1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Communicating in the Information Society

Abstract of the Chapter - A Brief Descriptive Glossary of Communication and Information (Aimed at Providing Clarification and Improving Mutual Understanding), by Antonio Pasquali

This glossary was put together in response to an increasing technological and linguistic Tower of Babel effect in the communications field. It offers an initial filtering of the terminology based on a re-examination of information and communication “basics”.

The first term, the notion of human relations, signifies a phenomenon that is ontologically impossible in the absence of the communicating act, and the quality of which is a reflection of the model of communication governing it. The chapter examines the following terms: deontologies, morals and ethics, which are reassigned their true meanings, underlining the inherence of “moral” and “communication”, and of “intersubjectivity” and “society”. Inform and communicate are concepts that can be derived by schematization from the group of relational categories in order to bring out the vertical, causative, desocializing and imperfect nature of the former, and the synthetic, reciprocal, socializing and perfect nature of the latter, demonstrating that “inform” should be conceived of from the perspective of “communicate”, and not the reverse. This thinking lays a foundation for the full legitimacy and precedence of communication rights, whose areas of application are described.

The chapter also discusses the aspect of these rights that provokes the most conflict today—the vicarious exercise of them—in order to demonstrate the need for new social contracts in this area. The term free flow of information, an essentially positive concept, though often improperly applied, needs to be recovered, because many current controversies reproduce old and unresolved diatribes regarding information in its other senses. The two antonymous terms access and participation are identifiable in communicational terms as “receiving” and “transmitting” of messages. These two notions, of great strategic importance, are often distorted, if not manipulated. Finally, the term information society is a triumphalist nickname used to legitimize the repudiation of better and more peaceful human relations that are expressed in a communication society. Considering the information society in its current phase, the chapter criticizes its evident anomy, the abuses of dominant positions that plague it, its addiction to espionage and its criminal economic record.

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