9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN18 Sociology of Communications and Media Research

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 National media and Sef-Observations I Building AA, AA.324

Communicative acts: analysis of gender relationships today. A theoretical concept to analyse the impact of the media on European ways of life

The analysis of the impact of the media today is more focused on user interactions and content media they create (Livingstone & Lievrouw 2006). The impact of social networks and interaction in this public sphere are crucial in order to understand our society. A concept is required to carry out this analysis more in depth and to better understand what kind of interactions promote equality and freedom (European values) and what kind promote violence through the media.
Communicative acts respond to this theoretical need. There are significant authors in this area, such as Habermas (1984), Austin (1955), and Searle (1969). The speech acts theory has proven to be a useful tool for the study of speakers' intentions and the effects of their utterances, however, links between these analyses and real-life situations of social inequality are yet to be established. Communicative action theory has provide us with a series of elements that help us define an ideal speech situation, but still fails to address certain aspects of the context of the interaction. The research presented here aims to deepen our knowledge of "communicative acts" (Soler 2004), including both verbal and non-verbal communication, while also covering dialogic and power relations in speech situations. This analysis has allowed us to gain a better understanding of the connection between communicative acts, on the one hand, and freedom, power and equality (or the lack thereof), on the other. Which communicative acts are more likely to be associated with situations of freedom and equality? Which are more usually linked to situations of domination and unfairness? Our research deals with the communicative context of interaction, which, amongst other things, allows us to tell a free speech act from one entailing some degree of psychological "pushing around." Non-verbal acts in communication were analysed as well, and so were the dialogic/power interactions inherent to societal contexts, in order to get as exhaustive a picture as possible of the situation surrounding interaction. Applying communicative acts to the analysis of the impact the media has on gender relationships promotes a better understanding of this impact on European ways of life.