Monday, February 28

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

So, shall we give it a try and summarize sth. in my blog? Well, why not.

Abstract of "Understanding Weblogs: a communicative perspective" [by Elmine Wijnia]:

Abstract of the abstract:)
This research investigates what form of communication is made possible through the weblog and what its uses are for the future. Taking Habermas’ theory, it will be investigated whether blogs offer a platform for what he calls the ‘ideal speech situation’. Conditions for the ideal speech situation are that everyone has equal access to the communication, that there are no power differences between the participants and that the participants act truthfully towards each other. To answer the question whether weblogs can satisfy these conditions, the framework of communication capacities of Van Dijk (1999) will be used and extended with two concepts. Based on these communication capacities it can be concluded that weblogs do offer a platform for the ideal speech situation. [...]
1.) Introduction
The rise of this new genre on the internet has triggered people into researching whether blogs can be a form of communication that complies with the vision of Tim Berners Lee when creating the WWW. “The vision I have for the Web is about anything being potentially connected with anything. It is a vision that provides us with new freedom, and allows us to grow faster than we ever could when we were fettered by the hierarchical classification systems into which we bound our-selves.” (Berners-Lee & Fischetti, 1999) The WWW should be a place in which everyone can speak for him or herself without the boundaries that are set by traditional media. Ito (2004) describes that publication tools like weblogs could contribute to a new form of democracy in which consensus is no longer build by the mass media through broadcasting, but a process of conversations between people to reach consensus. The weblog could be a way for building consensus according to Ito (2004). A highly regarded philosopher of our time, Jürgen Habermas, explicitly describes how people could build such a consensus. Several researchers have connected Habermas’ theory to what we call the blogosphere, the network of bloggers. (Thompson, 2003; Mortensen & Walker, 2002) These researchers question whether the blogosphere can comply with what Habermas calls the public sphere.

The comparisons from Mortensen & Walker (2002) and Thompson (2003) between blogs and Habermas’ public sphere are not thorough enough to conclude that the blogosphere could be compared with it. They only regarded a small part of Habermas theory and therefore they don’t do fully justice to his theory.

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