Slovene Suplement, Vol. 13 - 2006, Suplement
The article illuminates two different conceptions of the world and of cooperation of the people in their struggle to survive – historical materialism and idealism. These two conceptions lead the theory of the public sphere in two directions. The first direction enables explanation of the transfer of relations of production into all spheres of the society, including the public sphere. The other one looks for neutral procedures and organs of public communication in order to balance opposite interests – which stem from the economic cooperation of the people – without addressing antagonisms and contradictions of the prevailing (capitalist) mode of production. It is demonstrated that the public sphere is, due to putting mention conceptions into reality, the sphere of conflict. One pole of the conflict critically connects power and control to the processes of division of labour and property, while the other pole ascribes to these processes automatism and in this way legitimizes them as neutral bases for admittance of opposing interests into the public sphere.
The article discusses feminist interpretations of Habermasian publicness in terms of (1) bourgeois public sphere, (2) theory of communicative action, (3) dualistic conception of society (the lifeworld/the system), and (4) deliberative democracy. Feminist authors criticise Habermas for not acknowledging that the exclusion of women was not just an accident of the bourgeois public sphere, but that the public sphere of the 19th century was constituted on the exclusion. The feminist critique of Habermas’s understanding of communicative action emphasizes his technical understanding of rationality, which abstracts from, and delegitimises particularities of nonlinguistic forms of communicative action. Feminists reproach Habermas for arguing in favour of the purity of the lifeworld (its separation from the system), which leads him to set up a rigid dualistic theory of society. In reflections on Habermas’s deliberative democracy authors point out that deliberation is conceived of in a procedural manner that gives a privileged status to institutional action in deliberative democracy over other citizen actions. The significance of the feminist critique is in questioning the principle of exclusion – the dimension of the public/ness which is not in the focus of Habermas’s theory. This approach leads to interpretations, which in places are too hasty and imprecise, while at the same time it enables the emergence of some alternative understandings of the public/ness and reveal feminist attempts to “rehabilitate” the public/ness as an open and diverse phenomenon of citizen’s action.
In the article the theoretical-empirical and lay conceptualizations of communicative competence are compared. In the first part different conceptions of communicative competence are analysed. The conceptions are divided into two groups. In the first group communicative competence is predominantly defined as cognitive phenomenon and the focus is on cognitive, emotional and behavioural strategies and skills that predict communicative behaviour. The second group of theories and studies focuses on contextual sociolinguistic characteristics. They deal with speech acts and communication events in particular speech communities. Further the results of qualitative study on a sample of 204 students are presented. The comparative method (Glaser in Strauss 1979) yielded the following dimensions of communicative competence: 1) intellectual, 2) linguistic, 3) nonverbal, 4) situational, 5) focus on the other, 6) focus on self, 7) personal characteristics of communicator, 8) skills. The students have exposed many dimensions of communicative competence that are significantly different from established definitions. We suggest, on the one hand, that measurement instruments for communicative competence should be adjusted to concrete communication situation; on the other hand, we propose dialogic communicative competence as an attempt towards a more universal definition of communicative competence in the modern plural society.
State Uses of Cultural Meanings for Political Purposes: Production of National People in the Plebiscite Propaganda in Carinthia, 1920
In order to achieve specific political ends, such as for example the creation of national identity, a state can instrumentalize arbitrary and culturally specific concepts for political purposes. The article focuses on the plebiscite propaganda in Carinthia by two states, Austria and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes before the 1920 plebiscite about the annexation of Carinthia to Austria. The plebiscite propaganda was the way of exhibiting political power of both states and it played a crucial role in the production of national people in Carinthia and in the construction of differences between them. Such use of communication practices by both states enabled nationality to be institutionalized and to decisively determine people’s everyday lives. This case proves that the state can achieve through communication with its residents a widely accepted consensus when it transforms arbitrary cultural meanings into national ones and in this way creates and controls its own population. The outcome of the plebiscite should be understood as a product of such state-performed communication practices and not as a reflection of some pre-existing national will of Carinthians. Therefore, national border in Carinthia should not be seen as historical necessity, but as the product of the clash of the two state-building discourses that have at least from the plebiscite onwards produced national ideologies and in this regard prepared solid grounds for the reproduction of national differentiation.
This paper analyzes the relationship between public opinion polling and journalism. The author claims that the reports on public opinion polls have become a common element in journalism that should be regarded as a specific journalistic genre with its own thematic structure and visual form. Due to their mimicry of a scientific discourse, applicability to news values and capability of simplified representation of politics, public opinion polls are a handy tool for journalists to present themselves as objective mediators of public opinion. With the method of content analysis the author analyzes the attention devoted by the Slovenian daily newspapers to public opinion polls and the ways they are presented to their readers in terms of the semantic structure of headlines of the reports, and the structure and quality of journalistic reporting.
Soon after cryptography became a matter of interest of independent researchers and private companies in 1960’s, it also became commonly available. The U. S. government tried to restrict its use. Yet with the emergence of the Internet and wide accessibility of information and communication technology, cryptography became political technology. The battle for public accessible cryptography became a battle for privacy and freedom of individuals. Attempts to ban encryption were not successful. Cryptography spread widely mostly as an effective protection of electronic transactions and commerce rather than a technology of protection of individual rights and freedoms. Today it seems that cryptography does not assure adequate level of privacy by itself, and the battle for privacy and freedom is far from being won. It is directed to transparency of information and communication systems with the aim to achieve a free access to source code of computer applications and to curb secret surveillance mechanisms. Another battle takes place in the field of anonymisation systems as mechanisms for maintaining civil liberties on-line. Mass and automatic surveillance is enabled by analyses of traffic data. Recent legislative amendments that require data retention increase the effectiveness of surveillance technologies. Yet despite of the development of several privacy protecting technologies, most of individuals voluntarily waive their privacy and freedom – for the sake of convenience and because of the lack of concern.