COM 2007 Volume 12

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Reflections on promoting open discussion forums at university
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Van der Merwe, J. C.
    The Department of Philosophy at the University of the Free State recently presented an open discussion forum on the following topic: Imagine a truly South African university. Many people reacted with scepticism towards this initiative, suspecting that there had to be some party-political agenda behind it. The idea that one may, and even should, address political issues relating to the nature and functioning of the university in an intellectual and academic fashion seemed somehow inconceivable to many. At first it seemed as if these reactions were merely the result of a weak political culture on campus, but it became evident that it was in fact the lack of a culture of dialogue that constituted the major obstacle in the way of genuine interactive communication. This article will explore some of the possible reasons for this state of affairs. The first part of the article focuses on the possible detrimental effect that certain paradigms of higher education - with their one-sided focus on vocationalism - have on critical thinking. In the second part, the communicative dynamics of the forum will be analysed as a theme of interest in itself. In conclusion, the importance of cultivating an appropriate attitude that meets the ethos of constructive communication for such discussion forums will be emphasised.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Die stand van die Afrikaanse koerant in Suid-Afrikaanse gemeenskappe
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Diederichs, P. D.
    The Afrikaans newspaper has a rich history of struggle and involvement in its niche reader market, the Afrikaans-speaking population. New challenges face this market in an ever-changing technological and social-political environment. Backed by the biggest media company in Africa, Naspers, Afrikaans newspapers have the economic resources to survive in a competitive multilingual environment. The question is whether the product will meet the needs of a growing discerning media audience that will not necessarily purchase news offered in a specific language or in a specific medium. The study on which this article is based, looked at various trends in modern news media ranging from content to the delivery format. The McQuail (2004) methodological approach of studying mass communication processes through a “social action perspective”, as well as the gratification model, were used to highlight the importance of target group variables and the interaction between product and consumer. It was found that the news industry is in a transition phase globally of traditional versus convergence media, and that the Afrikaans newspaper editors and proprietors are acutely aware of this fact.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Aspekte van Fisher se narratiewe teorie as vertrekpunt vir 'n retoriese kritiekbenadering tot die De La Rey-liriek?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Terblanche, Lydie; Terblanche, F. H.
    In this discussion, it is pointed out that Bok van Blerk’s song, De la Rey has had an unusual impact on a large number of South Africans. It unleashed a fierce debate in the media in which interested parties offered divergent explanations in sometimes reasonable and sometimes malicious ways for the reasons why De la Rey grabbed and fascinated people. Against the background of the turbulence in the De la Rey debate, one may ask, from the perspective of the science of persuasive communication, about the reasons that contribute to the fact that the De la Rey lyric has such an enormous power of persuasion. Seeing that Fisher (1987) has addressed the role of both logical reason and value-laden good reasons in his narrative paradigm theory, this discussion takes up aspects of his theory as it pertains to the abovementioned question. Attention will be paid to the ontological, epistemological and axiological presuppositions of the theory. Relevant basic, structural and evaluative concepts are explained. Although the theory is useful in various ways in the relevant field, it is especially the criteria for narrative rationality, i.e. the requirements that holds for narrative probability and narrative fidelity, that arguably can be used as a starting point for a rhetorical-critical approach to rhetorical acts in the lyric of De la Rey.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring branding in the non-profit sector: a case study of the Girl Guides' Association of South Africa
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Le Roux, Alta; Snyman, Maritha
    This article reports on a case study of the Girl Guides’ Association of South Africa (GGASA) in an attempt to recommend a corporate communication strategy for the organisation. A theoretical construct combining principles of corporate communication theory (including the role of image and identity), brand management as well as social marketing is suggested as a possible basis for improving the brand management of a non-profit service organisation. In this qualitative study of restricted scope the purpose was to test the feasibility of the above-mentioned theoretical construct by a perception analysis of the organisation’s external and internal publics. The analysis included documents created to communicate with external and internal publics. The findings indicate that the diverse messages that are currently communicated via the GGASA’s corporate communication process are hampering the growth of the organisation. Recommendations include the creation of a strong brand that will improve the visibility of the GGASA and consequently help to create a persistent presence in the minds of the organisation’s publics.
  • ItemOpen Access
    "The self on the page": the therapeutic value of writing
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Roodt, Zarine
    This article comprises a review of writing as therapy, a therapy practised by the client her- or himself as a means of achieving equilibrium on a psychological level - the self on the page1. In this sense it focuses on the therapeutic value of autobiographical writing - which is inherently a communication act. It underscores a substantial body of research which validates the notion that individuals can bring about physical and psychological change by writing about traumatic experiences. Writing in this manner vents the emotions associated with trauma, enables the individual to gain distance and insight, and could - ultimately - lead to the integration of such experiences and emotions. Therefore, it should be understood that writing in this way is a form of “selfhelp” therapy. However, some measure of support is advised for the individual wishing to practise writing as a form of personal therapy. In its treatment of the therapeutic value of writing, this article spans two broad themes: first, it posits a rationale for the therapeutic value of writing, and secondly, it explores the application of writing as therapy. In this process, a number of related aspects are reviewed, namely the therapeutic benefits, as well as the constraints related to this form of writing. On a more practical level, specific techniques and exercises are discussed briefly.
  • ItemOpen Access
    On democracy and communication: the dilemma of freedom and the challenge of equality
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) De Wet, Johann C.
    This article aims to explore, through a conceptual analysis and rational argumentation, some theoretical implications of the principles of freedom and equality for a democratic state. With conceptual analysis an investigation is conducted into the use of certain concepts in a given, or in all kinds of, contexts. It is an operation on concepts, contrary to operation with concepts which occurs with the spontaneous application of concepts. Conceptual analysis comes into play particularly when confusion exists or can arise about concepts. The concept of democracy is discussed followed by its relation to the principles of freedom and equality respectively. The basic communicological ideas governing the principles of freedom and equality are offered. It is also briefly argued in conclusion that vexing questions that relate to freedom and equality tend to be overlooked in public debates in South African communities about issues that range from press or media freedom to the plight or silence of the have-nots, or to the pervasiveness of violent crime in the land.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Existence, communication, violence and a mainly Kierkegaardian existential approach to communication on HIV/AIDS
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Chasi, Colin; De Wet, Gideon
    From an existential perspective, it is observed that communication is expressive of the embodiment of the individual in the world. Communication is above all else expressive of people's modes of existence. The dimensions of the seer and seen are acknowledged as they relate to the embodied individual. They permit an understanding of how the individual fails to contend with the Thou; how it is that the individual is always doomed to live a life that has the structure of bad faith, where one hides the truth from oneself. With reference to all of the above, it is noted that communication is violent. But in this violent character of communication, the eternal source of art is observed. From and in response to these observations an existential approach to HIV/Aids is enunciated in which special attention is given to some ideas of Søren Kierkegaard. The idea is to illustrate that people have the possibility to apply a tactful art of communication to overcome the limiting violence of communication.
  • ItemOpen Access
    interventions for diversity management in a new company - lessons from KwaZulu Natal
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Mersham, Gary
    This article explores a South African/Australian corporate joint venture whose corporate culture is bi-national, multiracial and multi-ethnic in character, synthesising a variety of elements including modern first world corporate culture, traditional cultures, and the emerging culture of the “new” South Africa. It is based on a project carried out for Ticor SA, a mineral sands mining and processing facility, sixty percent owned by Kumba Resources Ltd, a publicly listed South African company, and forty percent owned by Ticor Ltd, a publicly listed Australian company and manager of the project. This study employs a case study / participant observer methodology and a theoretical methodology. The author was actively involved in the strategic planning and workshop interventions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sex, sexuality and communication: a thematic analysis of the perceptions of young South African adults
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Jordaan, Christina
    In South Africa, educators and parents, to a large extent, rely on educational sexuality programmes to teach adolescents and young adults the relevant aspects of sex and sexuality. It is argued that these programmes do not manage to address the understanding and interpreting of sexual language adequately. Most of these programmes focus on the biological, physical and social aspects of sex, paying attention to the “mechanics” of sex, the possible dangers of sex, effective protection against unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections, but are silent on the language of sex and sexuality and also lack clear guidance on the interpretation and conveying of sexual interest. This article explores the perceptions of a sample group of 115 first year students registered for the Baccaulareus Educationis degree in primary school teaching at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. A qualitative approach was used as research method and the research data was interpreted by means of a thematic analysis.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The diversity imperative: excellence, institutional culture, and limiting assumptions at some historically white universities
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Steyn, Melissa
    Contrary to a still common belief that diversity lowers standards, current research in Higher Education indicates that an institution that wishes to maintain a competitive advantage needs to put well-managed diversity very high on its agenda, for reasons of academic and pedagogical excellence as well as to be responsive to changing local and global dynamics. In order to rearticulate diversity as an imperative driven by the search for excellence, the established institutional culture needs to be interrogated to understand why diversity is constructed as a “problem” and attitudes and values are maintained that are hostile to an inclusionary culture. A key element in this institutional culture is whiteness, and different forms of multiculturalism can be identified in terms of their relationship to the power of white privilege. This article names and discusses several assumptions that may underpin received practices and approaches within Historically White Universities (HWUs), which need to be rigorously challenged, and argues for an approach to diversity which can be described as “Critical Diversity”.
  • ItemOpen Access
    What do I do with my degree? The value of studying in the Humanities
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2007) Marais, Willemien
    What is the value of studying in the Humanities? I’m often confronted with this question by prospective students as well as current students in the Humanities. On some level, it seems that degrees in the Humanities are perceived to be inferior.