Communication ETDs

Publication Date

5-1-2016

Abstract

This study, using interviews and in situ group observations, explored the communication processes that facilitate the emergence of hope at a community based support program (CBSP). No literature within the communication field focuses on hope and there are no studies that explore the co-construction of hope through communication. Within the extensive studies of hope in other disciplines, the communication lens is absent. Within the literature of wellness, positive and supportive communication, narrative, and mutual aid groups, there are no studies that focus on emergent hope or the communication processes facilitating hope. Hope is widely accepted as critical to life and wellness. However, there is a gap in the existing literature across disciplines with no studies exploring the communication processes and social interactions that facilitate hope. In addition, no studies explored the communication processes in situ involved in the emergence of hope. Taking an appreciative approach, the data collection (24 interviews and 13 group recordings) and analysis focused on what was going right rather than critiquing or contrasting the program. The CBSP is a sacred story space where narratives and narrative fragments are shared, redeemed, and hope is germinated. The data revealed that communication processes, especially narrative, at the CBSP are central to the emergence of hope for participants. The findings of this study ground hope firmly as a communication narrative concept. Narrative construct is refined to incorporate a duality of narrative. The duality of narrative holds to the social constructionist concept of the co-construction of self narratives while simultaneously acknowledging the agency of the individual to choose what and in what ways the contributions of co-constructors are woven into the narrative of self and reality. The construct of hope is also refined by adding the concept of reclaiming the agency within the construct of the duality of narrative. Three major communication processes were identified through thematic analysis and connecting strategy analysis: reflexive moments, transitional messages, and story space. In addition, dynamic group interactions were identified as facilitative of hope including reflexive sharing and murmurations. Each of these findings are explicated with the identification of types of each provided. This study proposes a narrative synergism model to explicate the interplay among the communication processes that facilitate hope at the CBSP. The three communication processes at the CBSP, story space, murmurations, and transitional messages, work in a reciprocal interplay with each influencing the others. The narrative synergism created in this dynamic interplay facilitates reflexive moments which in turn facilitates the reclaiming of narrative agency and the resultant emergence of hope. These processes are all based in narrative and their interaction is a dynamic synergism, creating something greater than the sum of the parts--that is, hope.

Language

English

Keywords

Hope, Positive communication, support groups, mutual aid groups, wellness, Affirmative Approach, Coordinated Management of Meaning, Narrative, Narrative Agency, Narrative synergism model, Reflexive Moments, Murmurations, supportive communication

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Communication

Level of Degree

Doctoral

Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Woodall, W. Gill

Second Advisor

Littlejohn, Stephen

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ginossar, Tamar

Second Committee Member

Shields, Julie

Third Committee Member

Avila, Magdalena

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