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joi, 9 iunie 2011

John Dewey - jurnalismul modern si Internetul

“Till the Great Society is converted in to a Great Community, the Public will remain in eclipse. Communication can alone create a great community” - John Dewey

Deosebit de interesant de citit pe Wikipedia despre John Dewey si viziunea sa despre jurnalism. Va propun aceasta lectura:

The Public and its Problems

Lucrarea a fost scrisa in 1927 de catre Dewey. 

"The Public and its Problems is a book by John Dewey, an American philosopher, written in 1927. In this work, Dewey touches upon major political philosophy questions that have continued into the 21st century, specifically: can democracy work in the modern era? Is there such a thing as a "public" of democratic citizens, or is the public a phantom, as journalist Walter Lippmann argued in his 1927 book The Phantom Public""(subl.mea)

"Dewey begins his argument by distinguishing between the "state," represented by elected lawmakers, and the "public," the diffuse, often incoherent body of citizens who elect the state. The public is called into being when ordinary citizens experience the negative externalities (or consequences) of exchanges beyond their control (such as market or governmental activities). A public then is made up of citizens whose common interest is focused on alleviating these negative externalities through legislation; in fact, Dewey argues that a public does not actually exist until a negative externality calls it into being.
Dewey asserts that this occurs when people perceive how consequences of indirect actions affect them collectively: “Indirect, extensive, enduring and serious consequences of conjoint and interacting behavior call a public into existence having a common interest in controlling these consequences” (Dewey, 126). Hence, a public only develops when it has a reason and comes together around an issue of substantial or serious significance.
In the second half of The Public and its Problems, Dewey concedes to the arguments of adversaries of modern democracy (such as Walter Lippman) by describing all the powerful forces at work that eclipse the public and prevent it from articulating its needs. For example, Dewey explains how special interests, powerful corporate capital, numbing and distracting entertainment, general selfishness, and the vagaries of public communication make effective public deliberation difficult."(subl.mea)

 "Since the mid-1980s, Deweyan ideas have experienced revival as a major source of inspiration for the public journalism movement. Dewey's definition of "public," as described in The Public and its Problems, has profound implications for the significance of journalism in society. As suggested by the title of the book, his concern was of the transactional relationship between publics and problems. Also implicit in its name, public journalism seeks to orient communication away from elite, corporate hegemony toward a civic public sphere. "The 'public' of public journalists is Dewey's public."

Dewey gives a concrete definition to the formation of a public. Publics are spontaneous groups of citizens who share the indirect effects of a particular action. Anyone affected by the indirect consequences of a specific action will automatically share a common interest in controlling those consequences, i.e., solving a common problem.[26]
Since every action generates unintended consequences, publics continuously emerge, overlap, and disintegrate.
In The Public and its Problems, Dewey presents a rebuttal to Walter Lippmann’s treatise on the role of journalism in democracy. Lippmann’s model was a basic transmission model in which journalists took information given them by experts and elites, repackaged that information in simple terms, and transmitted the information to the public, whose role was to react emotionally to the news. In his model, Lippmann supposed that the public was incapable of thought or action, and that all thought and action should be left to the experts and elites.
Dewey refutes this model by assuming that politics is the work and duty of each individual in the course of his daily routine. The knowledge needed to be involved in politics, in this model, was to be generated by the interaction of citizens, elites, experts, through the mediation and facilitation of journalism. In this model, not just the government is accountable, but the citizens, experts, and other actors as well."
"Furthermore, he asserts that local community is where democracy must happen so that people can become active and express issues of public concern. In this way, the local community can become the “Great Community.” He writes, “Without such communication the public will remain shadowy and formless…Till the Great Society is converted into a Great Community, the Public will remain in eclipse. Communication can alone create a great community” (Dewey, 142)."
Eu am extras aici cate ceva din articolele din Wikipedia, dar cred ca merita citite cu atentie ambele articole integral.  Sa nu uitam anul in care a fost scrisa lucrarea - 1927. Acum suntem in era Internetului si a telefoniei mobile. Cuvintele acestea: "Communication can alone create a great community", rostite atunci, sunt o premonitie a acestei ere a Internetului. Interesant este ca Dewey, cel putin asa imi face impresia, leaga in mod strans democratia de comunicare, ca si cum una fara cealalta nu ar fi posibila. Faptul ca publicul reactioneaza la problemele existente si intra in dialog cu oameni politici, experti in diverse probleme si cu alti actori, incepand in felul acesta o dezbatere asupra acestor probleme cu care ne confruntam pana la urma cu totii, reprezinta pentru Dewey chintesenta democratiei. Si are dreptate, cred, pentru ca democratia nu poate exista fara participarea cetatenilor. Evident, este o chestiune de comunicare. In zilele noastre ea se realizeaza mult mai usor, datorita marelui avans tehnologic pe care il cunoaste omenirea. Dewey cred ca vrea sa spuna ca in momentul in care aceasta comunicare nu mai functioneaza, atunci si democratia ar putea incepe sa schioapete. Bineinteles, publicul nu e interesat numai de politica si problemele legate de aceasta. Dar in momentul in care interesul acesta este foarte scazut, atunci si democratia are de suferit. 

"Whereas Walter Lippman believed that the public had little capacity to be a rational participant in democracy and was essentially nonexistent, Dewey held a more optimistic view of the public and its potential. Dewey did not call for an abandonment of the public; rather, he hoped the public would regain a sense of self. The solution to this, he writes, is improved communication. Only then, with communication, will the public find itself and become a cohesive group.
In addition to Dewey's proposition that the public cannot find itself because there are too many publics, he also blames the distractions of modern society. He points out that even in the past, the public has had other concerns than politics: "Political concerns have, of course, always had strong rivals" (Dewey, p. 137). In discussing the distractions of the past, Dewey explains that those distractions are far more prevalent and bountiful in today's society and citing technology as the main perpetrator.
He uses examples of "the movie, cheap reading matter and [the] motor car as drawing peoples' attention away from politics. These technologies, Dewey explains, are far more desirable topics of discussion for the everyday person than the latest political news. Unfortunately, Dewey does not give a solution to the problem of technology taking away from interest in political affairs. However, Dewey does have hopes that society can someday use its technology to improve communication and thus improve public interest in politics."
Aici e o idee la care merita sa reflectam. Sa presupunem o tara  democratica, avansata din punct de vedere tehnologic, o economie dezvoltata si oameni fericiti. Daca oamenii in majoritatea lor - publicul de care vorbeste Dewey -  incep sa fie inclinati preponderent spre distractii, spre vizionare de filme si lecturi ieftine si tot felul de lucruri de genul asta care intr-un cuvant inseamna distractie si destindere, ce consecinte ar putea avea aceasta stare asupra democratiei? S-ar mai putea vorbi de o democratie autentica in societatea respectiva? Acest public, cum spune Dewey, ar mai putea fi numit public, grup, coeziv? Sau democratia intr-o astfel de tara s-ar altera, ar avea de suferit prin nepasarea oamenilor fata de problemele politice..? Ar trebui sa ne gandim ca o asemenea stare de lucruri ar putea deschide calea spre tot felul de abuzuri, fara ca individul sa-si dea seama de fenomenul care se petrece, ci sa fie pus in fata faptului implinit. Si democratia nu ar mai fi functionala intr-o astfel de situatie sau ar functiona, dar cu greu. In general vorbind ideea obisnuita a oamenilor obisnuiti despre fericire cam in asa ceva consta: distractie, destindere, consum. Progresul tehnologic faciliteaza aceste lucruri. Bunastarea materiala a populatiei de asemenea faciliteaza aceasta tendinta. Desigur, e firesc sa te mai si distrezi. Dar merita reflectat la ce spune Dewey - "Political concerns have, of course, always had strong rivals". De asemenea Wikipedia spune ca: "Unfortunately, Dewey does not give a solution to the problem of technology taking away from interest in political affairs. However, Dewey does have hopes that society can someday use its technology to improve communication and thus improve public interest in politics.". Deci o solutie nu a dat la aceasta problema ci doar spera ca tehnologia va imbunatati comunicarea si, in felul acesta, interesul publicului fata de politica. Cred ca vroia sa spuna ca ignoranta oamenilor poate fi un adversar destul de periculos al democratiei. Dar daca progresul tehnologic si bunastarea materiala accentueaza aceasta tendinta in public? In felul acesta omul devine robul propriei sale ignorante si nu e bine. Dar.... sa nu mergem prea departe si sa nu cautam sa gasim solutii la aceasta problema. Poate ca e mai bine asa. Totusi, chiar daca nu cautam solutii, cred ca e bine ca problema sa fie expusa si, de ce nu, dezbatuta. De ce poate ca e mai bine sa nu cautam solutii? Pentru ca aceasta problema este una delicata, iar solutiile nu trebuie sa depaseasca cadrul democratic. Intr-un fel, cred ca interesul publicului fata de chestiunile politice vine de la sine. Pentru ca nu poti sa faci abstractie de ele, mai ales in vremurile noastre. Dar nici nu cred ca interesul publicului fata de politica ar trebui sa fie unul absolut. Nici lucru asta nu mi se pare bun. Ar trebui sa existe un echilibru. Pentru ca viata nu inseamna numai si numai politica. E compusa si din bucurii simple. Cu toate ca omul e numit zōon politikon. Dar viata are mult mai multe dimensiuni. 

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