The Third Volume in the series Communication Processes engages in understanding processes of communication in relation to cultural configurations and contending forces that permeate them. This volume is positioned at the interface of culture and communication—exploring ways in which interaction, negotiations, and even conflicts are voiced. It re-examines our conception of culture to show that communities cannot be divided into polarities such as ‘elite and popular’ or ‘dominant and subaltern’—establishing that such clear divisions cannot exist in society. Culture is therefore perceived as a field of contending forces: a milieu of exchange, encounter, confrontation, and possibly conflict.
The four contributions in this section focus on two different cultural forms of communication: the small image, a seemingly innocuous, inoffensive and lonely trifle; and the mass festival, carnival and pilgrimage, obviously crowd-pulling, impressive and compelling displays of collective beliefs–secular and religious. But this is a mistaken prima facie intelligence. A closer attention shows that they share two essential features. First, purposively by their ostentatious display in the open they intend to invest common and public spaces in order to overtly or covertly imprint the minds of the public at large. Second, this display turns common and public spaces into a stage where contending forces vie with one another to occupy the apron. Power and ambivalence pull the semantic potential of these forms apart ...