Gender in Applied Communication Contexts
Gender in Applied Communication Contexts explores the intersection and integration of feminist theory as applied to four important areas: organizational communication, health communication, family communication, and instructional communication. This collection of readings links theoretical insights and contributions to pragmatic ways of improving the lives of women and men in a variety of professional and personal situations. Gender in Applied Communication Contexts is recommended for upper-division and graduate-level courses in gender and communication, feminist theory, organizational communication, health communication, instructional communication, and applied communication. This anthology is also recommended as a research resource for scholars in Women’s Studies, Family Studies, and Business and Management.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Organizing Gender
- Chapter 1: When They Know Who We Are: The National Women's Music Festival Comes to Ball State University
- Chapter 2: Revisiting Sexual Harassment in Academe: Using Feminist Ethical and Sensemaking Approaches to Analyze Macrodiscourses and Micropractices of Sexual Harassment
- Chapter 3: Women, Men, and Changing Organizations: An Organizational Culture Examination of Gendered Experiences of Telecommuting
- Chapter 4: Commentary: Lessons Learned and Possibilities Revealed from Feminist Scholarship
Part II: Gendering Health
- Chapter 5: Women Cancer Survivors: Making Meaning of Chronic Illness, Disability, and Complementary Medicine
- Chapter 6: The Defining of Menopause
- Chapter 7: Consuming Breasts: Our Breasts, Our Selves
- Chapter 8: Reframing Communication during Gynecological Exams: A Feminist Virtue Ethic of Care Perspective
- Chapter 9: Commentary: Communication and Women's Health
Part III: Constructing Pedagogy
- Chapter 10: Metaphor in the Classroom: Reframing Traditional and Alternative Uses of Language for Feminist Transformation
- Chapter 11: From Transgression to Transformation: Negotiating the Opportunities and Tensions of Engaged Pedagogy in the Feminist Organizational Communication Classroom
- Chapter 12: Body Shape(ing) Discourse: Bakhtinian Intertextuality as a Tool for Studying Discourse and Relationships
- Chapter 13: Aggression in Interethnic Encounters: Reports by Female and Male Youth in an Ethnically Diverse School District
- Chapter 14: Commentary: Feminist Classrooms
Part IV: Empowering Family
- Chapter 15: Entrepreneurial Mothers' Balance of Work and Family: Discursive Constructions of Time, Mothering, and Identity
- Chapter 16: Playground or Training Ground? The Function of Talk in African American and European American Mother-Adolescent Daughter Dyads
- Chapter 17: Masculinities and Violence among Intimates: Stories about Male Abusers and Intervention Strategies
- Chapter 18: Commentary: The Pastiche of Gender and Family Communication
We would like to dedicate our book…
To the women and men of OSCLG, and to our families, especially our children and grandchildren, who must carry on our work…
Patrice: For my partner, Steve Wilson, and our children, Sgt. Brendan Sheahan (and his wife, Ashley Sheahan), Sheridan Sheahan, Ashlee Sheahan, Lisette Sheahan, Annie Grace Sheahan, and Robyn Wilson.
Helen: For my husband, Mark Van Halsema, and our children, Gerard and Katie.
Lynn: For my family (named and unnamed)—Roberta, Jerry, Ted III, Sabrina, Billy, Sophie, Leila, Russ, Zoe, Dylan, Ted IV, Sally, and Ely.
Copyright © 2004 by Sage Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Gender in applied communication contexts / Patrice M. Buzzanell, Helen Sterk, and Lynn H. Turner, editors.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-7619-2864-2 — ISBN 0-7619-2865-0 (pbk.)
1. Communication-Social aspects. 2. Sex role. 3. Women-Communication. 4. Feminist theory. I. Buzzanell, Patrice M. II. Sterk, Helen M., 1952-III. Turner, Lynn H.
03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquiring Editor: Todd R. Armstrong
Editorial Assistant: Veronica K. Novak
Production Editor: Claudia A. Hoffman
Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd.
Copy Editor: Meredith L. Brittain
Indexers: Rebecca J. Meisenbach and Robyn V. Remke
In 1992, the Journal of Applied Communication Research, in the wake of the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings, published a special issue that provoked a good deal of discussion within the communication discipline. The issue featured stories of sexual harassment from members of the discipline, presented as written, along with critical analyses of those stories from the perspective of organizational communication and performance studies. I was privileged to edit the journal at that time and to work with Professor Julia Wood of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to execute her idea. Looking back, I believe that issue provided a turning point for feminist scholarship in communication. The articles in that special issue demonstrated that feminist theory could be used to analyze and provide correctives for the lived experiences of those in the discipline.
If anything, the communication discipline has become even more gendered since 1992. Women far outnumber men in both graduate and undergraduate programs in communication. The Women's Caucus is the largest unit within the National Communication Association, and the Feminist Studies in Communication Division is the third largest of the substantive units in membership, behind only Rhetorical and Communication Theory and Interpersonal Communication. Clearly, the contributions of both women and feminist scholars to the communication discipline are substantial.
The hallmark of gendered applied communication scholarship is a focus on social issues, the content of which serves either to reveal gender discrimination or to highlight the empowerment of women in a variety of settings. This development particularly pleases me because it coincides with a call I issued following the conclusion of my JACR editorship. In that call (Eadie, 1994) I indicated that the communication discipline could achieve its goal of becoming a greater part of the public consciousness by producing a body of research that presented insight into the solution of social problems. To do so, I argued, the discipline needed to become more deliberate about pursuing collective research agendas and about synthesizing and publicizing the research conducted as part of those agendas.
[Page x]The National Communication Association (NCA), where I served as Associate Director from 1993 to 2001, created a research agenda for studying the impact of communication technologies on people's lives. In a booklet describing that agenda (Poole & Walther, 2002), the participants at an NCA-sponsored conference identified four “scientific and social challenges” to study. These challenges included the following:
- To maintain and enhance a vigorous, self-renewing democracy
- To promote the health and well-being of all
- To help our organizations and institutions change in ways that enable our society to prosper in the emerging global economy
- To enable people to live happy, meaningful lives and to have fulfilling relationships
The research reported in this volume responds to several of these challenges. Part I presents papers on telecommuting, the subtle linguistic features of sexual harassment, and alternative approaches to organizing, all of which respond to NCA's third challenge. Part II presents research that can certainly assist in the promotion of the health and well-being of all. Parts III and IV present research that can easily be construed as responding to the fourth challenge in the NCA brochure. Moreover, these contributions are not formed simply as a collection of studies. Their findings, several of which challenge conventional wisdom, are synthesized and commented upon by a series of expert scholars in each area. In my opinion, the structure of this volume enables the discipline to move forward in a more systematic manner than we have done previously.
Finally, these studies demonstrate the value of smaller, more specialized, scholarly organizations as vehicles for carrying out scholarly research agendas. Although I would be the last person to denigrate the value of discipline-wide associations such as NCA, their very nature does not lend itself well to systemic research. As groups such as the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (OSCLG) demonstrate, having a concentrated period of time each year in which an “invisible college” of colleagues can be created is a key to doing the sort of intellectual work that produces agenda-driven research. These organizations are usually operated through the “sweat equity” of volunteers and take a great deal of time and energy to manage. Nevertheless, they promote a set of common research values, and they generate a set of questions that excite the scholars who participate year in and year out. In addition, the level of identification with and commitment to the organization produces excellent results.
My congratulations and thanks to all of the scholars whose work is represented in this volume. You have done a great service to the communication discipline by producing this work.—William F.Eadie
We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the following 43 editorial board members who reviewed chapters for our edited book.
- Michael Arrington, Ohio University
- Karen Ashcraft, University of Utah
- Deborah Ballard-Reisch, University of Nevada at Reno
- Judy Berkowitz, ORC Macro
- Sandy Berkowitz, University of Maine
- Nancy A. Burrell, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
- Judi Dallinger, Western Illinois University
- Debbie Dougherty, University of Missouri-Columbia
- Alice Deakins, William Patterson College
- Paige Edley, Loyola Marymount University
- Laura Ellingson, Santa Clara University
- Marlene Fine, Simmons College
- Patricia Geist Martin, San Diego State University
- Annis Golden, State University of New York at Albany
- Steve Goldzwig, Marquette University
- Beth Haslett, University of Delaware
- Kate Hawkins, Clemson University
- Sandra Herndon, Ithaca College
- Jane Jorgenson, University of South Florida
- Jeff Kassing, Arizona State University West
- Madeline Keaveny, California State University-Chico
- Joann Keyton, University of Kansas
- Erika Kirby, Creighton University
- Kim Kline, Southern Illinois University
- Elisabeth Kuhn, Virginia Commonwealth University
- Diane Martin, University of Portland [Page xii]
- Marifran Mattson, Purdue University
- Jill McMillan, Wake Forest University
- Caryn Medved, Ohio University
- Marcy Meyer, Ball State University
- Wendy Morgan, Purdue University
- Bren O. Murphy, Loyola University
- Elizabeth Nelson, University of Minnesota at Duluth
- Linda A. M. Perry, University of San Diego
- Felicia Roberts, Purdue University
- Amardo Rodriguez, Syracuse University
- Lisa Skow, WatchMark Corporation
- Patty Sotirin, Michigan Technological University
- Patricia Sullivan, State University of New York at New Paltz
- Angela Trethewey, Arizona State University
- Paige Turner, St. Louis University
- Richard West, University of Southern Maine
- Steve Wilson, Purdue University
We would also like to thank our editorial assistants:
Rebecca Meisenbach, Purdue University
Robyn Remke, Purdue University
Introduction: Challenging Common Sense[Page xiii]Patrice M.Buzzanell, HelenSterk, and Lynn H.Turner
Common sense, in terms of gender, tells us that men will be men and women will be women. This supposes that femininity and masculinity are stable, essential qualities inscribed in our genes that make women and men very different from one another. Further, this commonsense belief explains communication dilemmas between women and men by pointing to those seemingly essential differences. Sandra Bem (1993), in The Lenses of Gender, describes essentializing as one of the three culturally constructed ways that people use to understand gender. The other two are acting as if maleness were the norm for humanity and seeing women and men as polar opposites. Because people tend to believe that these three lenses answer all questions concerning gender, they are taken as normal and commonsensical.
Our book challenges culture's common sense. We illustrate some of the many and varied ways in which gender plays out in applied communication contexts, arguing through example that gender is best analyzed in specific historically and culturally situated places. In our book we offer examinations of gendered difficulties, struggles, and tensions in specific settings. These analyses include managing relationships with adolescent daughters, coping with intimate violence, communicating with health care providers, balancing work and home responsibilities, and integrating feminist practices in school settings.
Our two main goals are first, to illustrate how commonsense dichotomies fail to hold in the applied communication contexts of organizations, health institutions, educational settings, and family life; and second, to show how [Page xiv]gender infuses and influences our everyday, ongoing communicative choices in these contexts. Our desire to reveal the complexity and importance of gender as an organizing and explanatory construct underlies and unites both these goals.Four Critical Threads in Gender in Applied Communication Contexts
With these two goals in mind, we wove four critical threads throughout this book: (a) the importance of context, specifically the contexts of organizational, health, family, and instructional communication; (b) the ongoing tensions about how to frame central processes of gender, discourse, and context; (c) the necessity of keeping praxis visible in communication research; and (d) the critical task of advocating feminist transformation of communication practices.
The first thread, the importance of context, is exemplified in our belief that “difference” research (which assumes men and women are different and searches for general differences) oversimplifies situations because gender is not given, but enacted. Gender tests and creates as well as responds to contexts, and it is best analyzed as situated in specific times and places. Seeing gender in action in educational, family, organizational, and health contexts clarifies the ongoing process of gendering. We observe how gendering occurs through our linguistic choices, ordinary interactions, policies, routine ways of handling situations, and so on. Further, we view context as constitutive of gender. As people engage each other, they enact gender in ways that respond to and are shaped by situations.
Our foci on the complex interplay of gender, context, and discourse and the ways in which these processes shape and are shaped by each other are consistent with ongoing interdisciplinary feminist research and theorizing. Work by Karen Lee Ashcraft (in press) provides a schematic for organizing and critiquing gender, communication, and organizations. She suggests that there are four frames encompassing contemporary gender research: (a) discourse as outcome: gender identity organizes discourse; (b) discourse as performance: discourse (dis)organizes gender identities; (c) discourse as text-conversation dialectic: organizing (en)genders discourse; (d) discourse as social text: societal discourses (en)gender organization. We adapt her outcome, performance, dialectic, and social text lenses to focus on gender in applied communication contexts. The first thread of our analysis, and the chapters that reflect it, is reminiscent primarily of Ashcraft's third frame of gender. In it, Ashcraft establishes how applied communication contexts act as gendered discourse communities that suggest gendered scripts for members to enact and/or contest. In this frame, [Page xv]contextual discourses interpellate with gender. Although context may direct member practice, it does not determine it. Rather, gender and power narratives are constructed collectively. Buzzanell's chapter analyzing sexual harassment in academe (Chapter 2) is one example of research that emphasizes this sort of collective construction. Fink and Tucker's chapter (Chapter 17), which describes male abusers in domestic violence episodes and the interventions designed to break the gendered (masculine) scripts that they routinely follow, provides another example of gender's collective construction. Further, Fink and Tucker explore cultural contexts that foster certain kinds of masculinities, evolving legal (and other) remedies, and political controversies about defining violence and funding intervention programs. And Hylmö (Chapter 3) foregrounds telecommuting and in-house work arrangements in a hybrid (governmental and private sector) agency to show that where and how labor is performed can produce particular work, gender, family, and status identities.
Our second thread of ongoing tensions about how to frame central processes of gender, discourse, and context suffuses the chapters. Chapter authors are not writing about applied communication as either a prescriptive set of recommendations or a static entity. Instead, most are describing ways in which gender, discourse, and applied contexts intersect, shift, and form varied communication practices. In many of the essays in this collection, gender identities and communication structures have been destabilized, emerging as relatively fluid.
This thread of ongoing tensions resonates with Ashcraft's (in press) second frame, attending to the ways in which discourse (dis)organizes gender identities. Ashcraft focuses on the ways in which mundane interactions and situated discourse construct gender. Because the emphasis is on how individuals “do gender,” the production and reproduction of gender differences, identity(ies) construction, and shifting power relations are central. In our collection, Meyer and O'Hara's chapter (Chapter 1) on the diverse interconnections between traditional institutions and temporary organizations (i.e., Ball State University and the National Women's Music Festival), heterosexual and lesbian identities, and co-opted discourses of dominant and subaltern groups portrays a revealing and exciting picture of behind-the-scenes negotiations among permanent and temporary residents of a particular site as they go about their activities. In addition, Ellingson's chapter (Chapter 5), about the ways women cope with the physical and emotional aftermath of disfiguring and disabling illnesses, shows how institutional norms and cultures both enable and constrain gendered identities, acting as underlying dynamics in the construction and resolution of identity dilemmas. Sotirin echoes this theme in Chapter 7 when she examines the cultural baggage related to women's bodies, specifically their breasts. Sotirin illustrates the tension between a woman's sense of her identity and cultural messages about the breast.
[Page xvi]The third thread that pervades our edited collection is the necessity of keeping praxis visible in communication research. From the beginning, we envisioned this book as one that uses theory and research as a starting place for not only describing, but also challenging, everyday practices. This commitment to praxis infuses each chapter, connecting theoretical insights and contributions with pragmatic situations. The situations described in these chapters are those confronted by our students, ourselves, our family members, and our friends in daily life. For instance, Penington and Turner's chapter (Chapter 16), which focuses on mother-adolescent daughter interactions, challenges the accepted idea that mothers and their daughters are at odds during adolescence. Their respondents provided a fresh look at differences and commonalities within gender and across race and generations.
The central theme of praxis cuts across chapters concerned with different sites of communication, showing that feminist change need not be only at the level of formal or macro-level interventions. Rather, possibilities for change may take place in spontaneous conversations about body image (Russ, Chapter 12), in explorations of figurative language in a classroom (Buzzanell, Chapter 10), in interactions with family members while conducting paid work at home (Edley, Chapter 15), and in the talk and procedures of gynecological exams (Brann & Mattson, Chapter 8) and music festivals (Meyer & O'Hara, Chapter 1). Our authors use research/discovery, teaching/learning, service/active engagement as means of bettering the world for women and men (see Calás & Smircich, 1996). They explicitly state what can be done by whom with their theoretical insights, data analyses, and findings.
The fourth thread woven throughout the book is our hopefulness that the research promoted through the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (OSCLG) will contribute to feminist transformation of communication practices. Specifically, Gender in Applied Communication Contexts uses feminist theory to analyze situations and construct realistic interventions for achieving greater workplace equity, for enhancing women's health outcomes, for developing more inclusive and thought-provoking classroom (and training workshop) practices, and for constructing family relationships that enable positive enactment of masculinities and femininities. This collection of essays reflects optimism about the possibilities for improving the lives of women and men.
Consciousness of our options enables us to bring the possibility for feminist transformation to the forefront. When people comprehend what is going on in a given situation, they possess the ability to challenge, contest, and sometimes change it. As such, our chapter authors are grounded in advocacy. We wish to change gendered practices in the direction of greater equity between women and men. We wish to challenge everyday assumptions about institutions such as health care, family, organizations, and schools, and transform them [Page xvii]into spaces where women and men exercise their strengths and develop their sense of individuality.
We wish to explore local pockets of resistance to traditional thinking and practice. In so doing, we hope to give insight into how transformational processes begin. The chapters explore such transformational processes as social movements against domestic violence (Fink & Tucker, Chapter 17), Web sites and chat rooms where entrepreneurial mothers find and create empowerment (Edley, Chapter 15), friendships and interactions that can (re)assess women's body shaping discourses (Russ, Chapter 12; Sotirin, Chapter 7), legitimation of alternative health care practices and understandings of women's bodies (Ellingson, Chapter 5; Brann & Mattson, Chapter 8; Quintanilla, Cano, & Ivy, Chapter 6), alternative work locations (Hylmö, Chapter 3), and innovative classroom strategies based on feminist theory and engagement (Meyer, Chapter 11; Buzzanell, Chapter 10; Jaasma, Chapter 13; Russ, Chapter 12).
Insofar as research brings about awareness of some social or cultural issue, the implied next step is to motivate toward change. As Bowers and Buzzanell (2002) state,
The process of translating awareness into advocacy often requires assistance of others not only to determine which of the many change strategies might be useful in a given situation but also to continue the process of interpreting and evaluating lived experiences in light of feminist commitments. (p. 29)
We invite you, as readers of this book, to be part of the process. We believe a fundamental task for feminist research involves not only describing communication situations and choices, but making sense of them within a feminist worldview and suggesting meaningful change strategies.Gender in Applied Communication Contexts—Our Organizational Pattern
We developed four sections for Gender in Applied Communication Contexts based primarily on the applied communication context in which authors positioned their work. Because chapters share commonalities of framing and reframing discourse, applied contexts, gender, and identity construction, they could have been partitioned in a number of different ways. For instance, Meyer's discussion about feminist transformation in an organizational communication classroom (Chapter 11) could logically be placed in either Part I, “Organizing Gender,” or Part III, “Constructing Pedagogy.” Similarly, Edley's analysis of entrepreneurial mothers' discourse and practices as located on their Web sites and chat rooms (Chapter 15) provides insight into both “Organizing [Page xviii]Gender” (Part I) and “Empowering Family” (Part IV). Fink and Tucker's description of male abusers and the group-based interventions developed to prevent domestic violence (Chapter 17) could be placed within “Constructing Pedagogy” (Part III) as well as in “Empowering Family” (Part IV). So, our choice of where chapters should be situated displays some level of arbitrariness. However, our choices also indicate the ways gender, context, identities, and discourse shift depending on how one examines each process.
All the chapters view gender as socially constructed in ways that restrict opportunities for expression by both sexes, but they reflect a partial view of all the different points that could be made. For example, we could have focused more on men and masculinities and different sexual-social orientations. However, we do include masculinities and varied orientations in our chapters on domestic violence and male abusers (Fink & Tucker, Chapter 17) and lesbian music festival participants and organizers (Meyer & O'Hara, Chapter 1). Yet, because we believe that most applied communication theory and research still focuses more on men and traditional ways of constructing health, organizations, pedagogy, and families than on women and alternative perspectives of processes and issues, this book fills an important gap in the field's literature.
We also could have chosen to publish only empirical research articles. However, we wanted to portray the varied ways by which we come to know about and experience human nature, communication processes, identity construction, and the shifting boundaries around reason/emotion, work/family, masculine/feminine, and so on. Presentational formats range from traditional literature reviews and empirical studies to interviews, stories, autoethnographic sketches, and essays. We think the variety of methodological and theoretical approaches represented in this volume does justice to the many faces of current feminist research.
We acknowledge that we opted for depth rather than breadth in our collection. We maintain that most chapters in each section provide detailed and richly contextualized views of some ways women and men construct their identities, challenge public-private boundaries, and discursively (re)frame and (re)construct their lives.
In Part 1: Organizing Gender (editor: Patrice Buzzanell), we challenge the beliefs that organizational communication must focus on corporate America and on work prioritization. Instead, we look at the ways in which our different gendered, professional, familial, and organizational identities come into play as we try to figure out positive courses of action in our everyday interactions and in institutional policies. We highlight the ways in which our conceptualizations of and remedies for sexual harassment have proven woefully inadequate. We see how dominant and subaltern members exert agency while simultaneously feeling as though their options are constrained. We pull apart advice and procedures for alternative work arrangements, such as telecommuting, to [Page xix]locate different lenses that both undermine the possibilities for workplace change and that push organizational members to do work differently.
In Part II: Gendering Health (editor: Lynn Turner), we interrogate the beliefs surrounding medical practices: the supremacy of the physician, the passivity of the patient, and the benevolence of the system. This section explores the communication behaviors that may deconstruct these beliefs and bring better health care to women. The chapters focus on the ways in which gender is embodied and constructed through discourse: discourse with physicians, with supportive friends, and in the media. Further, discourse is viewed as a way to (re)construct gender in a more productive and healthful manner. The chapters in this section challenge commonsense responses to disease and health and, in so doing, they situate alternatives in language and practice.
In Part III: Constructing Pedagogy (editor: Helen Sterk), we argue that educational settings provide a key site for enacting feminist ways of knowing, teaching, and learning. The authors use their own experiences or research studies to suggest that sharing one's life with students, taking the risk of creating a safe space for discourse about gender and life, engaging in discourse about body shape, and intervening in middle school violence through gendered pedagogy flip ordinary ideas about how to educate. Instead of endorsing the notion of professor as the source of disembodied, objective knowledge, this section provides visions of feminist classrooms.
In Part IV: Empowering Family (coeditors: Patrice Buzzanell and Lynn Turner), we break from hegemonic constructions of family to delve into both the hopeful and the dark, tension-filled sides of close connections with others. Instead of concentrating only on white, middle-class families and assuming generational differences and problems, we look at racial/ethnic influences and commonalities in talk between black and white mothers and their adolescent daughters. Instead of focusing only on women and on positive aspects of relationship development or family life, we direct attention to men caught in unproductive masculinities and cultural directives that can prompt domestic violence. We describe some complexities in designing group-level interventions that emphasize choice and agency for male abusers. Instead of detailing corporate women's work-family dilemmas, we present resourceful groups of ordinary women who negotiate family and paid work time (and space) while conducting their businesses from their homes. In their daily struggles, they use technology to learn from, support, and assist each other in their work-life balancing and in their desire to be role models for their children.
To support the insights of the four sections and the chapters contained in each, four well-known scholars developed commentaries that respond to, interpret, and extend each section. In each commentary, the author talks about what is theoretically and pragmatically significant about the work in a particular section and how the ideas could be extended. We are pleased that Connie [Page xx]Bullis, Gary Kreps, Richard West, and Kathleen Galvin provided thoughtful, provocative commentaries for the organizational, health, instructional, and family communication sections, respectively.How this Book Came to Be
This collection of essays had its inception when the three editors planned the October 2000 conference for the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (OSCLG) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Patrice Buzzanell, at that time President of OSCLG, designed breakfast discussion tables (at 7:30 a.m. with more than 60 people attending!) and panel sessions, workshops, and program details. Lynn Turner and Helen Sterk planned the conference program together, which meant not only a stimulating program of paper presentations but also an inviting social atmosphere with plenty of fabulous food and breaks for conversation between panels, art exhibits, and other events. We three worked to create a context for creative interaction and productive research.
We were so taken by the quality of the manuscripts presented at the conference that we began talking about a book immediately. We heard our themes articulated throughout the conference presentations and discussions and we realized that we had the basis for a collection focusing on gender enactment in applied contexts. The submissions coalesced around several main areas of applied communication—organizational, health, instructional, and family communication. Further, we saw in the papers ongoing tensions about how to frame central processes of gender, discourse, and context. We noted that the papers shared the basic value of keeping praxis visible in communication research. Finally, we believed that the research promoted through OSCLG could contribute to feminist transformation of communication practices. These observations coalesced into the four central themes that now inform our book.
These factors led us to propose an edited volume to Sage Publications—not just an anthology of the papers presented at the program, but a coherent set of essays that are tied to a central vision. To ensure the highest quality of chapters and the greatest opportunity for involvement, we opened up the submission process. In addition to OSCLG conference papers, we solicited manuscripts by placing a call for papers in outlets frequented by feminist communication researchers. To safeguard the high quality, coherence, and transformative nature of the book, the submitted papers underwent a rigorous and masked review process.[Page xxi]
With the exception of two solicited essays in the family section—one on mother-adolescent daughter interactions and one on men charged with domestic violence—all chapters were sent out to two or more reviewers for recommendations and decisions. (In addition, reviewers provided extensive comments on the two chapters written by the first editor while knowing her identity. Since Patrice Buzzanell managed the review process, it would have been impossible to maintain reviewer anonymity in the case of her papers.) Forty-three percent of the competitively selected manuscripts are published in this book. Including the two invited essays, we are pleased to offer our readers 15 original chapters that have not been published elsewhere.
The 43 editorial board members who participated in this review process are listed at the beginning of this book. We selected these board members based on their subject matter expertise and/or feminist orientation to scholarship and practice. We are very grateful for their generosity in providing challenging and constructive commentary in a timely fashion. We could not have asked for a better group of advisors on this project.Expressing Our Appreciation
As we have already noted, we are grateful for the detailed and helpful suggestions made by the 43 editorial board members and for the commentaries developed by Connie Bullis, Kathleen Galvin, Gary Kreps, and Richard West. In addition, Bill Eadie wrote a perceptive foreword to the volume, focusing on how feminist research in applied contexts can advance theory and provide correctives for troubling gendered experiences. We appreciate his thoughtful contribution to this work. We also want to extend our appreciation for the insightful recommendations of our proposal reviewers: Debbie Dougherty (University of Missouri at Columbia), Kathleen Galvin (Northwestern University), Steven Goldzwig (Marquette University), Linda Putnam (Texas A&M University), and Julia Wood (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Finally, some of our student-colleagues contributed to the processing of this work. Rebecca Meisenbach and Robyn Remke from Purdue University volunteered to help Patrice send manuscripts out for review, track responses, and correspond with Lynn and Helen. As her editorial assistants, they helped create indices—a job that actually was fun because of their presence, laughter, and desire for lots of pizza and chocolate! Lynn's research assistant at Marquette, Jaime Leick, was an incredible proofreader and reference checker for the health communication section. We'd also like to thank Todd Armstrong at Sage for moving so quickly on our proposal and for his great suggestions.[Page xxii]Final Thoughts
The mark of productive theory and research is that we learn something new every time we pick up materials and reread them. In working on this book project, we have enjoyed exploring the different theoretical insights, personal stories, and concrete details in pragmatic applications that authors developed in their chapters. A first reading just scratches the surface of possibilities for theoretical extensions and directions for feminist advocacy. Repeated readings may enable readers to uncover different ways to enact change that may build upon or contest the findings of these chapters. We welcome the opportunity to facilitate this kind of transformational process and hope that this edited collection indeed enables our readers to challenge common sense.
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About the Editors[Page 363]
Patrice M. Buzzanell (PhD, Purdue University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Purdue University. Her research interests center on feminist organizational communication theorizing and the construction of gendered workplace identities, interactions, and structures, particularly as they relate to career processes and outcomes. Besides teaching courses such as organizational communication, training and development, gender communication, and critical-interpretive methods, she also has taught OBHR at the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University and at the University of Michigan-Flint and has coadvised an engineering design team focusing on hardware and software for girls aged 9 to 13 years (Institute for Women and Technology team in the Engineering Projects in Community Service at Purdue; IWT-EPICS). She has published in Human Communication Research, Communication Monographs, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and other communication journals and edited books. For her edited book, Rethinking Organizational and Managerial Communication From Feminist Perspectives (Sage, 2000), she received the Central States Communication Association's Theory Book Award in 2002. She also earned the W. Charles Redding Dissertation Award from the International Communication Association in 1988 and has won several top paper awards. In addition to editing Management Communication Quarterly, she has served as chairperson of the Organizational Communication Division of ICA, secretary of the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association (NCA), as President of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (OSCLG), and as a current editorial board member for eight journals and a handbook. For this and other work, she was awarded the Outstanding Member Award from her ICA division, the Alumnus of the Year Award from the School of Interpersonal Communication at Ohio University, the Teacher-Mentor Award from OSCLG, and the Violet Haas Award for promoting the advancement of women at Purdue University. firstname.lastname@example.org
[Page 364]Helen Sterk (PhD, University of Iowa) is Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Director of the Gender Studies minor at Calvin College. She was appointed to Calvin College's William Spoelhof Teacher Scholar Chair in 1997. Dr. Sterk has written widely on rhetoric, feminism, gender, and popular culture. She has coauthored or coedited several books, including her most recent collaboration, Who's Having This Baby? Perspectives on Birthing (Michigan State University Press, 2002), as well as Differences That Make a Difference (edited with Lynn Turner; Bergin & Garvey, 1994) and Constructing and Reconstructing Gender (edited with Linda A. M. Perry and Lynn Turner; State University of New York Press, 1992). Her work has been published in journals such as the Western Journal of Communication and the Journal of Communication, and in edited collections such as Evaluating Women's Health Messages: A Resourcebook (Sage, 1996). She currently edits the Journal of Communication and Religion and serves on three editorial boards. She also has served as President for the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender and the Religious Communication Association, as Chapter President for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and as a member of the state executive board for the AAUP (Michigan). She has earned awards for her outstanding articles and dissertation work. email@example.com
Lynn H. Turner (PhD, Northwestern University) is an Associate Professor in Communication Studies at Marquette University. Her research areas of emphasis include interpersonal, gender, and family communication. She is the coauthor or coeditor of several books, articles, and chapters, most of which focus on intersections between communication and gender. Her articles have appeared in many journals, including Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Women and Language, and Western Journal of Communication. Her books include From the Margins to the Center: Contemporary Women and Political Communication (coauthored with Patricia Sullivan; Praeger, 1996; recipient of the 1997 Best Book Award from the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender [OSCLG]) and Perspectives on Family Communication (coauthored with Richard West; McGraw-Hill, 2002). She was the recipient of the College of Communication Outstanding Research Award in 1999. She has served in a number of different positions: Director of Graduate Studies for the College of Communication at Marquette University. President of OSCLG, President-Elect of Central States Communication Association (CSCA), and Chairperson of the Family Communication Division for the National Communication Association. She has planned several conferences for OSCLG and CSCA. firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Contributors[Page 365]
Maria Brann (PhD, University of Kentucky) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at West Virginia University. Her research interests include ethical health issues such as confidentiality breaches, gynecological care, body image, gender construction, organizational values, and drug and alcohol use. Her publications include articles in Health Communication, Communication Studies, Health Care Analysis, and MD Computing. She has served the profession by assisting as panel facilitator, presenter, representative, paper reader, and planning committee member for the National Communication Association as well as regional and state associations. She also serves as a reviewer for Communication Studies. email@example.com
Nada Frazier Cano (BA, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, with Highest Honors) is a Board-Certified Legal Assistant in Personal Injury Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization, currently working as a paralegal for the law firm of Sapp & White, P.C. in Austin, Texas. Ms. Cano aspires to complete her master's degree in Counseling. Her research interests are communication, women and gender studies, and law-related subjects. Her publications and papers include: guest author, Epilogue Chapter, “The Impact of Social Movements on Gender Communication: You Must Know Where You've Been to Know Where You're Going” in Exploring GenderSpeak: Personal Effectiveness in Gender Communication (2nd ed. by Ivy & Backlund, 2000); paper co-presenter with Quintanilla and Ivy at the conference for the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (October 2000): “The Defining of Menopause”; and paper presenter at the sixth annual conference for the Study of Women and Politics, held at the Carrie Chapman Catt Center at Iowa State University (October, 1998): “First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton: Challenging the Cultural Confines of the White House's Glass Ceiling.” //firstname.lastname@example.org
Paige P. Edley (PhD, Rutgers University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Her [Page 366]research examines the intersections between work-family concerns, feminist transformation, and technology, as well as alternative organizing and women-owned businesses. She is currently involved in the International Communication Association Feminist Scholarship Division's research and advocacy group MAP (Media Associations Project). She has published in Management Communication Quarterly, Women & Language, and Argumentation and Advocacy. She currently serves as an elected Board Member for the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender. email@example.com
Laura L. Ellingson (PhD, University of South Florida) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Santa Clara University. Her research interests include physician-patient communication, interdisciplinary communication on health care teams, and feminist theory and methodology. Her publications include articles in Health Communication, Women's Studies in Communication, Communication Studies, Journal of Applied Communication Research, and Journal of Aging Studies. She has served the profession as a board member of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender, and as Vice President of the Ethnography Division of the National Communication Association. She teaches courses in qualitative research methods, health communication, communication and gender, and public speaking. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Fink (MA, Northern Illinois University) is employed at Safe Passage, Inc., as the Resource Coordinator. She previously served as the Community Relations and Volunteer Coordinator and a legal advocate. She copresented the paper “Enlarging Public-Private Boundaries—Letitia Westgate” at the 1999 International Communication Association conference and presented “Reaching the End of the Road: Phillip Morris' Fight for Legitimacy” at the 1997 Central States Communication Association conference. She served as the Editorial Assistant for Management Communication Quarterly from 1998 through 1999. //email@example.com
Kathleen M. Galvin (PhD, Northwestern University) is a Professor of Communication Studies and a graduate of The Family Institute's Two Year Training Program in Family Therapy. Her research interests are family boundary management, especially as it relates to international adoption and step-families; her courses include Family Communication, Theories of Relational Communication, and Introduction to Family Therapy. She is author or coauthor of eight books, including Family Communication: Cohesion and Change (sixth edition) and Making Connections: Readings in Relational Communication (third edition). She has published in a range of communication journals. Her 26-video telecourse in Family Communication currently appears on the PBS [Page 367]Adult Learning Satellite Service. She recently won the National Communication Association's award for contributions to the area of family communication, has appeared on the Today Show, and has been cited in numerous local and national media outlets. firstname.lastname@example.org
Annika Hylmö (PhD, Purdue University) is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies Department at Loyola Marymount University. Her research interests center on the tensions between being a part of and apart from organizational contexts by focusing on organizational discourse, identity construction, and organizational culture. She studies changing and boundary-less careers, such as telecommuting, expatriates, and independent contractors; Third Culture Kid identity communication; student communication about their educational experiences, and identity representations of Native Americans. Her award-winning work has been published in anthologies and journals such as Communication Monographs. email@example.com
Diana K. Ivy (PhD, University of Oklahoma) is a Professor in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her research interests include gender communication, with a special emphasis on gender representations in language and media; interpersonal communication; and nonverbal communication. She has coauthored two textbooks, GenderSpeak: Personal Effectiveness in Gender Communication (3rd ed.) and Communication: Principles for a Lifetime (2nd ed.). She has served the profession as a longstanding member of the National Communication Association, of which she is a past Chair of the Women's Caucus, and has served as Secretary for the Instructional Development Division, and as a member of the Western States Communication Association; the Organization for Women and Communication; and the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender. She frequently teaches introduction to communication, gender communication, nonverbal communication, interpersonal communication, and public speaking. firstname.lastname@example.org
Marjorie A. Jaasma (EdD, University of the Pacific) is a Professor in the Communication Studies Department at California State University, Stanislaus. Her research interests are issues of gender and diversity in educational settings. Her publications include articles in Communication Education, Women's Studies in Communication, Pacific Education Research Journal, and Communication Reports. She teaches courses in the areas of gender communication, intercultural communication, and communication education. email@example.com
Gary L. Kreps (PhD, 1979, University of Southern California) is Chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he plans, develops, and coordinates major new [Page 368]national research and outreach initiatives concerning risk communication, health promotion, behavior change, technology development, and information dissemination to promote cancer prevention and control. Prior to joining the NCI, he was the Founding Dean of the School of Communication at Hofstra University, and, before that, Executive Director of the Greenspun School of Communication at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has also served in faculty and administrative positions at Northern Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana, and Purdue Universities. His areas of expertise include health communication/promotion, information dissemination, organizational communication, information technology, multicultural relations, and applied research methods. He is an active scholar who has produced more than 20 books and 160 articles and chapters examining communication, health, and society. He has received numerous honors, including the Future of Health Technology Institute's 2002 Future of Health Technology Award, the Ferguson Report's 2002 Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions in Consumer Health Informatics and Online Health, the 2000 Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award from both the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association, and the 1998 Gerald M. Phillips Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship Award from the National Communication Association.
Marifran Mattson (PhD, Arizona State University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Purdue University. Her research and teaching interests include exploring the intersection of health communication and organizational communication by considering the relationship between communication processes and problems related to human health and safety. Publications include articles in Communication Monographs, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Communication Studies, Management Communication Quarterly, American Journal of Health Behavior, and American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education; a chapter in the Handbook of Health Communication; and other book chapters. She has served the profession as chair of the National Communication Association's Health Communication Division, as an editorial board member for Communication Studies, and as an ad hoc reviewer for several communication journals. firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcy Meyer (BS, Georgetown University; MA, PhD Michigan State), a native of New Hampshire, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Ball State University, where she teaches classes in organizational communication and research methods, and serves as the faculty advisor for the student group Feminists for Action. A winner of the 1996 Charles W. Redding Dissertation Award, Marcy conducts research in the areas of organizational innovation, gender, diversity, and feminist theorizing. Her [Page 369]articles have appeared in Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Communication Studies, Journal of Business Communication, and Preventive Medicine. email@example.com
Laura Shue O'Hara (PhD, Ohio University) is an Associate Professor in the Communication Studies Department at Ball State University. Her primary areas of research are organizational and intercultural communication with an emphasis on gender and power in organizations. She has recently received a grant to develop a course using digital communication to create a global classroom for the study of intercultural communication in real-world business contexts. Her partner for the project is Pontifical Universidad Catolica de Rio Grande do Sul, (PUCRS), Porto Alegre, Brazil. firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Penington (PhD, Marquette University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and currently serves as the Graduate Program Coordinator for her department. Her research interests include family communication, listening, and culture and communication. She teaches courses in Fundamentals of Speech, Listening Behavior, and Cross-Cultural Communication. Her articles have appeared in the Wisconsin Communication Association Journal, Let's Talk: A Cognitive Skills Approach to Interpersonal Communication, and several editions of Swap Shop, a publication of the International Listening Association. Barbara is the mother of a former adolescent daughter, Caitlin, and also has two sons, Eric and Mark. email@example.com
Kelly Quintanilla (PhD, Pennsylvania State University) is an Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Communication and Theatre at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her research interests include organizational communication, with a special emphasis on organizational culture and public relations; and health communication. Publications include “Exploring the Effects of Organizational Change in an Organizational Subculture” in the New Jersey Journal of Communication and “Nonverbal Communication: A Fashion Alert” in Readings in Gendered Text. She has served as a communication consultant and trainer throughout the Coastal Bend. Her teaching interests include organizational communication, public relations techniques, communication theory, interviewing, small group communication, and public speaking. firstname.lastname@example.org
Terri L. Russ (JD, DePaul University; PhD, Purdue University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Bridgewater College. Her research interests are discourse and social power, female friendships, Bakhtin, feminist theory and practices, and ethnography as transformative praxis. Her publications include articles in Res Gestae and DePaul Women's Law Journal. email@example.com
[Page 370]Patty Sotirin (PhD, Purdue University) is an Associate Professor of Communication in the Humanities Department at Michigan Technological University. Her research interests are feminist theory, workplace talk, and gender representations in popular culture. Her publications include articles in Text and Performance Quarterly; Organization: The International Journal of Organization, Theory, and Society; and Journal of Popular Film and Television; and book chapters in such collections as Animations (of Deleuze and Guattari) (J. Slack, ed.) Women and Work: A Handbook (K. Borman & P. Dubeck, eds.) and Gender and Conflict (A. Taylor, ed.). She has served as President of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (OSCLG), Secretary of the Ethnography Division of the National Communication Association (NCA), and Book Review Editor for Women and Language. firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Tucker (PhD, Ohio State University) is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Communication Studies at Northern Illinois University. He has published Talking About Relationships (Waveland) and essays about management style and leadership in journals such as the Central States Speech Journal. Until recently, he was a consultant for partner abuse intervention programs for the Illinois Department of Human Services and a contract consultant for the same agency. email@example.com
About the Commentators[Page 371]
Connie Bullis (PhD, Purdue University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. She has served as chair of her department at the University of Utah and on a number of editorial boards. She has published on feminist organizational communication theory, organizational identification, relational turning points, and ways of reconceptualizing socialization in journals including Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Monographs, Western Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, and Communication Studies, as well as in Patrice Buzzanell's edited book, Rethinking Organizational and Managerial Communication From Feminist Perspectives (Sage, 2000). firstname.lastname@example.org
William F. Eadie (PhD, Purdue University) is Director of the School of Communication at San Diego State University, where he is responsible for leadership of a large program (2,300 student majors, 125 faculty) that encompasses all aspects of communication, media, and journalism. Prior to joining the SDSU faculty in 2001, he was Associate Director of the National Communication Association (NCA), in Washington, DC, where he worked with the discipline's researchers and promoted communication research to a variety of audiences. His other faculty appointments have been at Ohio University and California State University, Northridge, and he has served as an adjunct or visiting faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; the University of Maryland, College Park; the University of California, Los Angeles; and California State University, Los Angeles. He served as the first editor of the Journal of Applied Communication Research after it became an NCA publication. He has also served as President of the Western States Communication Association. His scholarship has focused on how interpersonal rhetoric affects the development of relationships. He has also been an advocate for the application of communication research in ways that affect ordinary people's lives. He has received the NCA Golden Anniversary Award for an outstanding article published in the field's journals. He has also been [Page 372]elected a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, and Phi Beta Delta, all national honorary societies. email@example.com
Kathleen M. Galvin (PhD, Northwestern University) is a Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. She is also a graduate of The Family Institute's Two Year Training Program in Family Therapy. Her research interests are family boundary management, especially as it relates to international adoption; her courses include Family Communication, Theories of Relational Communication, and Introduction to Family Therapy. She is the author or coauthor of eight books, including Family Communication: Cohesion and Change (with Carma Bylund and Bernard Brommel), now in its 6th edition, and Making Connections: Readings in Relational Communication (with Pamela Cooper), in its 3rd edition. Her articles have appeared in a range of communication journals. Her 26-video telecourse in Family Communication currently appears on the PBS Adult Learning Satellite Service. She recently won the National Communication Association's award for contributions to the area of family communication, has appeared on The Today Show, and has been cited in numerous local and national media outlets. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary L. Kreps (PhD, University of Southern California) is Chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he plans, develops, and coordinates major new national research and outreach initiatives concerning risk communication, health promotion, behavior change, technology development, and information dissemination to promote cancer prevention and control. His areas of expertise include health communication and promotion, information dissemination, organizational communication, information technology, multicultural relations, and applied research methods. He is an active scholar who has published many articles in journals such as Health Communication, Journal of Health Communication, Journal of Health Psychology, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Public Health Reports, Patient Education and Counseling, The American Behavioral Scientist, Family and Community Health, Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, and Communication Studies. He has also published (along with a number of esteemed coauthors) many books, including Health Communication: Theory and Practice; Perspectives on Health Communication; Communication and Health Outcomes; Communicating Effectively in Multicultural Health Care Settings; Communicating With Your Doctor: Getting the Most Out of Health Care; Qualitative Research: Applications in Organizational Life; Interpreting Communication Research: Introduction to Research Methods; Sexual Harassment: Communication Implications; and Organizational Communication: Theory and Practice. He has edited special issues of several journals: the Electronic Journal of Communication/La Revue Electronique de Communication, issue on “Health Communication and [Page 373]Information Technology”; the Journal of Health Psychology, issue on “E-Health: Computer-Mediated Health Communication”; the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, issue on “Critical Issues in Consumer Health Informatics”; Patient Education and Counseling, issue on “Advancing Consumer/Provider Health Communication Research”; and the American Behavioral Scientist, issue on “Communicating to Promote Health.” Dr. Kreps has received numerous honors, including the Future of Health Technology Institute's 2002 Future of Health Technology Award, the Ferguson Report's 2002 Distinguished Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions in Consumer Health Informatics and Online Health, the 2000 Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award from both the International Communication Association and the National Communication Association, and the 1998 Gerald M. Phillips Distinguished Applied Communication Scholarship Award from the National Communication Association. email@example.com
Richard West (PhD, Ohio University) is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. He received his BA and MA from Illinois State University. Rich has been teaching since 1984, and his teaching and research interests range from family diversity to teacher-student communication. He is the recipient of various teaching and research awards at USM, including the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher-Scholar and the Faculty Senate Award in Social Science Research. He is a past recipient of the Outstanding Editing]Alumni Award in Communication Studies at both Illinois State University and Ohio University. He is the co-author (with Lynn Turner) of Gender and Communication (3rd Ed.), Perspectives on Family Communication (2nd Ed.), and Introducing Communication Theory (2nd Ed.). His publications include articles published in Communication Education, Communication Reports, Day Care and Early Education, and the Journal of Communication Studies. He remains grateful and proud of the feminist thinking instilled in him over the years by his mother, Beverly, and grandmother, Lucille. firstname.lastname@example.org