COM 2009 Volume 14

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 11 of 11
  • ItemOpen Access
    The digital divide and the knowledge gap in South African internet usage
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Reece, Catherine; Glenn, Ian
    Few theorists of the digital divide internationally have used figures from the developing world. This article examines recent trends in South African online usage, examining whether they support any current theories of the digital divide. It concludes that the most apt description of trends here is in Bonfadelli’s “knowledge gap” model (2002) in his study of Swiss Internet usage. In pointing out how frequent users have outpaced more sporadic or infrequent users, the study confirms Bonfadelli’s findings, while problematising current models of the digital divide in the developing world.
  • ItemOpen Access
    HIV/AIDS campaigns: a process model perspective
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Rawjee, Veena; Jordaan, Danie
    This research emerges within the context of the rapidly raising levels of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections amongst young adults and the escalation of deaths from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids). Higher education institutions represent an area where there is a congregation of young adults – the high risk age group. Based on this, this study sets out to explore how HIV/Aids campaigns are planned and managed at selected higher education institutions in South Africa. The study maintains that much can be learnt about the challenges of the planning and management process of HIV/Aids campaigns if their components are explored from a process perspective. Based on the findings, the study offers recommendations for improving future HIV/Aids campaign planning and management at higher education institutions. It further proposes a process model for campaign planning and management at higher education institutions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Popular conceptions and the communication of philosophical views of reality
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Strauss, Danie
    The aim of this article is to show that the issue is not whether there is a mutual communication between philosophy, the special sciences (scholarly disciplines or scientific disciplines) and popular conceptions, but rather whether these communications acknowledge what are actually communicated, namely philosophical views of reality. Unless this basic and inevitable mutual communication is recognised the ultimate philosophical roots of much that is floating around will not be acknowledged as such. The philosophical problem of the coherence of irreducibles receives a negative answer in monistic -isms – such as physicalism or biologism – that attempt to elevate some or other aspect of reality to be the exclusive and decisive principle of explanation of whatever there is. One may designate the underlying philosophical issue here also as that of unity and diversity. In our discussion below another issue will surface, namely the relation between continuity and discontinuity (constancy and change). These examples will serve to show that the special sciences cannot operate except upon the basis of implicit or explicit (perennial) philosophical problems explicitly or implicitly communicated from philosophy to the various academic disciplines and popular conceptions of reality. In the course of the exposition the impasse of special scientific stances (such as physicalism and neo-Darwinism) will be subjected to immanent criticism from the perspective of a non-reductionist ontology, in particular also questioning positivism as a philosophical orientation, the philosophical stance known for its denial that it is a philosophical orientation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Communicative-philosophical challenges of managing a male residence at the University of the Free State
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Van der Merwe, J. C.
    Institutions of Higher Education have an important contribution to make towards the South African project, and residence life gives a university a unique opportunity to make a significant contribution towards nation building. In this article, the author will briefly discuss some of the challenges that he faced as head of a male residence at the University of the Free State (UFS) in the post-Reitz era. In the first part of the article the focus will be on the challenge of cultivating a post-apartheid citizenship amongst first-year students, as well as on the transformation process in the residences. Then the views of the university as a business and a residence as a house will be discussed. Throughout the article the influence of different ideologies will be critiqued, through the identification of specific “hyper-norms” that dominate other norms and values, and also lead to relations of domination between social groups. Some of the metaphors that are central in this whole process will be explored in terms of what each metaphor “highlights” and what it and its possible deconstruction “hides”.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Revisiting Hofstede among South African students: some intercultural communication guidelines for the workplace
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Schutte, Paul
    This research addressed two questions: (1) Are black and white students rather more different or similar concerning Hofstede’s cultural dimensions?; and (2) How should culture differences be accommodated during communication? A questionnaire was administrated among a sample of 1374 respondents, 50% black and 50% white students, from three different universities. The findings provided a glimpse of the “cultural software of the mind” of students who will be employees in different organisations in the near future. The findings indicate that there are more similarities than differences concerning the cultural dimensions, irrespective of biographical, racial or ethnic differences. The vast majority (83%) agreed that some form of accommodation should take place. Sixty three different suggestions have been mentioned by all respondents. It is noteworthy that the three with the highest frequency are the same for both groups: knowledge of the other culture, respect for them and the use of English as code for communication. This indicates and proves to a certain extent that, despite the existence of certain differences, these respondents are not only rather similar concerning the cultural dimensions alone, but also in their suggestions on how to accommodate cultural differences during their communication with people from another culture.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A case for African culture in journalism curricula
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Sesanti, Simphiwe
    This article examines the need to teach African culture as a module in journalism schools based on the African continent. Assuming that journalists need to be cognisant of the cultural environments in which they operate, this article argues that failure on the part of journalists to be culture-aware results in inaccurate journalism that is loaded with journalists’own cultural baggage and bias. Using cultural framing as a theoretical basis, the article shows how ignorance of African culture by journalists reporting on indigenous African communities has manifested itself. It is argued that journalistic misrepresentation of Africans perpetuates the colonial project of the dehumanisation of Africans of projecting them as inferior beings – mentally, spiritually and physically. Journalists educated about diverse cultures are more likely to link and create common understanding among culturally diverse communities than journalists who are ignorant of others’cultural norms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Dialoog met die self: die labirint as medium van intrapersoonlike kommuikasie
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Roodt, Zarine
    This article aims at investigating labyrinth walking as a form of communication with the self. Based primarily on the concept of self-talk as a distinguishable form of communication, the author draws a number of conclusions, mainly in relation to the concepts of listening and meaning. It is inferred that the labyrinth is a communication medium and that the labyrinth walker as source / receiver is afforded the opportunity to embrace silence, and to enter into dialogue with the self in the heart of the labyrinth in order to find meaning in both the personal and transpersonal context. It could be concluded that the labyrinth is a medium of intrapersonal communication, with the physical activity of walking the labyrinth a visual manifestation of the process of intrapersonal communication, and the circuitous process through which we gain access to our innermost communicative and communicating self.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Readability of the South African patient package insert (PPI)
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Krige, Daleen
    Although medication is nowadays issued with a package insert containing vital medication information, not everyone reads/understands the medication information contained in the package insert. This has been proven by European and American research, pointing to, amongst other factors, the readability of these documents. Readability difficulty often translates to communication barriers which, in this case, make the accessibility of the health message contained in the PPI difficult. This article investigated the South African situation regarding the readability of PPIs by means of Flesch and Fry readability assessments and a correlation of the results by means of correlation coefficients. The results indicate that for both languages, English and Afrikaans, the texts require at least a tertiary reading ability, which is rare in the broader South African community. This means that the readability of these texts is at present a communication barrier to vital health information a patient needs when taking medication. Although these results only refer to texts variables, one must also realise that reader variables have an important influence on the reading of the material. Yet, by adapting the readability level of these documents, one can already start the process of making the health communication message clearer and more accessible to the South African patient.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Organizations as change-agents in HIV/AIDS programmes through participatory communication
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Fourie, Lynnette; Kloppers, Elbé
    Statistics indicate that HIV/Aids is primarily a problem of developing societies. More than a decade of attempts to address the HIV/Aids pandemic have demonstrated that traditional communication strategies are not as successful in such societies as anticipated. Rather, a participatory approach has been found to be more suitable for communicating developing issues such as HIV/Aids. The organisational environment appears ideally suitable for the implementation of a participatory approach because of the opportunity it offers for interpersonal contact and feedback. Against this background, this article investigates the quality of participation in the HIV/Aids programmes of five South African organisations, by evaluating how these a) fulfil their instructional or educational role; b) act as platforms for dialogue and provide a means for participants to voice their needs; and c) represent or are sensitive to cultural values. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the HIV/Aids coordinators of the organisations in order to determine what their programmes entailed. The perceptions of employees and community members regarding the HIV/Aids programmes were investigated through focus groups. Results indicate that the employees and community members are most satisfied with the programme they take part in and identify the organisation as the most important source of information on HIV/Aids. However, the programmes under investigation were not all found to be fully participatory.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Reitz video: inviting outrage and/or pity?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Marais, Willemien; De Wet, Johann C
    This article reflects on the initial local, national and international reaction, including media reaction, in February and March 2008 to the publication of the Reitz video at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and interprets meanings attached to the reactions within the framework of an existential communication critique. Given the fact that the University of the Free State serves as a microcosm of society at large, these meanings could be seen as having particular relevance for any discussion on race and culture in South Africa. The research problem is two-fold: Firstly, to determine the nature and extent of the initial reaction to the Reitz video which came to light on 26 February 2008, and secondly, to interpret possible meanings attached to the reactions within the framework of the cultural-philosophical views expounded in the renowned works of Gustave le Bon [The Crowd (1896)] and José Ortega y Gasset [The Revolt of the Masses (1930)]. Thematic content analysis is employed followed by critical and rational argumentation within the delimitations of the study. It was found that there was a general failure on the side of the intellectual elite and mass media to provide depth dimension to the issues at play. The prevailing public mind which focused and continually emphasised the idea of racism being alive and well in South Africa was hardly questioned or contextualised within an understanding that human communication is always influenced by socio-cultural circumstances.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Can public relations put the trust back in organisations?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2009) Venter, Ben-Piet; Van der Merwe, Johann
    The last two years have seen top South African and international companies being accused or criticised for activities that do not serve the interests of their stakeholders. A sad result of this and other organisational philandering is that the name of public relations – already tainted – is sullied even more. The ethics of organisational management, the ethical impacts of public relations, and the ethics of public relations practitioners are addressed in this article. In deliberating the sticky ethics issue, the current role of public relations in the organisation as well as public relations education in South Africa are also discussed. It is suggested that the value chain can be used to assist public relations in overcoming its uncertain position in the ethics debacle by firstly placing it firmly in the organisation’s value chain as a support activity alongside those of human resources, firm infrastructure, and technology development; secondly that the placement of public relations as support function in the value chain is a good argument for the allocation to public relations of its rightful place in the organisation’s formal chain of command; and thirdly, given the acceptance that public relations is a support function not only to marketing and sales, but also to inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, and service, it becomes necessary to revise the educational curriculum of public relations students.