Global Comm. section 2 (1 of 3)


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  • Faculty of design My contacts I will leave here my slides Please contact me for anything you could need I am not used to giving lectures in English I apologize Please forgive me for… I am used to giving rather interactive lectures. I will try to do the same here, but I’m not sure I will be able to, in English. So please stop me Put your questions And try to answer my questions
  • Today: a very fundamental topic Why? Because I think there is something we normally take for granted when… Obvious vs. verified Phenomenology: let’s try to question the obvious Let’s do the effort of going beyond the obvious and finding the evidence (if the case) of something else.
  • So, let’s begin with the obvious (conventional view) Examples: A telephone call A conversation drinking a cup of tea The TV news What do they have in common? How could we describe a situation of communication? Sender (enunciator, addresser): the social subject sending a message Receiver (enunciatee, addressee): the social subject receiving the message A message shifting (moving, passing) from the S to the R To pass on = to transfer (NO to transmit!)
  • Dowloaded from Internet Very standard definition (notice: the receiver is considered the least important, he could barely be an intended one)
  • Is this a communicating situation? Are there here a S, a M and a R?
  • Who is the sender here? No time to question this point today. Good question for a wide discussion, if you want to. (see Eco, Lector in fabula).
  • And here? (empty room, no words, no images) So, (apparently) there is no communication where there are no S, no M and no R.
  • This idea (conventional view) of communication has been put into a model by Roman Jakobson (russian linguist). He sketched a diagram of communication He drew the attention onto three new factors contributing to set a communication Context cannot be overlooked (ignored, neglected)
  • Please, forget Jakobson’s diagram I don’t claim it is wrong or useless I maintain (state, contend, affirm) it lead us to a simplified (conventional) view of communication that doesn’t allow us to grasp what is actually at stake in the processes of communication.
  • I will call the conventional view of communication the “hydraulic model” (according to an Umberto Eco’s book). It gives the idea of something passing on from one container to another container
  • It gives the idea of two (or more) tanks (containers) linked by a channel through which information (messages) flows, as it happens in a hydraulic network.
  • The main feature of the hydraulic model is the central position that the message occupies in its account of communication. It assumes that, should sender and receiver disappear, the message would remain unchanged. Meaningful in itself. Es.: if I write home on the blackboard and we all go out of the room
  • To show you another main feature of the conventional view Draw your attention on the verbs used in many conventional descriptions of communication Here another slide downloaded from Internet.
  • In Jakobson’s version of the hydr. Mod. There is the idea of a transfert of a stand-alone message from a sender to a receiver. Many scholars except that the conventional view is too simple, since it doesn’t consider that communication takes place in an interaction, where the feedback of the receiver is as much important as the message.
  • Paul Watzlawick and the Palo Alto school (Mental Research Institute, Don Jackson): a communication set is unintelligible (opaque) if the whole setting of the interaction is not considered. Every message embodies expectations of the feedback it will cause (induce, rouse), and any feedback aims at influencing the next message. Let’s go to drink a coffee to Mariano and to the boy/girl you would like to date. Sharing vs. transfer The idea is good, it goes in the opportune direction. But it still has two weak points: it still deals with messages assumed as subsistent entities passing on from one subject to the other. It cannot explain the one-way communication, such it happens often in the media. (psychologists…)
  • To summarize highlight
  • Let’s recover for a while Jakobson’s diagram. As Jakobson himself and the following semiotics point out, there is no message outside a context. The context of a message is often called its “content”, to emphasize that without a context there can be no content. “ No context, no content”
  • For instance; BURRO The word burro doesn’t possess any meaning in itself. Its meaning rises from the encounter of the sound with a certain culture (a certain language), which is the context. The context sets the meaning This is an easy example, but we can experience in everyday life how far the context aids in setting the meaning. A joke is not the same when the setting changes (the one who tells it, those who listen to, the environment, etc.) Clothes’ meaning changes a lot according to the context (Usually I cannot go to a wedding in sportswear – not because of the sportswear, but because of the wedding!). And so on.
  • So, let’s state:… But now I have to specify a main point of this lecture: A context is always A context, never THE context. There might always be another context, a different one. The context is always related to the “point of view” of the observer. a) Let’s think at the spatial perception. b) The same happens with every kind of experience. If I say I’m hungry, the meaning of the word “hungry” will be different from my point of view and from yours (not to say from the point of view of a Haitian kid). c) Common experiences of misunderstanding in everyday life… How can it happen? We use the same code. Well-known. Same meanings. (Actually a different personal context).
  • In front of such a situation, what is the experience of an adult and the one of a 2 years old child? Fear, pain, caution, going away, escape vs. Curiosity, wonder, exploration, going closer, approaching (Or if I scream “fire!”)
  • How is the context of a specific observer set up? Each and everybody have… Mainly two features: Current body of experience Heritage of past experiences (= biography) The crossing of these two features yields the meaning of the message s/he is receiving now.
  • To summarize. This means: there exist no meaning of a message before its reception by a receiver. This is very important for everybody who is going to work in the communication field.
  • Let’s switch to… I will just state a principle of communication. (which is shared by many scholars in the theory of knowledge). We can never experience exactly the same the other is experiencing. We can guess what he’s seeing, we can gather it from his eyes, from his gaze, supposing or picturing in our mind what he is seeing or thinking or feeling. We can never see (or think or feel) exactly the same. “ Do you know what I mean?” (NOT: Do you mean what I mean?) If I say “I hate mornings” you can maybe understand what I mean, perhaps you too hate mornings, but I am sure that if we discuss a little bit what do we mean by hating mornings we soon realize that we mean something different. This is a tenet in psychology as well as in the phenomenological sociology.
  • In front of such a situation, what is the experience of an adult and the one of a 2 years old child? Fear, pain, caution, going away, escape vs. Curiosity, wonder, exploration, going closer, approaching (Or if I scream “fire!”)
  • I gave the main reasons to give up the hydraulic model of communication despite common sense. But now I have to put forward an alternative model of communication. I will call it the “phenomenological-inferential” model.
  • Global Comm. section 2 (1 of 3)

    1. 1. <ul><li>Communication in the Era of Globalization </li></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>Paolo Volonté </li></ul><ul><li>Sociologia dei processi culturali </li></ul><ul><li>Politecnico di Milano </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Communication in the Era of Globalization </li></ul>Today: What Does it Mean To Communicate?
    4. 4. What does it mean to communicate?
    5. 5. The exchange of ideas, information, etc. between two or more persons. In an act of communication there is usually at least a speaker or sender , a message which is transmitted, and a person or persons for whom this message is intended (the receiver ). Communication
    6. 11. Jakobson’s diagram
    7. 12. My suggestion
    8. 13. The “hydraulic model” of communication
    9. 15. The hydraulic model of communication
    10. 16. The hydraulic model of communication
    11. 17. The process that occurs when ideas, information and feelings are conveyed between individuals or groups of individuals for deliberate purposes. (Buguley 1994) Communication
    12. 18. A process of transmitting and receiving verbal or non-verbal messages that produces a response (Murphy and Hildebrandt 1991) Communication
    13. 19. The hydraulic model of communication (Roman Jakobson)
    14. 20. The hydraulic model of communication (Paul Watzlawick)
    15. 21. The two main assumptions of the hydraulic model <ul><li>A “message” exists in itself as something independent from an experiencing subject, it holds its own meaning intrinsically, its “true meaning”. </li></ul><ul><li>Messages – thanks to this characteristic – can be “passed on” from somebody to someone else, or “shared” among two or more subjects. </li></ul>
    16. 22. sender ------  receiver message ------  code channel context Criticism of the first assumption
    17. 23. BURRO
    18. 24. Only getting into a specific context and referring to a specific context any message acquires the faculty of communicating. There is no “objective” context. A context is always from the point of view of an observer. Criticism of the first assumption
    19. 26. Only getting into a specific context and referring to a specific context any message acquires the faculty of communicating. Criticism of the first assumption <ul><li>What is the experience context of a specific observer? </li></ul><ul><li>The current experience he is doing here and now from his own point of view; </li></ul><ul><li>His/her body of memories, imagination, dreams; </li></ul><ul><li>The whole heritage of experiences he/she has “embodied” in the course of time; He/she isn’t aware any more of them, but they keep on affecting his/her behaviour and choices; </li></ul><ul><li>Values, tastes. </li></ul>
    20. 27. Only getting into a specific context and referring to a specific context any message acquires the faculty of communicating. Criticism of the first assumption The “content” of a message, the “meaning” of a word or an image, the “sense” of an everyday life situation rise only when the message, the word, the situation get as new features into the experience horizon of somebody.
    21. 28. Principle : No kind of mental content can “pass on”, nor can “be shared” by two different minds, since any experience of the mind of the other can be gained only through the mediation of events occurring in the external field of perception: for instance, alterations occurring on the perceived body of the Other. Criticism of the second assumption
    22. 30. The “hydraulic model” of communication