Ideology in Interpersonal Communication: Beyond the Couches, Talk Shows, and Bunkers: Malcolm R. Parks
SOCIAL ideology and social science meet across a long, tense border. Trafficacross this border may either contribute to an enlarged sense of publicargument or dissolve into a cacophony of complaint and countercomplaint. Learning to speak thoughtfully across this border is, I believe, one of the most critical challenges facing the field of interpersonal communication. In this essay I explore several ideological components in current discourse about interpersonal communication. My essay is occasioned by Professor Burgoon's essay in the present volume. Being asked to write a commentary on Burgoon's essay leaves me in the enviable rhetorical position of being able to say nearly anything I please and still be viewed as a comparative moderate. I do not plan to waste such an opportunity, though my essay is intended more as parallel piece than as a direct response. This is not my first foray into the ideology of interpersonal communication. I will be revisiting several of the themes I originally raised in an essay on "ideology of intimacy" in Communication Yearbook more than a decade ago (Parks, 1982). I will certainly travel many of the paths hacked out by my colleague, even substantially agree with his criticisms, but ultimately I find that the question of ideology in interpersonal communication leads me in a different direction.