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Koers

versão On-line ISSN 2304-8557
versão impressa ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.74 no.1-2 Pretoria  2009

 

COMMUNICATION

 

Communicative action: The Habermasian and Freirean dialogical approach to participatory communication for social change in a post-1994 South Africa

 

Kommunikatiewe aksie: Die dialogiese benadering tot deelnemende kommunikasie vir sosiale verandering volgens Habermas en Freire

 

 

H. Otto; L.M. Fourie

School of Communication Studies, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, Potchefstroom. E-mail: Hannelie.Otto@nwu.ac.za, Lynnette.Fourie@nwu.ac.za

 

 


ABSTRACT

Despite its almost four decade mainstay, the field of participatory communication for social change still experiences a definitional and pragmatic problem regarding what exactly participation is (cf. Jacobson & Storey, 2004; Chambers, 1994; Melkote & Steeves, 2001; Rogers, 1976; Lerner, 1964; Schramm, 1964; Servaes, 1995). What remains is a vastly under-theorised field of participatory communication for social change. This article examines the possibility of participatory communication approaching the Habermasian "ideal speech situation" in which people, as communicators, are seen as having a value in their own right and not simply regarded as a means to an end (cf. Habermas, 1984; 1987; 1989). Consistent with the Freirean "liberal pedagogy", the praxis of dialogical communication or intersubjective communication is seen as putting right the "participative" quality of participatory communication (cf. Freire, 1970). For both theorists, transformative action can only occur if reflective and collective learning occurs in linguistically constructed settings where the normative dimensions of truth (logos), rightfulness (ethos) and truthfulness (pathos) are raised and met in the developmental conversation. This is especially significant in a globalised world and fragmented, post-bourgeois public sphere where debate among developmental stakeholders is becoming more marginal, instrumentalist, and less public. Based on available analyses of development communication literature, this article proposes that the chosen dialogical approaches share a type of communicative behaviour (i.e. action theoretic), rather than representing a particular paradigm or school of thought. This could offer further definitional clarification of proper participatory communication for social change in a post-1994 South Africa.

Key concepts: communicative action; developing democracy; dialogue; Freire; Habermas; postapartheid South Africa; public sphere


OPSOMMING

Na bykans vier dekades is daar nog steeds nie eenstemmigheid in die deelnemende kommunikasieveld vir sosiale verandering oor presies wat deelname behels of hoe dit prakties toegepas behoort te word nie (cf. Jacobson & Storey, 2004; Chambers, 1994; Melkote & Steeves, 2001; Rogers, 1976; Lerner, 1964; Schramm, 1964 Servaes, 1995). Die gevolg is dat daar nog baie min geteoretiseer is binne die veld van deelnemende kommunikasie vir sosiale verandering. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die moontlikheid dat deelnemende kommunikasie in die vorm van Habermas se "ideale spraaksituasie" as uitgangspunte vir die definiëring van deelname gebruik kan word. In hierdie "ideale spraaksituasie" word persone as kommunikeerders waardevol geag en nie slegs as objekte beskou nie (cf. Habermas, 1984; 1987; 1989). Ooreenstemmend met Freire se liberale pedagogie van ontwikkelings-kommunikasie, word die praktyk van dialogiese kommunikasie of intersubjektiewe kommunikasie as die regstelling van die deelnemende karakter van deelnemende kommunikasie geag (cf. Freire, 1970). Vir albei teoretici kan transformatiewe aksie slegs in reflektiewe en kollektiewe linguistiese kontekste plaasvind. Hier moet die normatiewe dimensies van waarheid (logos), geregtigheid (ethos) en opregtheid/empatie (pathos) tydens die ontwikkelingsdiskoers gestel, getoets en eindelik aanvaar word. Veral in 'n geglobaliseerde wêreld en in 'n gefragmenteerde, post-bourgeoisie publieke sfeer waar debat tussen ontwikkelingsrolspelers toenemend gemarginaliseerd en instrumenteel word, asook progressief minder toeganklik en deelnemend vir die samelewing is, is geleenthede vir toe-ganklike en onbelemmerde debat des te meer nodig. Gebaseer op die beskikbare analises van die ontwikkelingskommunikasie-literatuur, stel hierdie artikel voor dat die gekose dialogiese benaderings dieselfde kommunikasiegedrag veronderstel - dit wil sê wat aksie-teoreties van aard is eerder as wat dit 'n spesifieke paradigma of denkskool verteenwoordig. Hiervolgens kan die definisie van deelnemende ontwikkelingskommunikasie vir doeltreffende sosiale verandering in 'n post-1994 Suid Afrika verfyn word.

Kernbegrippe: dialoog; Freire, Habermas; kommunikatiewe aksie; ontwikkelende demokrasie; postapartheid Suid-Afrika; publieke sfeer


 

 

Full text available only in PDF format.

 

 

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