RE: democratic communication

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Thu 07 Nov 2002 - 13:56:47 GMT

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    >>secrecy is fundamental to democratic communication

            <Some forms of secrecy are fundamental to maintaining the status quo

    > (since all true information is change), but, no, democracy, in a pure
    > form (which we'll never see), depends upon the complete and unencumbered
    > flow of information.
    > As for what, precisely, 'democratic communication' would be, IMHO, that
    > would emphatically be unfettered at all points. Almost stream of thought.
    > Pure democratic communication would be practically telepathic in its
    > completeness. Yes?>
            I think Palmer means it in the bureaucratic sense, of that system of governance we call democratic, which somewhere down the line rests on collective public consent and thus on communication flows. But otherwise, yeah, I think you're right.

            <The simple fact there is any power structure at all is a developer of
    > non-expansive communication systems.>
            Yes, this was sort of the point I put to Palmer when he gave a research seminar at my institution recently, that communication involves definitional struggles, and thus power relations, and inequalities in power will be reflected in communication. So secrecy is a reflection of relative power in a democracy, not democracy per se.

            <Propaganda instantly follows.>

            Well, self-interest definitely follows, but it might be overt and
    "honest" rather than propaganda (like your own acknowledgement of pursuing a particular approach to see what happens when a view is stuck to for a while, to see how well it stands up to scrutiny, and not because you necessarily believe in it to that extent). But yes, largely propaganda is what occurs in what passes for democratic society.

            (I could dress that up in the political communication concept from Habermas known as the refeudalisation of the public sphere... but I won't...)


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