Publication 7483

Krippendorff K. (2008) An alternative paradigm. Chapter 1 in: On communicating: Otherness, meaning, and information. Edited by Fernando Bermejo. Routledge, New York: 11–36.
In contrast with the “positivist” or “naturalistic” paradigm that has shaped science for centuries and still dominates the field of communication, [this chapter] develops an alternative paradigm for communication theory and research. The limitations of the prevalent paradigm – which is based on two main premises, i.e. “observers shall accept only one reality,” and “observers shall not enter their domain of observation” – are exposed through an examination of Russell’s theory of logical types, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and Popper’s falsification criterion as responses to paradigmatic challenges. Krippendorff articulates an alternative around five ultimately ethical imperatives that stress the constructed nature of knowledge, replace representational truth with viability, encourage self-reference, and take otherness to be a central concern for communication studies. These imperatives serve as a guide for the remainder of the book. As the paradigm proposed in the chapter calls for researchers and theorists to include themselves in what they observe and theorize, it follows that ontological concerns should give way to epistemological ones. [Abstract by Fernando Bermejo]
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