Communication and Creative Democracy: Theory, Case Studies, Pedagogy
Call for Papers Date:
This edited collection will explore how what American philosopher John Dewey calls a “creative democracy” can be cultivated and advanced through a heightened awareness of the ways in which communication shapes individuals and society. Being social creatures, we exist because -- and through -- our efforts to communicate with others. We conceptualize communication as an organic, constructive, and holistic form of human interaction, expressed in our daily struggles and joys of being-in-the-world. Communication, the contributors to this text argue, is existential and constitutive of our life experiences as human beings and knowledge of one-another; it is indicative of the relationship between self and others; we make sense of ourselves and our worlds through communicative action. It is through our communicative interaction that we represent others and ourselves. Our language enables us to construct social hierarchies and unequal relationships as well create the means by which we can challenge and subvert such relationships.
At the center of creative democracy is a rejection of the guardianship theory of democracy and “epistemarchy,” which claim that knowledge and what is “good,” “right,” and “just” are accessible only by certain groups and not others. As a society, we will make greater gains in social justice when such thinking is recognized and resisted, and when more people are able to perceive the ways that they can use their agency for creative influence in shaping their local environments. This vision requires a communication of hope and resistance to dominating and oppressive ideologies and practices. For example, the abolition of slavery, women’s right to vote and own property, and the 8-hour work day were all achieved through sustained and committed resistance to the accepted Truths of their respective time—that of a “natural order,” a hierarchy “written” by some transcendent Authority, in which, for instance, Whites were considered superior to Blacks, men were superior to women, and wealthy people were superior to the working class and the poor. These changes were also created through an alternative description of the way things can, and should, be.
In sum, the goal of this book is to help scholars, activists, and citizens to rethink commonly accepted notions of community in order to imagine new possibilities for social, political, and economic organization—in short, new ways of imagining solidarity and citizenship with others, especially those who languish outside the range of our moral radar. It is through communicative action that we designate who in society is worthy of consideration and whose needs and interests are validated. Those people that exist on the margins of society, or outside the boundaries of community, are often denied fair representation, access, and adequate resources.
The project is now in the proposal stage of the publication process, so all that I request of potential contributors right now is a short (200-400 word) abstract detailing what your chapter would cover and how the topic relates to the general focus of the collection. I ask that you submit a short biographical statement for inclusion with the proposal (no more than 150 words). If you are interested in participating, please email your abstract to Omar Swartz (no later than December 31, 2008). If you have questions about the project in advance of your submission, please contact Dr. Swartz at Omar.Swartz@ucdenver.edu.
Omar Swartz, J.D., Ph.D.
Department of Communication
University of Colorado Denver
Campus Box 176, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3384
Dept. Web Address: http://communication.cudenver.edu/
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