Communication and Rhetorical Studies
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Ronald C. Arnett
Janie M. Harden Fritz
Richard Sennett, communication ethics, urban communication, public domain, craftsmanship
This project focuses on an interplay between Richard Sennett’s scholarship and the literature of communication ethics. Content from communication ethics provides a better understanding on how Sennett contributes to urban communication in this historical moment, and answers how we can make communication possible in the era of difference.
Sennett’s scholarly concerns starts with a phenomenon that he termed as the fall of public man, which is people’s self-withdrawal from the public domain. Sennett initially credited this to a mismatched “I” and “me” and believes reconciling them would solve the problem. Later, Sennett realizes the self-withdrawal from the public domain has more to do with people’s connection to others. Sennett’s solution is to increase connections among people. This leads Sennett to concern ways in which communication in an urban environment can better take place since the majority of population now live in cities. Sennett’s response is to create an open city that provides the ground for communication among strangers.
I propose that such a Sennettian open city makes sense but the fundamental element that makes communication possible in our current era of difference is to practice communication ethics, with the notion of dialogue placed in the center. Meaningful communication is only possible if we preserve an interspace between persons, recognize everyone communicate and interpret with their own bias, and promote discourse as a means to continue communication rather than an end to inhibit communication.
Gu, L. (2022). Richard Sennett Calling in Communication Ethics (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/2095