Daniel & Amy Starch Distinguished Research Professor and Chair, Department of Rhetoric, at the University of Iowa.

He has made contributions to the scientific field of social and personal relationships.

He attended Bristol Grammar School and Pembroke College, Oxford before gaining a Ph.D. from Sheffield University in 1971. He studied social and personal relationships and published several books and articles on the subject. He taught at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and the University of Lancaster in England, being one of four founding members of the Department of Psychology there in 1973. In 1986 he moved to the University of Iowa as the Daniel and Amy Starch Distinguished Research Professor, the first fully endowed professorship in the College of Liberal Arts (later the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – CLAS). He served as Chair Department Executive Officer for the Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa 1994–1998 and subsequently as Chair of the Department of Rhetoric, University of Iowa (2010–present).

Duck conducted research into social relationships at Lancaster University. He founded the International Conference on Personal Relationships, the first four of which he organized with Robin Gilmour from Lancaster University, but situating the conference in Madison, Wisconsin in 1982 and 1984. These international conferences have since occurred every two years. Between these first two conferences he founded an interdisciplinary Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and was its first Editor for the fifteen volumes from 1984-1998. He also founded the International Network on Personal Relationships, and, then at the University of Iowa, founded and ran several conferences there both for general scholarly groups and also specifically for graduate students.

He served as President of INPR (International Network on Personal Relationships) which was subsequently merged into IARR (International Association for Relationship Research).

He has published several books and monographs on the general themes of relationships, becoming most closely associated with models of Interpersonal communication relationship dissolution and in particular with Duck's topographical model of relationship dissolution and a more formalized stages of dissolution model. This latter was later modified by Rollie & Duck (2006).

He has presented over 200 conference papers, written over 100 articles and chapters and written or edited 60 books, the most recent being Duck & McMahan (2017) Communication in Everyday Life: The Basic Course Edition With Public Speaking, and Duck & McMahan (2017) Communication in Everyday Life: A Survey of Communication, Third Edition, . In 1982 he became the founding Editor of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and held the position of Editor in Chief until 1998.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
5 (29%)
4 stars
3 (17%)
3 stars
5 (29%)
2 stars
3 (17%)
1 star
1 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Profile Image for D.
495 reviews2 followers
April 18, 2013
Some helpful insights on relationships:

Relationship Filtering Model
The more you understand someone and the more s/he appears to support your world of meaning, the more you want to hang out with her/him and the more you use emotional labels like ‘friendship’ and ‘love’ to represent this connection.

First filter: Appearance
Second filter: Behavior and nonverbal communication
Third filter: Roles
Fourth filter: Psychological similarity

If they pass the filter, you may begin to take extra efforts to include them in your social circle. In all your filtering, you are trying to find out what people are like at the level of their deeper psychology, so you aim your questions toward finding these deeper selves. The more fully you understand somebody, the more fully you understand how he or she thinks.

(a) Commonality of experience -> (b) Mutuality -> (c) Equivalent evaluation -> (d) Shared meaning

Coming Apart
Unfortunately, not all relationships work, and some come apart at the seams.

Breakdown Process
Breakdown - dissatisfaction with relationship (Threshold: I can’t stand this anymore)
Intrapsychic Process - social withdrawal, rumination (Threshold: I’d be justified in withdrawing)
Dyadic Process - uncertainty, anxiety, complaints (Threshold: I mean it)
Social Process - going public (Threshold: It’s inevitable)
Grave-dressing Process - tidying up the memories, stories prepared, saving face (Threshold: Time to get a new life)
Resurrection Process - recreating sense of own social value; prep for a different relational future (Threshold: What I learned and how things will be different)

Focus on the uncertainty that surrounds the future outcome of relationship - processes of change

A dialectic tension exists with autonomy-connectedness or openness-privacy

How does your talk compose your relationships during everyday conversation?
Chitchat shows a relationship still exists. Relationships are sustained by Relational Continuity Conceptual Units - small-talk ways of demonstrating that a relationship persists through absence

How do relationships grow or change, and how does it show up in speech?
As people become more knowledgeable about each other and more relaxed in each other’s company, conversation goes toward more controversial topics. Take more for granted.

What are the types of communication when a relationship is coming apart?
The breakdown is marked by changes in both topic and audience to which the person communicates. In the early parts of a breakup, an individual is simply contemplating ending a relationship, s/he tends to withdraw from social contact and become brooding. The second phase is confrontation, and less time spent together. Third phase is when the person decides to tell friends about the breakup. In the fourth phase, the person tells a story explaining it, making him or her look good. The final phase is aimed at developing new relationships and letting go.

Do relationships develop and break down in a linear fashion?
No. It’s a messy process.

Formation of Groups (Bruce Tuckman, 1965)
Forming, storming norming, performing, adjourning

Aubrey Fisher (1970): Orientation, Conflict, Emergence, Reinforcement.
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.