- Kathy Castle
- Lincoln, NE
- United States
Ph.D. Student and Course Director- Business and Professional Com,
What would it take for you to be willing to be changed by your interaction with another?
I study communication and how it shapes our reality. Communication is very often thought of as the process by which we articulate our thoughts and ideas--and the more clearly we do that, the more effective our communication is. This, however, is not communication as I study it...it is imposition. Communication is the negotiation of a shared meaning. Dialogue is a form of communication to which we should all aspire, requiring communicators to seek to create meaning with each interaction. This process requires individuals to evaluate their own social positioning and the power that it does or does not afford them and to evaluate the social positioning of the other communicator and the power that it does or does not afford them in the interaction. Next, the communicators seek to create meaning through interaction by allowing themselves to be impacted and changed by the other person's perspective rather than impose their preconceived ideas in the interaction. In short, dialogue challenges us to question power structures and privilege the emergence of meaning that reflects all perspectives rather than perpetuating existing systems of power.
This type of communication has the potential to create space for marginalized voices in discussions---voices that must be heard in order to allow us to have a discussion that encompasses the needs, priorities and concerns of all of our global citizens. Importantly, dialogue would allow us to hear this from everyone's unique perspectives rather than casting all thoughts and ideas into a more dominant frame that ultimately subordinates specific positions. Dialogue is the vehicle through which all voices have the potential to be heard--but it is a responsibility that we share and that we don't often acknowledge. Those with more power in the dominant framework have a responsibility to create space for all voices rather than privileging voices like theirs.
Given the potential for dialogue, what would it take for us to engage it?