Voice, listening, and telling stories:the communicative construction of rhetorical citizenship in small groups Carolyne Lee School of Culture & Communication, Melbourne University, Australia Judy Burnside-Lawry School of Media & Communication RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia 2013 - Research Fellow @ European University Institute, Italy
Presentation • Introduction (3 mins) • Theoretical framework (7 mins) • Case study (9 mins) • Implications of findings to study of rhetorical citizenship (4 mins) • Questions and Feedback (7 mins) = 30
Introduction • View rhetorical citizenship through new theoretical lens comprising: • Voice • Narrative • Listening • Small group • basic unit of communication • facilitates ‘detailed study of human communication exchange’ Poole &Hollingshead:359 • Voice Narrative Listening
Theoretical Framework • Rhetorical Citizenship process of rhetorically constructing & articulating one’s position regarding anissue or belief in that social context. • Feedback Loop • Deliberation ‘holding together all reasons and considerations relevant to the issue—not only those of one’s own… but also others that may speak against it, and that one has not yet considered’ Koch & Villadsen, 2012: Location 122 articulate one’s position = mutual sensemaking listen take into account respond appropriately
Theoretical Framework • Listening • receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages’ ILA, 1996: 4 • affective, cognitive & behavioural (verbal, nonverbal, interactive) dimensions Coakley, Halone & Wolvin, 1996 • Participatory communication model • assess the quality of listening & voice in communicative contexts Jacobson, 2007
Theoretical Framework • Narrative • homo sapiens renamed ‘homo narrans’ Fisher,1987 • stories are ‘symbolic interpretations of aspects of the world occurring in time, and shaped by history, culture and character’ Fisher 1987.xi • ‘value –laden warrants for believing or acting in certain ways’ Fisher, 1987, p.xi • story-telling was the means of collective memory before writing Allen, 2002: 2
Theoretical Framework • form intrinsic to human thinking • organisations as collective storytelling systems... in which the performance of stories is a key part of members’ sense making Boje, 1991 • ‘society cannot work…unless there is …..shared meaning’ Bohm, 1996, cited in Allan 2000: 230 • ‘sensemaking is a collective process’ Weick, cited in Allan 2002
Theoretical Framework • Voice • ‘society’s ills are due to a lack of shared meaning’ Bohm, 1996, cited in Allan 2000: 230 • a decline in engagement in the democratic process, especially among younger citizens’ Couldry, Livingstone and Markham, 2007:4 • aim for Aristotle’s “phronesis”—that is, practical wisdom. • opportunities for the expression of opinion and voice • respectful listening to each other’s rhetorical constructions of their citizenship, shared sense-making, openness and reflexivity. • voice’ as process, as ‘giving an account of oneself and what affects one’s life...’ (Couldry 2010, p.vi). • to have one’s voice heard and taken into account is seriously diminished ‘ • governed in ways that deny the value of voice and insist instead on the primary of market functioning. Couldry, 2010: xi
Theoretical framework • Voice • is people’s practice of giving an account, implicitly or explicitly, of themselves as members of the society within which they act. • synonymous with rhetorical citizenship, • involves ‘telling a story, providing a narrative’ Couldry, 2010: 7
Methodology • involves systematic collection of anecdotes using anthropological observation • Boje’s distinction between narrative and ‘ante-narrative’ analysis • Snowden’s (2001)ethnographic analysis—get people to talk, record it, analyse it. • 3 participants • 3 topics • university courses going online • national identity • refugees
Topic 1- online university courses • R: I would like to talk about university courses going online. … Does everyone know what MOOCs are? • G: “I’m undecided on the fees versus free; like, I know it’s open access and worldwide andglobal but, like, I’m pretty neutral, I don’t really know where I stand because I see bothsides.” (G:2) • D: Before we were saying how people might be at work and need to have a degree... I could tell you a thing from personal experience: my mother at 50 years, decided to complete her degree in foreign languages while teaching, she’s a primary school teacher, and while working she went to university and got her degree. It was ... as a person who works, I think it’s even better to have someone, a teacher, who guides you because you don’t have any experience, you’re not used to studying, and you always need someone who guides you...” (D:4)
G: “, ... well I’m not as old as your mum but ... but one of the reason I chose [University of] Melbourne isbecause it’s all on campus and you have to attend classes and everything; … and I tried to juggle part time masters study with fulltime work and it didn’t work, and for that reason I’ve decided … to quit full time work so I have the ability to come to uni and interact … because otherwise I could get my piece of paper on line but it would just be apiece of paper and nothing else.” • G: well I got really irked… [when someone used the term] ‘illegal asylum seekers’, and I was … ‘Well that’sjust a really stupid take’... but... I don’t actually know too much about the situation, … I’ve just started working at Amnesty International. ...we’re a big country,we’ve got lots of land, why can’t we share? That’s just my take. None of this politicalrubbish ... no one comes here … because they think, ‘Oh I’m going cometo Australia and see how it is...’; they… can’t leave [legally], oftenit’s a life and death situation, … it’s their one chance of survival, and that’s my take on it.”
G: ... my dad was one of the first Indians to come, and at that time all the Indians were the outcasts and now they’ve assimilated, then maybe the Vietnamese... If we actually look back, then it was like the Sudanese, Africans, and they are now assimilating and now it’s all the people who are coming as asylum seekers coming from [Afghanistan]... and we need to make more of an effort to assimilate them or to educate them...
Implications for process of rhetorical citizenship Feedback Loop narrative formulate one’s opinion articulate one’s position narrative narrative respond appropriately Listen take into account narrative an ongoing process of reflection, exchanging narratives, back and forth Couldry,2010:8
Implications for process of rhetorical citizenship • stories are the main way humans share meanings • assist in mitigating the noted present lack of voice in society • conditions that would enhance the expression of voice + • construction of shared meanings among citizens
Thank you for listening • Questions? Feedback?