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Language – Meaning – Social Construction

Interdisciplinary Studies

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This uniquely interdisciplinary collection of essays derives in part from a two-day international conference held at Heriot-Watt University in November 1999 and conceived as a critical forum for the discussion of the concept of interaction. The collection satisfies a continuing need for interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary research in the humanities and stems from an awareness of the growing currency of interactionist theories in several fields and the need to make a critical contribution to such theories and related concepts such as intersubjectivity and dialogism. Rather than advancing an apologetic view of interaction as something given, the contributors carefully consider and challenge commonly held epistemological and theoretical assumptions relating to the interaction concept. Interaction, if it is to be a meaningful concept, must be seen in terms of its modes (e.g. linguistic, media-based), units (language, logic, communication), objectives (understanding, consensus, stability) and fields of operation (face-to-face interaction, translation, social codification). This collection is intended to offer a provisional response to the question posed by one of its contributors, ‘What does it mean today that communication as the mechanism of social co-ordination has itself become complex?’. It means that erstwhile certainties of meaning transmission, stability, duality or dichotomy, identity and difference can be challenged and theoretically modelled in new contexts. Interdisciplinarity is one means by which to illuminate this complexity from several sides in the pursuit of theoretical blind spots in the field of critical communication studies. The book will be of particular interest to researchers and students in communication theory, linguistics, translation studies, logic, social psychology, discourse studies, European Studies, philosophy and semiotics.

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