Interconnectivity and metacommunication

The study of interpersonal communication touches on a range of different disciplines, each with its own focus. This has given rise to an apparent fragmentation in the literature which is manifested in the categorisation of the various components of a communicative act, and even the subdivision of the categories established. This can be seen in the study of metacommunication, which although considered an essential component of human interaction has been subdivided into a myriad of constituent parts. Whilst the separation of various components permits detailed focus on different facets of interpersonal interaction, there is a risk that the complementarity of the various facets may be underestimated or even lost. To autonomise each aspect of a communicative act may not be conducive to a comprehensive understanding of what happens in an interaction since all elements, verbal, non-verbal and contextual, to name but a few, need to be considered and interpreted simultaneously. Approaches to the study of metacommunication, whilst being multidimensional, appear to have led to fragmentation. It is our contention that understanding what constitutes a complete communicative interaction involves the consideration of these various aspects at the same time.

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