The Dao of the Press: A Humanocentric Theory (Gunaratne)
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Title: The Dao of the Press
Sub-title: A Humanocentric Theory
Publish Date: Summer 2005
|This book attempts to de-Westernize communication theory. It interprets press theory from the perspective of Eastern philosophy—particularly Buddhism, Hinduism, Daoism, and Confucianism—and the emerging theory of living systems, which combines the Santiago School’s interpretation of cognition and autopoiesis, and the Brussels School’s interpretation of dissipative structures. It also draws from quantum physics, post-Parsonsian systems thinking, and world-systems analysis to derive a more humanocentric theoretical framework that reflects the integration of Eastern ontology with Western epistemology.|
The book demonstrates that the classic Four Theories of the Press and its offshoots are based on Eurocentric history, theory, and practice. Eurocentrism and universalism are presumed to be one and the same. Such normative theories are routinely used to evaluate the mass media of the entire world even though they are completely oblivious to non-Western history and philosophy. This state of affairs attests to what some Third World scholars describe as “academic dependency and the global division of labor in the social sciences”.
The book’s eight chapters focus on the nature of democracy, the parallels between Eastern philosophy and quantum physics, systems thinking and the theory of living systems, West-centrism of the classical “press” theories, the potential of linking Eastern ontology and Western epistemology, the new theory of communication-outlets and free expression, the connection between democracy and journalism, and the future directions that communication inquiry ought to explore.
Contents: WHAT IS DEMOCRACY? Democracy and History. Western View of Democracy. UN View of Democracy. Eastern View of Democracy. Cosmopolitan Democracy. Excursus: East-West Dichotomy. EASTERN PHILOSOPHY: CONGRUENCE WITH QUANTUM PHYSICS. Chinese Philosophy and Theory. Hindu Philosophy and Theory. Buddhist Philosophy and Theory. Subaltern View versus Quantum Physics. Excursus: New Confucian Humanism. THEORY AND SYSTEMS THINKING: EMERGING THEORY OF LIVING SYSTEMS. Cognition (Cognitive Science Perspective). Autopoiesis (Biological Perspective). Autopoiesis (Luhmann’s Sociological Perspective). Dissipative Structures (Thermodynamics Perspective). Meaning as Fourth Perspective. Humanocentric Framework. Excursus: Monistic Idealism. WEST-CENTRISM AND CLASSICAL “PRESS” THEORIES. Nature of West-Centrism. West-Centrism in Communication Theory. West-Centrism in Media/“Press” Theories. Contemporary State-“Press” Relations. Excursus: Buddhism and Science. UNITY AND DYNAMISM OF UNIVERSE: LINKING EASTERN PHILOSOPHY WITH WESTERN SCIENCE. Bridging East-West Gap. Dynamism and Unity. System-Environment Interaction. Linking the Concepts. Excursus: Theoretical Differences. THEORY OF COMMUNICATION-OUTLETS AND FREE EXPRESSION. The Framework. Conceptual Clarifications. Summary. Excursus: Intercultural Asiacentricity. DEMOCRACY-JOURNALISM CONNECTION. Myth of the Fourth Estate. Systems Thinking. Media and Sovereignty. Excursus: Quantum Teledemocracy. CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS. References. Author Index. Subject Index.