Dr. Deborah Eicher-Catt

Research Interests: Main Page


Principal areas of study/research:

Philosophy & Theory of Communication (Communicology), Interpersonal, Family Communication, and Organizational.

Research Tradition:

My overall research goals are guided by my interest in advancing communication theory as a human science, better known in Europe as Communicology. My co-edited book, Communicology: The New Science of Embodied Discourse, 2010, testifies to this scholarly commitment. I believe the human science tradition best explicates the theories we live by, that is, the lived-body's relationship to the symbolic worlds in which we live. Consequently, in my study of communication, I include semiotics, phenomenology, rhetoric, ethnography, narrative, and feminism as research methodologies. My published research is, therefore, both eidetic (theoretical) and empirical (applied).

On the theoretical side, I have authored several publications that explicate the works of particular theorists: for example, Gregory Bateson, Charles S. Peirce, Edward Sapir, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Alfred Korzybski.

On the empirical side, my work takes an applied focus, especially in the area of family communication. Using the theories mentioned above, I investigate the communicative dilemmas of non-custodial mothers. My research in this area has resulted in a several book chapters, articles, and many presentations at local, national, and international conferences.

Regardless of the situation of study I pursue, I question the way we think about what communication is, how it functions rhetorically and semiotically, and why it produces or shapes our interpersonal experiences in complex and subtle ways.