Negotiated morality theory: How family communication shapes our values

Vincent R. Waldron, Douglas L. Kelley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Negotiated morality theory (NMT) originated within the communication discipline, yet it also represents an expression of the “dialogic” strain of moral theorizing (e.g., Levinas, 1981). In contrast to approaches that cast morality in terms of virtuous qualities of individuals, dialogic perspectives emphasize communication processes. They view relationship ethics as shaped by one’s interpretations of the values espoused by such sources as family, peer groups, faith community, and culture (Haste and Abrahams, 2008; Tappan, 2006), and focus on the social interactions that help relationship partners negotiate and prioritize their personal and collective values. NMT (Waldron and Kelley, 2008) offers a theoretical framework for understanding how personal relationships serve as important sites of these interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEngaging Theories in Family Communication
Subtitle of host publicationMultiple Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781351790680
ISBN (Print)9781138700932
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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