Communication and the Multicultural Society Joshua M. Phelps PSY2500
Outline • 2 Lectures • English Language • Lecture 1 • Intro to Communication • Demonstration of Communication Situation • Discussion of Communication Situation • Blakar’s Communication Theory • Lecture 2 • Multiculture & Communication • Class Exercise: Public Communication
What is Communication? • Everyday Understandings • Common and universal activity for all human beings • Basic precondition for all social activity • Individual is embedded in different communication situations and participates in communicative acts • Complex interaction • ’Restricted’ to Psychology and Language
Defining Communication • All inclusive: Behaviour and Flow • Internet Definitions www.dictionary.com • The act or process of communicating • the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs (Flow) • The exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, signals, writing, or behavior (Behaviour and Flow) • the expression to another of information or thoughts through speech, writing, or gestures • Hogg & Vaughan (2005) Social Psychology: transfer of meaningful information from one person to another
Blakar’s (1984) Definition • Communication: An intentional act to make something known to someone else • Kommunikasjon: En intendert handling med sikte på å gjøre noe felles med - eller kjent for - bestemte andre • Emphasizes behavioural (action) and directional component of communication • Grounded mainly in face-to-face interaction • Based on ’pragmatic’ aspects of communication
Communication Situation • Demonstrate Communication in Face-to-Face Interaction • Need 4 Volunteers • Leave the Room for a few minutes while I set up…
The Communication Conflict Situation (CCS) • A ’City’ Map • Participant A must direct Participant B to a particular destination • 2 Routes—Simple and Complex
Audience Tasks • How do P’s establish a ”shared reality”—codes, contracts, etc. • How do they make attributions for successful or unsuccessful communication? • How P’s try to improve communication? • Write down examples of language used and interaction.
Debriefing • Explanation • Thoughts on participation? • Thanks!!! • Applause
The Communication Conflict Situation (CCS) • The ’City’ Map(s) • Participant A must direct Participant B to a particular destination • 2 Routes—Simple and Complex • Experimental Manipulation of Complex Route
Audience Tasks – Round 2 • How do P’s establish a ”shared reality”—codes, contracts, etc. • How do they make attributions for unsuccessful communication? • How P’s try to improve communication and re-establish intersubjectivity? • Write down examples of language used and interaction.
The Communication Conflict Situation (CCS) • Experiment developed by Blakar in the 1970’s • Constructed and controlled situation to examine when an essential aspect of communication is not fulfilled • Simple but demanding • To see what happens when a basic precondition for ’successful communication’ is not met • Everyday misunderstandings
3 Goals of CCS • Examine missing precondition of same ’here and now’ • Examine attributions P’s made to difficulties • Examine P’s attempts to improve communication effectiveness and re-establish intersubjectivity
Analysis of CCS • Simple Route • Participants’ Perspective • Experimenter/Audience Perspective • Complex Route • Participants’ Perspective • Experimenter/Audience Perspective
Class Discussion • Questions and Thoughts • Audience? • Participants?
Blakar Communication Theory • Addressing questions about good or normal communication • Defining communication • Intentionality • Identifying and understanding preconditions for successful communication • Applying theory to social contexts: family, therapy, etc. • Using abnormal to understand normal • Addressing conceptual, theoretical, and empirical confusion in communication research in social sciences • Social-psychological perspective
Blakar Communication Theory • Fundamental Question: What are the prerequisites for (successful) communication? Under what conditions will somebody succeed (to a reasonable degree) in making something known to someone else? • 3 Main aspects • Preconditions for successful communication • Variables affecting • Process of Communication • Interplay of individual, social, and situational preconditions
The Preconditions • Most Basic Establishment of a shared social reality • Individual Preconditions • Relational Preconditions • Technical Preconditions • Situational Preconditions • Interaction between different preconditions
Individual Preconditions • Will Motivational Component • Can Ability Component • Capacity to decenter and take perspective of the other • Individual’s self-esteem or self-confidence
Attunement to the Attunement of the Other • Decentration and Perspective-Taking • Decentration • Sender • Receiver • Egocentrism • Important during problems of communication process to re-establish intersubjectivity
Relational Preconditions • Relations between ‘actors’ in communicative act • Confidence in the other, trust/distrust, seriousness • Understanding that the other has different perspective/position • Interaction with individual preconditions
Technical and Situational Preconditions • Technical • Access to a common code • Situational • Same contractual dimensions of here & now
Variables affecting • Variables that affect and determine process of communication • Background Variables • Age, Sex, Class, Education, Ethnicity • Personality Variables • Level of anxiety, self-esteem • Also affects the ‘Can’
Process of Communication • Contracts adopted • What kind? • Adequacy • Adherence, violation, modification • Who proposes contracts? • Control & Power • Free vs. Bound Information • Control distribution and exertion • Attribution patterns of difficulties • Emotional climate
Complexity within the Preconditions and Framework • Situational Variation • Interplay between preconditions • Background Variables
General Theoretical Statements on Communication • Language is most common and important medium for communication • Most essential characteristic is that something is being made known to another (Rommetveit, Blakar) • Requires empathy and perspective taking in some kind of shared social reality • Only by the communicants taking the perspective of the other(s) into account, so that they (sender and reciever(s) may establish commonality, is communication rendered possible (Blakar, 1984) • Complex act that requires fulfillment of several preconditions
Some Issues • Communication vs. Interaction • Unintentional/unconscious aspects of communication? • Non-verbal vs. verbal communication • Too much of a situational, face-to-face definition? Too narrow? • Other aspects of intentionally making something known • E.g. media
Expansion of Communication • Rommetveit/Blakar model connected to face-to-face interaction • How can we study communication that isn’t face-to-face from a social-psychological point of view? • Media communication? • Next week: Communication in a multicultural context
Class Discussion • Questions and Thoughts • What is successful or good communication? • Everyday examples • What about other theories for communication? • Communication vs. Interaction?
Last Word... • Please keep quiet about the Communication Conflict Situation
Communication, Language, and the Multicultural Society Joshua M. Phelps November 13, 2006
Outline • Class Exercise • Reminder about Language, Communication, and Ideology • The Norwegian Multicultural Context • Communication, Social Relations, and Ideology in a Multicultural Society
Exercise • 12 minutes • Word Association
Language (Blakar, 1979; 2006) • An important bridge between the society and the individual • Culturally-mediated tool inherited from generation to generation • Instrument that we use to understand and grasp reality • Dyanmic and Flexible • Open and Generative System • Language is NOT neutral, objective, or ”fixed” • Sender’s choice of expression affects the receiver’s understanding (Blakar, 1979)
Language (Blakar, 1979; 2006) • Language is POWER • All use of language implies structuring and influencing of another’s experience • ”Everyday Power” • Language as a system reflects socio-political power structure in a given society • Language is most common and important medium for communication
Language, Communication, Ideology • Investigating communication requires looking at the positions used in establishment of social reality…mainly through language (Rommetveit, 1992) • Influenced by context: culture, historical moment, positioning of actors in situation, codes for correctness, etc. • Certain words & expressions are ”reflections” of ideologies • Linked with Blakar’s understanding of Language as mirroring and expressing existing power relations • We use Ideology as a critical concept for understanding how socially-shared, taken-for-granted knowledge in society (by individuals) upholds or legitimizes power relations • Changes in language use over time should reflect societal and ideological developments • Media are important (most important?) platforms in which individuals negotiate meaning (i.e.attitudes, beliefs, etc.) • Becoming increasingly as important as face-to-face interaction • Media language and change in media language can reflect ideology(ies)
What is ”Multiculture”? • Descriptive: Word “reflecting reality” of living in a society with cultural diversity • Analytical/Ideological/Prescriptive: specific way of dealing with this cultural diversity or pluralism • Liberal Ideology stressing equality, identity recognition, integration, celebration of cultural traditions/diversity • Majority/Minority Relations & Multiculturalism
The Norwegian Multicultural Context • Steady increase in immigration from 1951 – present (www.ssb.no) • Largest Groups: Pakistanis, Swedes, Iraqis, Danes, Vietnamese • Increased migration of visible minorities since the 1970s • Pakistanis, Iraqis, Vietnamese, Somalis, Turks • Always been multicultural?
Communication in the Multicultural Society • What words and expressions do we use to describe and understand the multicultural context? • How might these words and expressions affect & reflect majority/minorities: social and power relations, group boundaries, identities, etc. • Ideology(ies) • How might one have ’successful’ communication in a multicultural context? • Possibilities for perspective-taking? • Fulfilling of preconditions?
Examining Multicultural Communication & Ideology • Language in public discourse • New words and changes in frequencies of words dealing with multicultural issues • Atekst searches • Aftenposten 1984-2005 • Longitudinal Perspective • Messages and Word Association
Word Association Discussion • Semantic Network of.. • Flerkulturelt Samfunn • Flerkulturelle
”Fest i Oslo” Mela Festivalen • Discussion in pairs • General discussion of article • Look at use of the words ”multikultur*” or ”flerkultur*” • From this article, how would you describe a multicultural festival or multicultural society?
”Fest i Oslo” Mela Festivalen • ”I dag åpner Mela, en multikulturell festival…” • Descriptive • What is a multicultural festival? • ”en av verdens største multikulturelle festivaler” • Descriptive • Arguing against FrP
”Fest i Oslo” Mela Festivalen • ”Den som tar turen til Rådhusplassen i helga, vil derimot få se hvilket glede den flerkulturelle virkeligheten kan representere.” • From reading this article, what joys are on show at the multicultural Mela Festival? • Showcase of Art & Culture
”Fest i Oslo” Mela Festivalen • ”Opprinnelig var Mela et norsk-pakistansk arrangement, men i år tar festivalen mål av seg til å la så godt som alle norske minoriteter få komme til uttrykk” My italics
Dervisj-dans Tyrkia Flerkulturelt band med kvinner fra: Zimbabwe, Somalia, Tanzania, Algerie, Russland, Nigeria, og Norge Vietnamesisk folkemusikk Flamenco og sufi-musikk fra Sørasia Internasjonal mat fra 35 boder Norsk-vietnamesiske klesdesigneren 300 internasjonale kunstere innen musikk, sang, dans, teater, kunsthåndverk ”Fest i Oslo” Mela Festivalen
”Fest i Oslo” Mela Festivalen • Associations of ”multicultural” after reading this article? • Cultural markers: music, dance, art, food • Where is the majority?
Multicultural Message Structure • ”I et stadig mer flerkulturelt samfunn er det viktig å vite hvor man kommer fra, og kjenne sin historie.” • Class Interpretations?