Good to Talk?

Living and Working in a Communication Culture

by Deborah Cameron

It's good to talk is one of the great clich[ac]es of our time. The benefits of talk to individuals, families and organizations are proclaimed by pop psychologists, television talk show hosts, and management gurus. The importance of talk is talked about endlessly.

`Good to Talk? is an attempt to look critically at what lies behind this upsurge of concern about talk in our workplaces, classrooms and private lives, and it places these developments in historical context and relates their forms to the broader economic and social changes associated with globalization.

The book also poses questions about the social and political implications of talking about talking. Is `communication' the key to solving the problems of modern life? Are the lessons in talking that are offered to us now the ones we most urgently need to learn? Is it time to challenge the prevailing belief about what makes it good to talk?


  • SAGE Publications; March 2000
  • ISBN: 9781412931557
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Good to Talk?
  • Author: Deborah Cameron
  • Imprint: SAGE Publications Ltd

In The Press

`This is one of those books - in my view the best kind of academic work - which takes a very specific phenomenon, and shows it to be the key issues of much larger significance.... I found this book entertaining, moving, inspiring, infomative, and intellectually stimulating. It jas altered my ideas about applied linguistics, and about what happens in my daily life' - Applied Linguistics

`Good to Talk demonstrates powerfully why it is increasingly not so good to talk. Deborah Cameron details how talk is increasingly "stylized", codified, standardized, and the subject of surveillance. Just as Michel Foucault demonstrated in the case of sex in the Victorian era, Cameron shows that there is entirely too much talk about talk' - George Ritzer, University of Maryland

`This is what an academic book should be: cool, well informed, and entertaining; a thought-provoking and dismaying study of how our everyday sense of talk as a social pleasure is now under threat from the ideology of talk as therapeutic and occupational duty' - Simon Frith, University of Stirling

'This wonderful work asks why so much contemporary energy is devoted to teaching people how to communicate properly - as if talking to one another were a technical accomplishment rather than an essential feature of human sociality. Cameron is an astute communication theorist (deceptively so, for she commits the sin of being readable) and when she writes about all-centre training it is hard not to weep'
Stephen Coleman
University of Leeds