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Two Partners And Their Conversation In Regards To Being Gay

922 words - 4 pages

Cameron and Mitchell communicate in the same social context, but in different historical contexts. The term context is a “linguistic place-holder” that indicates a specific place, relationship, or event. These places, relationships, or events become the context for interactions and conversations. The context in which something is said or done shapes its meaning (Pierce, 26). The context of a place, relationship or event shapes the meaning of what is said or done and, at the same time, shapes the context or where the action takes place. This reflexive relationship between what occurs and where it occurs adds to the complexity of understanding contexts. In the case of Cameron and Mitchell, their contexts are shaped by their relationship as partners as well as the place where the conversation occurs, a public park filled with adults and young children.
The historical context of Cameron and Mitchell’s conversation takes on the attitudes and conditions that exist on a larger scale within the society. Cameron and Mitchell, a gay couple living together with their adopted daughter, Lily, are within the historical context of the 21st century, when the debate over gay rights is expanding and the attitude toward being gay is shifting in a positive direction. At the same time, however, homosexual couples are still faced with breaking stereotypes regarding certain attitudes and behaviors. Cameron is acting in a modern historical context, feeling as though views and beliefs about what it means to be gay should have evolved. He also references stereotypes about what it means to be a woman. Mitchell tries to give justification for those who understand Cameron as a female by identifying his partnership as a “new type of family” and explaining that the world doesn’t know how to view them yet. In contrast, Cameron’s understanding of the situation is that the societal views regarding identity should have already evolved to be comfortable seeing him as a gay man rather than simplifying his partnership to fit into hetero-normative roles.
The social context surrounding Cameron and Mitchell’s conversation can be understood through the social constructionist model of communication. The social constructionist model of communication is based on the idea that people live in multiple social worlds. Social worlds are created with boundaries that outline meaning for those within the world. Social worlds are shaped by interactions that create what is considered appropriate and inappropriate language and behavior. Examples of different social worlds include the way a teenager interacts with their friends versus how a teenager acts with their grandparents – each group involves a set of standards or expectations that are created and followed. Cameron and Mitchell belong to certain social worlds as well: how they...

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