Monday, February 28

Do blogs offer a plattform for the "ideal speech situation"? III

1.1.) Research questions

This paper will look at the weblog as a form of communication. Central question is what form of communication is made possible through weblogs. This question will be answered through three sub questions. First of all it is needed to have a better understanding of [1] what a blog is and this paper will give a definition of the blog based on the communicative aspects. [see chapter 2]

The theory of Habermas will be the basis for this research. Thompson (2003) and Mortensen & Walker (2002) discuss whether blogs can be a public sphere. This part of Habermas’ theory is part of his greatest work from the early eighties, Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns (Theory of Communicative Action). In that work Habermas formulates a rationally justified analysis of society. On basis of an analysis of speech acts he develops a theoretical framework which gives hold to societal progress. (Kunneman & Munnichs, 1998) Part of this theory is the building of consensus, which is needed to have a stable society. The only way we can build consensus is when people meet the rules of the ‘ideal speech situation’. This means that all participants in social discourse enjoy an equal opportunity to initiate and sustain communication and the whole communicative exercise is transparent. Desirable features centre on the strength of good, well-grounded argument provided in an open forum, rather than authority, tradition, ideology, power or prejudices. (Heng & De Moor, 2003) These features of the ideal speech situation form the basis for what we called earlier the public sphere.

[...] So the second question in this paper is not whether blogs can meet up with the
public sphere, but [2] whether blogs can offer a platform for the ideal speech situation.

This second question can only be answered when we look at the technology that is used in blogs. Van Dijk describes in his book The Network Society the changes that new media bring to our society, based on various theories on the mediating role of communication technology. He has developed a framework of characteristics which can be used to compare old and new media. This framework will be used to analyse which characteristics of weblogs can influence the achievement of an ideal speech situation.

[3] look on the opportunities that weblogs offer for the future and in what areas they can be used.


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