Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Human Communication Research 49 (2023), pp. 113–115. doi:10.1093/hcr/hqad016


Copyright © 2023 Jordan Soliz and Srividya Ramasubramanian. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Communication Association. Used by permission.


This essay is an introduction to the special issue on “Difficult Conversations Concerning Identity and Difference.” The essay begins with our argument that inquiries into difficult conversations are important as these interactions are key to addressing social inequities, creating and/or maintaining community and relational solidarity, amplifying voices of marginalized populations and/or diverse experiences, and enacting social change. Following this, we introduce the articles in the special issue highlighting the theoretical frameworks and methodological pluralism across the various relational and social contexts represented in the research (e.g., health care, higher education, community organizations, personal relationships). To complement the implications discussed by the authors in the special issue articles, we conclude the essay with additional questions that scholars and practitioners should consider as we move forward in research, teaching, and translational work on difficult conversations.