By Donald P. Cushman

The matter of conversation in interpersonal relationships is a valuable subject matter in our age.

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United States rapprochement with China and détente with the Soviet Union are indications of that change. The United States' policy of non-alignment in Southeast Asia and the middle East offers further evidence of a growing tolerance for cultural pluralism. Similarly, within this country, Americans have witnessed an increased tolerance for group and individual diversity. The Civil Rights movement of the 1960's produced two effects relevant to our claim. The first was that it demonstrated to Americans the inhumanity of racial intolerance.

First, from a social rules perspective comes the proposition that human communication in establishing, maintaining, and terminating interpersonal relationships is guided and governed by socially established rules. The argument here is simply that such interpersonal relationships as those existing between friends, lovers, and mates are characteristic of human beings. Such interpersonal relationships are initiated, maintained, and terminated in and through human communication. Communication in such situations requires that the parties involved share a common code and interactional system.

67:8999, 1957. Miller, G. The Current Status of Theory and Research in Interpersonal Communication. Human Communication Research. 4, (2):164179, 1978. Searle, J. R. Speech Acts. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970. Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical Investigations. M. Ascombe, Oxford: Basil Blackwell Mott, 1953. Young, C. Politics of Cultural Pluralism. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1976. Page 19 2 Interpersonal Communication and Individual Self-Concepts From the symbolic interaction posture arose the idea that people develop and support their self-conceptions through interaction with others.

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