From listening... to the dialogic realities of participatory democracy
The idea of listening offers a means of reframing contemporary media theory and the project of cultural studies in such a way that the other half of communication can enter the picture on an equal footing. Many of the implications, both politically and conceptually, of such a move were canvassed in a special issue of Continuumin 2009.This paper engages with the themes of the special issue and elaborates on the implications through a consideration of core issues from perspectives not covered in that issue. We draw particularly on the traditions of hermeneutics, pragmatism and social constructionismto refashion the idea of communicating so that intersubjectivity and praxis are brought to the fore. This refashioning provides the basis for a critical consideration of what it can mean to engage in dialogue. Ideas of dialogue driven by the presumption of shared understanding are discarded in favour of a form of dialogic listening across difference.We proceed to show how these ideas contribute to the heart of the Listening Projects research agenda: understanding and meeting the challenges of democratic dialogue.
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