Just relationships: A third way communication ethic

Douglas L. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay explores and expands themes presented initially in Just Relationships, Part One, Imagining Just Relationships: Perspectives. I begin by situating the idea of justice within the assertion that relationships are moral entities. As such, communication scholars, through a focus on mindful dialogue, have a unique opportunity to recognize relationships as moral (i.e., that which makes us human). From there I make the conceptual move that “just” relationships can only be achieved through love, not by trying to exact justice. Through love “a third way” emerges from classic human tensions, such as cognition-emotion and law-mercy, transforming relational perspectives. The final section of the essay focuses on advocacy as love in action, an extension of third way principles that depict advocacy in personal relationships as creating spaces where if good things can happen, they will. That is, love in action creates safe spaces where individuals find their own voices and their full humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-36
Number of pages15
JournalAtlantic Journal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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