Destabilizing Social Communication Theory

Colin B. Grant

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    An interaction paradigm continues to predominate in social communication models to this day and yet often tends to be heavily intuitive, epistemologically conservative und acritical. This article seeks to examine some of the implications for our intuitive understanding of interaction when greater instability is introduced into social communication theory where communication is conceptualized as a complex uncertainty. The theoretical architecture of this undertaking is in itself interdisciplinary, comprising concepts from the fields of social theory, logic, information theory and constructivism. In these interdisciplinary considerations, interaction is conceptualized as a fictional construction and thus disabused of the strong transcendental claims which accompany concepts of dialogism, consensus or intersubjectivity. Whereas uncertainty is customarily seen as the opposite of rational inclusive communication and a risk to be somehow avoided, this article explores a different theoretical modelling of the relationship between uncertainty and social communication. Here, communication is conceived as an extremely precarious undertaking. This very precariousness is a fact of everyday life where communication is social construction in progress and norms are constantly regenerated, negotiated and challenged.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-119+154
    JournalTheory, Culture and Society
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


    • Constructivism
    • Interaction theory
    • Social fictions
    • Uncertainty
    • Vagueness


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