Saturday, March 05, 2011

The path to peace is through hearts and minds

Proposal for round table on The University in Crisis: Tradition, innovation, and employment in Communications departments, Emerging Scholars Network, International Association of Media Communication Researchers (IAMCR) 2011 conference

The purpose of this presentation is to explore options for humanities & social sciences in general, and communication in particular, to advocate for support and growth by articulating our value to the world. What counts is not always what can be counted. In a post-9/11 world, where our emphasis seems to increasingly be narrowing on science, technology, and commerce, we (humankind) should be asking ourselves whether the road to lasting peace could ever come through science & technology, or whether this is a matter of hearts and minds. To avoid the immanent catastrophe of global warming requires nothing less than a global change in behavior. Fixing a global financial system that is prone to the kind of crisis we saw in 2008 will take some creative thinking, not only about economics, but politics, too. The arts and culture are among the very best of what we humans do; they make life worthwhile. My thesis is that it is worthwhile for some of us scholars to spend some time analyzing and explaining why it is that humanities and social sciences in general, and communication studies in particular, matter, because when we do, our societies will soon understand the importance of supporting our work. I will draw on theories of rationalization and commodification (e.g. Weber, Marx, Lukacs) and alternatives, including values rationality (Weber), the commons (e.g. Lessig, Boyle, Ostrom), and transnational advocacy networks (Keck and Sikkink). I will further draw on my background as an open access advocate to provide some examples of how to effectively advocate in this area, and explain why providing open access to our own scholarly work can help us make the case.

Proposal submitted March 5, 2011. I am posting the proposal on submission because the work of advocating for humanities and social sciences is urgent.