Post-Rorty Pragmatism: The New Wave of Pragmatism in Communication Research
International Communication Association Preconference – Boston, 2011
Sponsored by the Communication History Interest Group and Co-sponsored by the Philosophy of Communication Division
Chris Russill – Carleton University, Canada
Robert Craig – University of Colorado, Boulder, USA
Klaus Bruhn Jensen – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Mats Bergman – University of Helsinki, Finland
Robert Danisch – Concordia University, Canada
Call For Papers:
Philosophical pragmatism has been a significant substream in the history of ideas as well as in communication research – from John Dewey via Jim Carey to John Durham Peters. The neopragmatist work of Richard Rorty, while widely influential, has remained contested, and has left important contributions of classic pragmatism untapped. Indeed, Richard Rorty’s position of “postmodernist bourgeois liberalism” was, in certain respects, in discord with the committed, communal, and communicative conception of society and politics that is at the heart of the pragmatist legacy. Recently, an article by Mats Bergman (2008) identified a “New Wave of Pragmatism in Communication Studies,” which has returned to the classics, recruiting pragmatism for both theory development and empirical studies of media and communication. This preconference proposes to advance this development and to explore its future potential by involving the wider community of researchers in the ICA. Coordinated by some of the central contributors to the new wave of pragmatism, it invites contributions from across the sections of ICA to an interdisciplinary symposium. The format emphasizes a combination of paper presentations about ongoing theoretical and empirical work with extended discussions, concluding with a panel on the present state and future prospects of pragmatism for the field.
Pragmatism has a very long, a medium long, as well as a short history in the perspective of communication studies. Ancient rhetoric counts as one central influence on modern pragmatism, including its conception of community and democracy. The three classic figures of American pragmatism – Charles Sanders Peirce, George Herbert Mead, William James, and John Dewey – engaged communication, in various ways, as a descriptive and explanatory category. Peirce’s semiotics, for one, fed twentieth-century theory development about communication across the humanities and social sciences. In the last decade, debates on communication theory have returned to pragmatism. The aim of this preconference is to further promote the line of research that examines the relationship between pragmatism and communication first initiated by Peirce, James, and Dewey. Therefore, we invite submissions examining any one of a number of themes to which this relationship draws attention: democratic deliberation, semiotics, communication ethics, media and the public sphere, the importance of face-to-face communication, philosophical foundations of rhetoric, media and communication, and social movements to name just a few. The purpose of this preconference is to showcase the manner in which the intellectual tradition of pragmatism has helped with the advancement of communication scholarship, and to continue to develop communication theory by using the tradition of pragmatism to advance our understanding of key questions in the field. We welcome any papers that aid in either of these tasks.
The preconference will be limited to 40 participants. Dr. Peter Simonson from the University of Colorado-Boulder will be a featured speaker. All events will take place at the conference site; a preconference registration fee will be announced at a later date. A minimum of 15 papers will be selected through a peer-review process. Participants are invited who are interested in reflecting on the preconference¹s themes, whether from the sponsoring divisions or beyond.
-Preconference will be held on May 26th, 2011.
- Abstracts of no more than 500 words are due by December 15, 2010.
- Submit your abstract via email to Robert Danisch- firstname.lastname@example.org – as an MS Word attachment (please use your full name to label the file).
- The authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by February 1, 2011
- After the preconference, the coordinating group will explore the possibility of an edited volume on communication research and the pragmatist tradition. Final Papers will be considered for inclusion in this edited volume.