Conville has assembled a collection of essays that share a consideration of structure as it manifests itself in human communication. Personal stories, accounts of events, narratives, diaries, and unstructured interviews are ever more widely appreciated today as valid data for understanding human cognition and human interaction. Some chapters present solutions to the problem of how to analyze such materials and how to conceptualize them as data. Other chapters argue for the inevitability of structure in communication study. Still other chapters demonstrate structure in human communication. What ties all of the chapters together is the idea that structure is ubiquitous in communication literature, even in the face of postmodern and poststructuralist critiques alleging the disappearance of structure, the fragmentation of culture, and the impossibility of communicating across boundaries. As the authors demonstrate, the concept of structure enters the scholarly conversation by way of such diverse and sometimes unexpected vehicles as dialectical theory, relationship development, deconstruction, relational communication, and narrative theory.
RICHARD L. CONVILLE is Professor of Speech Communication at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of many scholarly articles and the book Relational Transitions (Praeger, 1991).