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Toward Democratic and Compassionate Conversations

A Socialist View of Interpersonal Communication:

How to Express Solidarity in a Face-to-Face Conversation

Norman Markel

Citing Marx’s socioeconomic base/social superstructure metaphor, the author claims that face-to-face conversation is a social superstructure that reproduces and reinforces a socioeconomic base. Specifically, face-to-face conversation that expresses hierarchy and lack of solidarity mirrors capitalist relations of production and contributes to an unconscious acceptance of the idea that autocratic and alienated interpersonal relationships are human nature.

This book describes the research establishing address, self-disclosure, seating, eye contact and touch as the most significant behaviors communicating hierarchy and solidarity. The author suggests that being conscious of the meaning of these five behaviors, we are free to choose an alternate face-to-face conversation style—low hierarchy and high solidarity—that provides a foundation for democratic and compassionate interpersonal communication.

This book can be viewed for free.