CALL  FOR PAPERS: The Constructionist View of Communication: Promises and Challenges

We welcome paper for the ECREA Philosophy of Communication Section Workshop, entitled ‘The Constructionist View of Communication: Promises and Challenges’, at the Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University, 18-20 September, 2019.

ecrea_smallWhat is communication? There is no single answer to this fundamental question. According to the (still prevailing) transmission view, communication consists in the transfer of messages from sender to receiver. According to the constructionist perspective, on the other hand, in the processes of communication meanings are constituted, not merely transferred. This perspective has many variants (the ritual / constitutive model, use-oriented philosophical outlooks on linguistic meaning, social construction of communication approach, or systems theory – to name only a few), and is pursued (either explicitly or implicitly) by a variety of communication scholars, as well as thinkers in related fields. At the same time, communication constructionism still has its staunch opponents.

The objective of this workshop is to bring together scholars of communication studies, philosophy and neighbouring fields to explore the current faces of constructionism in communication research.

Thus we invite papers concerned with the following questions and topics, among others:

  • Theoretical developments of the constructionist position
  • Formal models of constructionism
  • Critical analyses of constructionism (or its specific variants)
  • Discussions of philosophical/theoretical perspectives on communication that embody the constructionist outlook
  • Applications of the constructionist view in particular case-studies

Please send extended abstracts (up to 400 words) to Eli Dresner, Tel Aviv University, dresner@post.tau.ac.il, by April 7, 2019. Notification of acceptance by May 5, 2019.

For more information, please visit http://philosophyofcommunication.eu

Organizing Committee:

  • Kęstas Kirtiklis, chair (Vilnius University)
  • Eli Dresner (Tel Aviv University)
  • Joana Bicacro (Lusofona University)
  • Mats Bergman (University of Helsinki)
  • Johan Siebers (Middlesex University London)
  • Lydia Sanchez (University of Barcelona)
  • Jose Gomez Pinto (Lusofona University)

 

An analysis of the image of women in cosmetic surgery leaflets: visual grammar as a tool to discover stereotypes

We are absolutely delighted to host Professor María Martínez Lirola (University of Alicante) for a seminar on her cutting-edge research on the use of image of women in cosmetic surgery leaflets.

When Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 16.00-18.00

Where? Room PRTCB6B (Portacabin), Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

There are many texts in which images of women are used for different purposes in our society. This research explores the main strategies used to create meaning in multimodal texts used by leaflets advertising cosmetic surgery in Alicante (Spain).  The study aims to point out that women are treated as objects in these leaflets. To demonstrate this argument the main visual and linguistic characteristics will be analysed in multimodal texts in which people are persuaded of the benefits of such surgery. Special attention will be paid to the influence that the different linguistic and visual choices may have on society. This study reveals that the image of women that appears in some leaflets of this type is so aggressive that it could be understood as a new form of gender violence.

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lirolaMaría Martínez Lirola is Professor of the Department of English at the University of Alicante, Spain and Research Fellow at the University of South Africa (UNISA). Her main areas of research are Applied Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis and Systemic Functional Linguistics. She has published more than 70 papers and seven books, such as Main Processes of Thematization and Postponement in English (Peter Lang, 2009). She has been a visiting scholar in different universities such as: Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD, 2015), University of Nottingham, Malaysia campus (2015), University of British Columbia and University of Montréal (2014), Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada, 2012), University of South Africa, UNISA (Pretoria, South Africa, 2012), University of Anahuac Mayad (Mérida, Mexico, 2008), University of Kwazulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 2006), and Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia, 2005). She has presented papers in international congresses all over the world.

 

This is the full list of all the diverse seminars Professor Lirola will lead during her stay at Middlesex – all part of the Language & Communication Research Seminars series. Everyone is welcome!

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

The Rhetoric of Death and Dying: Video recording

We were delighted to host a presentation by our colleague and  Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion Dr Johan Siebers on the Rhetoric of Death and Dying.

Johan discussed how death is viewed and talked about from antiquity to present-day. My highlight was the reference to Pericles’ unparalleled Funeral Oration.

Below is the link to the entire presentation.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Video-recording of Leena Robertson’s presentation

DqvL-U2WoAAidzZ (1)Our first Language & Communication research seminar for this year was a fascinating talk by Leena Robertson, reflecting on her, her team’s and her participants’ journey in finding names for the Romani languages used by the informants of the large ROMtels project.

Excavating naming practices in language research  methodologies: The case of Romani languages in Europe

In addition to providing a glimpse to a group of silenced and unmentioned group of languages, it raised a number of important ethical issues.

Here’s a brief teaser to the presentation:

 

And here is the link to the entire presentation:

 

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

New book by Middlesex colleague: In Defence of Political Correctness

Are we really free to say what we want in a liberal democracy? Or has being Politically Correct now been replaced by anti-political correctness? In this book, Middlesex Professor, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, argues that PC made public discourse more civilized. And that when people say what they damn well want, you end up with trolls, Trump and Farage and a nasty, toxic environment.

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Journalist of the Year, Yasmin Alibhai Brown is a broadcaster and author of several books. A columnist for the i and the Mirror, she is a well-known commentator on diversity, immigration and multiculturalism. She is the author of Refusing the Veil and her most recent book is Exotic England. She was awarded Broadsheet Columnist of the Year at the 2017 Press Awards.
Yasmin says: – “Libel laws, editorial judgements, broadcasting restrictions, the political atmosphere all impose limits on free speech. And yet when women, minorities, young, LGBT and disabled people object to demeaning language or, indeed, demand equality, traditionalists shout out ‘It’s PC gone mad’.  There are leading voices in this country- people like Boris Johnson, Julie Burchill. Ken Livingstone- who stoke up ugly passions in the name of freedom. Without self-moderation, our streets, schoolyards, public transport, waiting rooms and restaurants would turn into bear pits. Most citizens understand that. Some, however, seem determined to cause disorder in the name of free speech. Powerful, Machiavellian and wealthy individuals are leading this disruption and breaking the old consensus.
Thus, anti-political correctness has taken over the UK and US, spearheaded by some of the most influential voices in media and politics. Invective, lies, hate speech, bullying, intemperance and prejudice have become the new norms. Intolerance is justified through invocations of liberty. Restraint is oppression. A new order has been established in which racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are proudly expressed.” In this powerful new book, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown puts forth a spirited defence of political correctness, forcefully arguing that, despite many failures, this movement has led to a more civilised, equal and tolerant world. By tracing the history and definition of the term, Alibhai-Brown looks to clarify the very nature of PC, which is ultimately grounded in human decency, understanding and compassion – all of which are essential for a safer and kinder world.

https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/in-defence-of-political-correctness

 

Excavating naming practices in language research  methodologies: The case of Romani languages in Europe

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to announce a presentation by our colleague and Associate Professor in Education, Dr Leena Robertson, on excavating naming practices in language research  methodologies: The case of Romani languages in Europe.

When? Friday 19th October 2018, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

This presentation draws on a European Union (EU) funded research study (more details can be found here https://research.ncl.ac.uk/romtels/) in which the Roma research participants identified their language as ‘our gypsy language’. The process of finding names for their Romani varieties more specifically – and more ‘accurately’ and ‘formally’ – opened up new and unexpected situations. The research team’s firm and clearly acknowledged starting point had included a recognition that language names are never politically innocent or neutral, and the names of languages and linguistic varieties have always been dependent on who is doing the naming, and for what purpose, and whose purpose, and whether the naming is done by an insider or an outsider, from an emic (insider) or an etic (outsider)  perspective (Headland et al, 1991).

It is language names and naming practices that are excavated here in an on-going quest for developing more socially just methodologies. In the case of Roma people and with reference to their various Romani language names, they are a source of information of the Roma past and the various Roma groups’ routes of migration (Matras, 2005), and of social exclusion and marginalisation (Danaher, 2013; Fleck and Rughinis, 2008). Importantly, they also reveal Roma people’s agency and attempts to resist marginalisation (Danaher, 2013). One of the key findings concerned the participants’ investigation of both emic and etic naming practices of their own language – switching from emic to etic – which promoted emancipation.

Bio

LeenaRobertson

Leena Robertson is Associate Professor in the department of Education at Middlesex University, London. Leena’s work, research and publications are in the field of multilingualism, literacies, culture and learning. She has extensive experience of teaching multilingual children in schools, and working with families and community teachers. For many years she led teacher education programmes and mentored teachers and student teachers in London schools. Leena has led a network of early years teachers in Finland and Estonia in developing child-initiated pedagogies. Her latest work concerns translanguaging, Roma children and their families, and she remains committed in developing pedagogies and practices that foster social justice. Originally from Finland, Leena enjoys swimming in open seas, and in all seasons, and spending time with her family and friends.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

Rhetoric of Death and Dying

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to announce a presentation by our colleague and Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion Dr Johan Siebers on the Rhetoric of Death and Dying.

When? Friday 7th December 2018, 14.30 – 15.30

Where? Room V105, Vine building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

The experience and awareness of death and dying is a constitutive factor of human existence. For some philosophies, world views and religions death is the ultimate horizon against which finite existence acquires meaning and becomes liveable. For others, the experience of death is an experience of the breakdown of all meaning and death is “the scandal of philosophy”. For still others, death and life are two sides of the same coin, mutually enabling each other even to the point where death becomes the gateway to life or another life and living and dying merge, while there are also views which hold that while we are here death is not, and when death is here, we are not, so there is nothing problematic about the end of life called death, except perhaps that we haven’t found a way to prolong life indefinitely. Not really living or not living well is far worse than death or dying. We know our deepest grief, loss and fear in the face of death but also hope, equanimity and even gratitude. Mortality is as central to human existence as the fact that we have language. The human being is the animal rationale who vivifies her life by the conscious expression of it, no less than the one who is moribund (humus, soil), because she knows she is.

So however we choose or come to live in the face of mortality, our own and that of others, it is clear that death has a profound connection to meaning. In this paper I will not so much investigate different views, analyses, understandings or ways of talking about death, but rather look at how speech shapes itself in the face of death. The confrontation with death urges us to speak as speaking seems the only way of meeting something that completely overpowers us, and yet death is also an ultimate experience that leaves us often literally speechless so that silence seems the only response commensurate with the event; every word is too much and not enough at the same time. Yet a death that finds no words at all is not human and more traumatic than death itself is anyway. What happens to language at this limit-point of human existence, where words and silence light up as dependent on each other in a way we do not understand? Rhetoric, as a way of reflecting about language and meaning and as a practical engagement with speaking, since its beginning recognized that speech involves the head, the heart and the body – the whole human being. It also has a long history of speaking to death; the genre of the eulogy is a standard form in oratory. Rhetoric as it is pursued today no longer is the mere art of persuasion, but the attempt to become conscious, in theory and practice, of what it means to be a speaking being. I will align myself with this view of rhetoric and explore what it can contribute to the question how to live with the disquieting and urgent drive of speaking in the face of death. This, in the end, is a question about wisdom.

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siebers_johan

Johan Siebers is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Middlesex University. He is also an Associate Fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where he leads the Ernst Bloch Centre for German Thought. He has published widely on 19th and 20th century German philosophy, metaphysics, philosophy of communication, rhetoric and futurity. He is founding editor of Empedocles: European Journal for Philosophy of Communication. Before coming to Middlesex he designed and led the first MA in Rhetoric in the UK, at the University of Central Lancashire.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.