Co-constructing uniqueness: An interpersonal process promoting dialogue

John Stewart, Jody Koenig Kellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In this essay, we trace the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of dialogic interpersonal communication that facilitate the link between quality of communication and quality of life, and we highlight empirical research in interpersonal and family communication that draws inspiration from and/or reflects this approach. We re-introduce uniqueness as an important focus for interpersonal communication and emphasize the co-construction of uniqueness as a rare but decisive practice for enhancing interpersonal engagement. We begin by describing how we use the term “dialogue” and then conceptualize the co-construction of uniqueness as one of its most fundamental processes. We discuss the moral and ethical implications of making such claims and acknowledge the concept’s functional ambivalence. We then review contemporary research that exemplifies, draws inspiration from, and/or begins to approximate the process of collaboratively contacting each other as unique persons in dialogic moments that matter and present guidelines for practicing and studying the process of co-constructing uniqueness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalAtlantic Journal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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