Deconstructing contemporary myths: Communications and Mediations
Sociologia V (Teoria Sociologica) Universidad Complutense de Madrid Madrid, Spain
Departing from the two classical paradigms on communication, communication as transmission of information or as ritual recreation of a community (Carey, 1989), this paper explores some of the new challenges posit by the contemporary, defined in the crossroads of informationalism and globalization. The aim is to analyse some of the causes of resistance to think theoretically on communication (Wolton, 1999) and their links with the success of technological discourses, trapped once more in the tension between the technological sublime and the nostalgia for what seems to be lost. In short, the technical aspects and consequences of these new forms of communications are shaping the problematic, as it happened with the media some decades ago, making invisible or at least leaving unattended once more the theoretical reflection on communication itself.
The stakes for a theoretical account of communication are built on the basis of:
- A critical analysis of the unpredicted consequences of the classical distinction among face-to-face interactions, mediated interactions and media quasi-interaction (Thompson, 1998) in terms of the consideration of the mediated character of communication itself, as we have learned from Pragmatism to Symbolic Interactionism.
- A review of some modern pre-notions in our understanding of communicative practices, specifically its representationalism, its humanism and its embeddednes with the rhetoric of exchange (Chang, 1996), in contrast with the contemporary notions of articulation, artefactualism, translation, etc.
Thinking of communication as mediations, connections (Lash, 2005) impels us to revisit the inherited conceptual framework, to analyse what is really new and what is its theoretical scope. The notions of ?diffusion? and ?the diffuse?, suggesting some links between the spread of NTICs and inhabiting spaces and processes of objectification and subjectification (Simmel, 1986), this is, focusing on the -space instead of just limiting our analysis to the dimensions and dynamics of the cyber-, will be used as an example.