The Compass of Friendship: Narratives, Identities, and Dialogues

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SAGE Publications, 2009 - Family & Relationships - 235 pages
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2012 Recipient of the Gerald R. Miller Book Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association (NCA)

2009 Recipient of the David R. Maines Narrative Research Award from the Ethnography Division of the National Communication Association (NCA)

"The book is a valuable addition to the literature on friendship. Faculty who teach relationship development will find useful material for themselves and their students. Relationship researchers will find dozens of possible studies in these pages. Finally, any thoughtful person interested in relationship quality could profit from reading this interesting treatment of one of life's most valuable attributes—our friends." - Phil Backlund, University of Denver

Exploring how friends use dialogue and storytelling to construct identities, deal with differences, make choices, and build inclusive communities, The Compass of Friendship examines communication dialectically across private, personal friendships as well as public, political friendships. Author William K. Rawlins uses compelling examples and cases from literature, films, dialogue and storytelling between actual friends, student discussions of cross-sex friendships, and interviews with interracial friends. Throughout the book, he invites readers to consider such questions as: What are the possibilities for enduring, close friendships between men and women? How far can friendship's practices extend into public life to facilitate social justice? What are the predicaments and promises of friendships that bridge racial boundaries? How useful and realistic are the ideals and activities of friendship for serving the well-lived lives of individuals, groups, and larger collectives?

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About the author (2009)

William K. Rawlins (Ph.D., Temple University) is Stocker Professor in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University. His book, Friendship Matters: Communication, Dialectics, and the Life Course, was selected as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1993 by the editors of Choice, and received the Gerald R. Miller Book Award in 1994 from the Interpersonal and Small Group Interaction Division of the National Communication Association. In 2002 he received The Theory That Has Left a Legacy Award: “The Dialectical Perspective” from the Communication Theory Interest Group of the Central States Communication Association. Over the past 25 years, Professor Rawlins has published extensively about the unique challenges and dialectical tensions of communicating in friendships.

Bill teaches courses in communication in friendships across the life course, interpersonal and relational communication, communication theory, dialogue and experience, interpretive and ethnographic inquiry, communication and narrative, and Gregory Bateson and communication theory. While at Purdue University, he received the W. Charles Redding Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Communication five times, the School of Liberal Arts Departmental Educational Excellence Award for 2000-2001, and the School of Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Award for 2002-2003.

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