Listening, pathbuilding and continuations: a research agenda for the analysis of listening
This introductory paper posits ‘listening’ as a rubric for reframing contemporary media theory and practice. We propose moving beyond questions of voice, speaking and representation to focus on often-ignored questions of listening as the ‘other side’ of communication. This article sets out the ways in which it may be possible to address the neglected question of listening, not in isolation but rather, following Susan Bickford's notion of ‘pathbuilding’, through explorations of speaking and listening, voice and hearing, logos and interpretation/deconstruction. The article argues for more receptive forms of public discourse and media practice, while seeking to place the recent problematization of listening in a critical framework. Through a survey of theorizations of listening and explication of their research agenda, the authors consider listening in relation to conflict and inequality in diverse practices of citizenship. A central aim is to push discussion of listening practices beyond individual, personal, and private forms of discourse and to identify a spectrum of listening practices that complicate the speaking/listening binary.
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