In the first approach, scholars conceive of dialectical tensions as conditions, needs, or goals that pre-exist outside of and are independent of communication.
In this approach, communication is a response to contradiction in order to manage it.
For example, people often refer to their needs, wants, and goals in their talk.
However, reference to such internal states makes sense only when understood within a discourse of individualism in which persons are viewed as autonomous agents.
A given phenomenon is interdependent with other phenomena with which it is in play.
For example, one cannot study topic avoidance without attending at the same time to its interplay with disclosure.
Additional core dialectics that also emerged in this tradition include a dialectic of More recent dialectically informed research is noticeably less interested in this typological project as an end in itself and more interested in understanding localized, situation-specific processes of dialectical interplay.
For example, certainty and uncertainty can be regarded as a dialectical tension in that certainty is regarded as incompatible with uncertainty and vice versa.
Dialectical thinking can be traced historically in both eastern philosophy (e.g., Lao-tzu) and western philosophy (e.g., Heraclitus, Socrates, and Plato), but arguably gained prominence when articulated by Hegel and Marx in the 19th century.
When someone makes a statement such as “I want more time together but I also want time to myself,” fellow interlocutors understand this utterance only when embedded within a broader cultural discourse of community (“I want more time together”) in play with a cultural discourse of individualism (“I want time to myself”).
Thus, although the talk on its surface might refer to needs, wants, and goals, it is the underlying discourses of individualism and community that are invoked and which struggle with one another.