Cees Hamelink Discusses Global Communication

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    • 00:04

      CEES HAMELINK: Actually, it all begins in a very practical way,because in the 1960s I worked as a journalistand as a foreign correspondent for Dutch radio and television.I've worked for newspapers and occasionallyfor an international press agency.I went to the Middle East.Went to Africa.So got hands-on experience with what global communication-- or,at that time we still called it international communication--what it is.

    • 00:29

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And then in the 1970s, I moved from journalismto the international institutions.I worked for many years for the World Council of Churches,for the United Nations.And again, got very much involvedin seeing how important international communication,or slowly we then began to call it global communication was.

    • 00:52

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And then, from the 1980s on I began teaching it.So now I've been teaching that topic for many decades.And I still think it's tremendously exciting.It's fascinating.It's a great topic.I think all students should really at least followone course in global communication.Because after all these experiences,if today I would have to give a description,I belong to the school of scholars who don't reallybelieve in definitions.

    • 01:20

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: You can give thousands of definitions,and then someone comes up and makes another definitionwhich is even better.So it's best to give a description.I would describe the field as the totality of all the storiesthat people tell each other that cross borders.We are in contrast to all other animals.We are a storytelling species.

    • 01:42

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: We like telling stories.We tell stories about life and about deathand about love about just anything that we ponder.And we do that in many different formats.From the newscast to propaganda campaignsto diplomatic communication, it's all telling stories.So I believe the field is everythingthat is moved across borders in terms of storiesthat people tell each other worldwide.

    • 02:09

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Now, why is that so important?That's so important because over history, people have alwaysmoved things across borders.From early on, we were traders.We transported goods across borders.We transported ourselves across borders.60,000 years ago when we leave the African savannasas homo sapiens to travel around the world,we move ourselves around the global,or what was at that time the globe.

    • 02:42

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Since a couple of centuries, we move many capitalacross borders.Now, tremendously important.And, of course, we more stories across borders.Now, what is so important about the field is that increasinglywe see, certainly in the 21st century, that basic to allof the flows, basic to all other things that we transportacross borders, is this flow of stories.

    • 03:10

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Because when you transport goods,you can't transport goods without communication,without messages, without storiesabout where these things have to be transported to,what the addresses are, freight papers.The same is true, of course, if youmove people around the world.Look at what happens to an airplane ticket, or your creditcard.

    • 03:31

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: It's all stories about where you go, what dietary provisionsyou may want-- things like that.Your hotel reservation.So it's all stories that we tell.Without those stories, you couldn'tdo international traveling.And without those stories, also youcouldn't move money across borders,because money, of course, is no longer transportedin the physical sense, but it's transportedin terms of a story.

    • 03:55

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: I transfer some money to you, but I'm notgoing to carry a suitcase with enormous quantities of coins.But I'm telling a story to my bank,and I tell the bank to transmit that money to your bank,and then your bank gets that story and then your banktells that to you.So it's all about storytelling.So I think that storytelling across bordershas become really essential to all of the things that we do.

    • 04:20

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And global communication as we see it todaydoes not only have an enormously important political dimension.Most of what happens in international politicsand international diplomacy, for example,in intellectual propaganda, are basicallystories that we tell across borders.In the economy, this whole storytellinghas become a major business where millions of dollarsjust go around and are invested.

    • 04:47

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And just look at the film industry, for example.The film industry is a good exampleof us telling stories to each other.Enormously big business.Big transnational corporations arevery crucial in today's world economy.And then if you look at the military field,military activities have largely becomeinformation communication activities.

    • 05:09

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: So we tell stories.Sometimes awful stories, but that's what we do.And of course, then, in terms of culture.Increasingly in the world we have to talk to each other.The stranger is no longer the strangerthat lives in this country, but a strangerhas become someone that you meet on your holy dayor that lives next door as a migrant.

    • 05:32

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: So we also have to learn how to communicateand how to tell stories to strangers.So in that sense, an important dimensionof global communication is what we oftencall intercultural communication.And intercultural communication is reallythe conversation with strangers.And I think it's important for studentsto begin to understand that this field is not only basic to whathappens in the world-- in politics, economics,in the military field, and in culture--but they also need to, I think, be involved in the field.

    • 06:10

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Because our students today are the future citizensof the world.They are the future cosmopolitans.And I think it is crucial for themto understand that unless we learnhow to globally communicate, which means only if we learnto conduct a global conversation with strangers,does this planets have a chance of survival?

    • 06:37

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And that is something that reallyneeds a lot of attention, because conductinga global conversation strangers means, for example, that wehave to learn to listen.We can no longer just keep talking to the stranger.We need to listen to the stranger.Well, that's almost close to impossible for most of us.

    • 07:00

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: We like talking, but listening?Listening also means that we all haveto question our own assumptions.What are really our ideas with whichwe approach the perception of others?Now, learning that-- learning the art of listeningand learning to question our own assumptions, I think,is a major, very tall order.

    • 07:24

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: But I think it's an order that's wehave to impose on the future citizens of the world.And what often happens that if you get students together,certainly when it's an intercultural group-- when youhave, say, Chinese students and American studentsand German students and Dutch students-- you invite themto participate in a conversation on whatever topic it may be.

    • 07:46

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And if you would record that conversationand you would show it back to them,the first thing is that they'll see immediatelythat they were all talking.And that they were often all talking at the same time.And that they very rarely really listening.So that's the first thing-- that you see that.That you're not doing that.

    • 08:07

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And then, of course, what you then need to explainis that if you are serious about wanting to listen,that you take enormous risks.So that's probably the second thingapart from knowing it and seeing it, that you're not listening.The more difficult thing is to acceptthat when you begin to listen in any conversation,you take enormous risks.

    • 08:31

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: You take the risk that you listenso well that you have to tell the other person, hey,I really think you're right.I always thought my assumptions werecorrect, but now that I really listen.So the risk of the real conversationin the sense of the real dialogue.And for me, that is what makes communicationreally interesting.

    • 08:55

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: All the other things, like all the campaignsand telling people, the broadcasting-- that'sall interesting, but that's all transmission.That's not, in my notebook, communication.Communication is the real exchange that we conduct.A real dialogue.And the problem of the dialogue isthat it's a risky venture, because if I listen wellI may have to come to the conclusionthat I may have to change.

    • 09:21

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And, of course, most of us have an enormous resistanceagainst change.But you can do it.I have the experience, over the years,that many students around the worlddoing workshops on listening and the art of the dialogue,you can learn.But again, it's not easy.It's very demanding, but it can be done.Well, there seems to be a myth going around the world thattells us that the new media are really, totallydifferent from the old media, and thatas a result of the fact of them being very different,we also communicate in different ways.

    • 09:58

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: I'm a great believer in continuity.And I know there's changes in history, fortunately.I know there is always a level of discontinuity.But at the end of the day, the continuity in human historyis far more important than the discontinuity.We hang on to believe that we had, a long time,we find it difficult to give up and to fundamentally change.

    • 10:23

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And so, of course, the new media as they are calledare not that new.Anyway, in technology, very rarely anything is really new.It's always a further developmenton what was already there.And the assumption that bringing a technology thathas potential for interactivity would certainlymake people to communicate in an interactive way I thinkis asking a bit too much.

    • 10:50

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Technology never creates those revolutionary changes.And if people don't understand the art of conversation,of interactive communication-- and then,certainly, across cultural borders,because, again, that's what global communication isall about-- whatever new technologiesyou provide them with, that will not change that.

    • 11:12

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And I think if you look at what happens with the internet,for example, and if you look at all those people communicatingthrough the internet, the studies that I've seen so farmainly seem to indicate that people are either,in the traditional, transmitting and notreally conversing and not really listening.And certainly not listening across culturalborders, because there's a great tendency on the internetto stick to your own group.

    • 11:39

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Stick to your own community and talk within your own community.And you usually just talk and very rarely listen.So I think that the technology doesn't necessarilymake more people connect with each otherin an interactive way.The technology is great if you want to sell something.One of my Dutch colleagues alwayscalls the new social media not "social" media,because she says they do very little in termsof socially connecting people.

    • 12:07

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: They're really one big Tupperware party.It's all about selling things that people may notwant to have.And I think that's indeed happening.And to believe that a piece of technologywould fundamentally change the way in which peoplecommunicate.One of the great difficulties that Ihave with our field-- not just communication studiesbut with social studies in general--is that we seem to make a very strange distinction thatcomes back time and time again between so-called qualitativeresearch and quantitative research.

    • 12:44

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And, of course, for a long time itlooked as if what is called quantitative research isthe real scientific approach.Counting.Crunching numbers.Which, of course, doesn't necessarilyhelp you to understand reality.And I happen to think that science is an attempt-- oftena failed attempt-- to understand reality.

    • 13:04

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: To know where we come from or where we're going,or what we do and maybe what we should do.And the distinction that we don't make oftenin research methodology is a very strange one,because that effort to understand realityis always qualitative.It's always subjective.

    • 13:25

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: There's no scientific enterprise that's not subjective.It's always personal.Science is a way of looking at the world.But we look at the world through a framework.The framework is defined by who we areand by our power or our lack of power of imagination.So that, again, is something that Iwould like to see that we get rid of.

    • 13:48

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And I would also like to see that we get rid of the notionthat there's only one approach to understanding reality.What I always tell my students in global communication,since they deal with a very complex issue--and this is one of the important developments,I think, in the field of global communication--that the field has become far more complex than, say, 20,30 years ago.

    • 14:18

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Complexity is a key notion.Now, you can only study complexitywith a multitude of approaches.Because if you say, I'm going to choose one researchmethodology, from the start that is already doomed to fail.And what I always tell the students--you need to be a bit eclectic.You look at something which is so complicated that the bestmetaphor for global communicationsis the tropical rainforest.

    • 14:47

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Studying a tropical rainforest is extremely difficult,because everything is related to everything else.It's a total interdependent system.There's no longer in the tropical rainforest linearcourse or connections.You can't say that if A happens, then B will happen.That doesn't work.

    • 15:07

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: If A happens, maybe C happens or D happens.So you also have to give up the idea-- which is, again,sort of like a mythical construct--that you can predict.That you can forecast developments.That you can forecast, for example, the social impactof technological developments.We can't, and we just have to admit that we can't.

    • 15:28

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: It's as complicated as the tropical rainforest.And you're only going to begin to understandwhat happens if you use a variety of tools.So any student should develop an enormous box with tools.Because you need insights from psychology.

    • 15:48

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: You need insights from sociology.You need insights from international relations,from conflict studies, from cultural studies.You need all these insights.And you need, as a student, to have the courageto make your own selection and notbe intimidated by any teacher who tells you,this is the way to do this.

    • 16:09

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: You need to be able to stand up and say,I find this interesting.I find this fascinating.I'd like to understand, for example,how international propaganda works.And I know it's extremely complicated.There are no easy answers.There's no single answers to this question.So I need a variety of instrumentsto begin to understand that.

    • 16:30

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: So that, I think, is crucial for students to do.And then, of course, what they'llhave to do if they want to get an understanding of this field,they'll have to be critical.I think if research is not critical, it's not research.Research needs to be critical.

    • 16:50

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: It needs to be driven and inspiredby this famous saying of Socrates.But Socrates in Old Athens stood in front of judgeswhen he was sentenced to death, sentenced to drink the poison.Before he drank the poison, he looked at his judgesand he said, the only thing I've done-- Ihave critically examined life.

    • 17:15

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And without critical examination,life is not worth living.And I would really hope that studentsthat I have had the privilege to teachwill get that method, that they'llhave to permanently, critically examine life.And if they study global communication,they'll have to permanently, critically investigate whatthat is all about.

    • 17:39

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And that's difficult, because thatmeans they have to ask, often, unpleasant questions.First of all, questions about their own assumption.That was the real power of the Socratic dialogue,that he made people to reflect on their own assumptions.He made them say, well actually, I always thought I knew.

    • 17:60

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: But when it comes down to it, I don't really know.And that's an important lesson, Ithink, for all students-- to begin to understand that,to have the courage to do that.So reflect on life, and always ask that nasty question--but is it true?Which is difficult and which is often unpleasant.

    • 18:21

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: I tell my students always, now that you'vecome to academia, not that you've come to university,be prepared to be a very unpleasant person.You'll be the person who forever will spoil the Christmas party,because it's your duty as an intellectual to always ask,but is it true?And you will forever sit in meetings with familyand with friends where everyone willhave their own idiosyncratic assumptions and ideasand stereotypes and biases, certainlywhen it comes to international issues and to conflict issuesand to different cultures.

    • 18:58

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Everyone will have his or her ideas.And you will be the one who will permanently ask,but is it true?And that makes you sort of like a spoilsport.You're not necessarily welcome company at the next Christmasparty.But unless you think critical, you'renot going to make any advance.

    • 19:18

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Now, critical thinking also implies--and that's difficult for many students--is that in science we never deliver final proof.It's always expected from scientists that we have proof,and I think that's another mistaken conception.The only thing that we can do in whatever field--and certainly in such a complex field as global communication--we come up with approximations that are valid for a time.

    • 19:50

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Temporary approximations.That's the best we can do.They seem to be valid for a time,and then we do really our best to refute them.And then when they are refuted, welook for a different set of approximations.That's what makes the game of scienceare enormously fascinating and exciting.

    • 20:12

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: It's also a very deep problem, because I think most of uswould like our research to be meaningful.And often what we mean by that isthat we want it to have some impact on society.We want to play a role in social transformations.

    • 20:35

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: We want to impact policy makers.And I think once we think critically,we have to come to the conclusionthat that, most of the time, does not work.And I can say that now after having been in this fieldfor so long, for so many decades,and having written so many studiesfor international institutions-- for the United Nations,for European institutions-- and always havingto come to the conclusion that real deep impact, it never has.

    • 21:12

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: For a number of reasons.One reason is, and I think that's really important,we form the research field seem to assumethat politicians or policymakers-- these may alsobe business policymakers-- want to havefull information about topics.

    • 21:34

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: That they want to be fully informed.But that's a myth.Most policymakers don't want to be fully informed.It's a real problem.It's a real trouble.If you're fully informed, there's maybe certain thingsthat you should not do.And usually in policy, people have already made up their mindas where to go.So you do a major study on the impact of global communicationor whatever, on the digital culture or whatever,and the politician has already made up his or her mindas to where to go.

    • 22:03

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Now, if your study supports the decision thatwas already taken, it's a great studybecause it provides an alibi for what was decided already.If the study doesn't really fit into the preconceived patterns,it goes into the wastepaper basket.And actually, most.We should have no illusions about it.It's been my experience all these years, particularlywith the United Nations, that most of the social scienceresearch we do ends up in the wastepaper basket.

    • 22:30

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And I think that has to do with the factthat we have to learn that the worlds of research--whether it's global communication or anythingelse-- and the rules of policymaking-- whether it'snational or regional or international, UnitedNations or Europe or whatever-- are totally differentuniverses.In the world of research, we look for complexity.

    • 22:56

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: In the world of practice and policymaking,we want to have simplicity.And in the world of research, we need time.We need patience.We say, we don't know.It takes another 10, 20 years before we know.In the world of practice and policymaking,everything is always an urgent.

    • 23:22

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: The answer-- and that is probablywhere the core of the problem is--we are expected to give answers, and we are not very good at it.I can now say after so many yearsin this field of doing scientific exercises,we're not very good at giving answers.We often pretend, because societyexpects us to give answers.

    • 23:42

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: The want to have the answers from the scientists,but we are not very good at that.And certainly not when it comes to the real big questions.If someone would ask, but you've studied global communicationfor all these decades.What does it tell us about the good life?What does it tell us about life and death in different culturesand so on and so forth?

    • 24:03

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: I have to admit that I'm speechless.Those real, deep questions-- certainly when they are moralissues-- the scientist has no answer to.But what we can do is ask questions.And I think what I would like studentsto do is not focus so much on this obsessionwith providing answers, but lookingat how do we all ask questions.

    • 24:31

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Again, the art of asking questions is very essential.And I think the only way in which wecan be helpful to the world of practice--being the journalism world or being the policy worldof the United Nations committees thatmake decisions about communication questionsand the information society-- is by teachingthose who have to make those policies to askthe right questions.

    • 24:57

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: It sounds very simple.But mind you, one of the colleaguesand good friends, who has unfortunatelydied some years ago, that was a great influential figurein my study of global communication, James Halloran.Jim Halloran, a the professor from Leicester.Jim had a famous saying which I thought was very important.

    • 25:20

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: He always said, if you ask silly questions,you get bloody silly answers.And he said, most of what we do in social sciencesis we ask bloody silly questions and we get the wrong answers.We really need to learn how to ask good questions.So I would appeal to all the studentsof global communication-- help us.

    • 25:42

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Help us out.Begin to think about what would be the right questions.How do you formulate them?And then, because as everyone knows and as all of usknow from our own lives, once youknow how to formulate a question really sharply and reallyprecisely, the core of the answeris already in the question.

    • 26:04

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: So you stimulate people to find their own answer.We should not provide the answersto the policymakers and the politicians.They can find that themselves.But we help them put the right questions.And I've been very fortunate in my lifethere have been so many good friends and colleaguesand scholars that have been very influential, like the BritishJim Halloran.

    • 26:30

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And why were they so important to me?Because they helped me to ask the right questions.It's difficult.It's almost like developing a certain lifestyle,to develop a certain mental attitude.To some extent, it's not only a matter of learning some tricks.It's a matter, also, of your own psychology.Be open to it.And then, of course, once you have a group--we don't have time for this now, but if we had another afternoonand we had a group of young peopletogether we could demonstrate it.

    • 26:59

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: We could show how that works, and wecould ask them to think about questions.What is it they really want to know?But first of all, before you get there youneed to rid yourself off this wrong notionthat you have to provide answers.And that already is sort of like a whole psychological process.

    • 27:20

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: But as I said before, if I look at my own work in the fieldof global communication, and if Ilook at the list of people who I considerto be influential-- like Halloran, like Herb Schiller,like Noam Chomsky, like Edward [INAUDIBLE],all these good figures-- they were mainly influentialbecause they helped me to ask the right questions.

    • 27:50

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Because of their critical thinking,they make me reflect on my own assumptions.Now mind you, in order to get there,what I also would like to say is that you're alwaysinfluenced by others.As someone said, we are little people, dwarves,standing on the shoulders of giants.

    • 28:16

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: That's why we have this enormous prospect.We can see ahead.We can see in the distance.But it's only because we stand on someone else's shoulders.And I think for any student, it's really importantto begin to think about, whose shoulders do I stand on?Now, what is problematic, I think, is that we often, then,tend to look only at people from our own disciplineor from our own field.

    • 28:42

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And of course, I've been inspiredby important people in the communications field.But in the end of the day, you alwayslook for inspiration beyond that.And I think that's very crucial.I think it's very crucial for studentswho study communication that sometimes you understand moreof the field by looking, for example, at literatureor looking at philosophy.

    • 29:07

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Studying the French existentialist philosophersmay be more helpful than looking at a communication study.Looking at the major pieces of world literature-- readingDostoevsky-- may help you to understandmore of the human mind than readinga handbook of psychology.So the message, basically, is lookfor a variety of sources of inspirationthat you find within research and within your own fieldor your own discipline, but also look beyond thatand look for all kinds of inspirational figuresthat help you to ask the right questions.

    • 29:48

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Well, the inevitable question of, course,is where is the field heading.The easy answer to that is I don't know.And that would also be the only honest answer,because we don't know anything about the future.Yes, we've developed all kinds of complicated methodsand statistical calculations to do all kinds of extrapolations.

    • 30:10

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And it's difficult to make people feel liberatedfrom the notion that we can forecast,because we always want to forecast.It's almost like an obsessive sort of trait.And it's understandable, also, because the futureis more important than anything else.The past is bygone.

    • 30:30

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And you can regret the past, but there's notmuch you can do about it.The only thing you can do something about is the future.And the irritation about the futureis that we don't know what it is and that wehave no real valid and reliable methods to forecast the future.So what I do with my students is wedo scenario exercises, which means that we say,let's look at possible stories about possible futures.

    • 30:58

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: There's never only one future.There's always a multiplicity of futures.Now, let's try to create plausible storiesabout what possible futures there may be.It's a method that's not widely applied in social science.Certainly not in communications.

    • 31:20

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Theres a World Future Society, wherepeople talk about future developments.And they often go there-- it's a professional association--and they rarely ever meet people from the communication field.It is as if in the communication fieldwe are not really interested in the future.And I would like to see that studentsget more and more involved in future studies,in the sense of building scenarios.

    • 31:45

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Just like a leading energy company Shell does.But great deal of success.They are very good at it.And there's nothing wrong with us alsolearning from those companies how to do that.So that will be one answer.The second answer, of course, in terms of the futureis, where would you like yourselfto see the field of study moving?

    • 32:07

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Because you can talk about the futurein the sense of the possible scenarios.You can also talk about it in terms of the normative sense.Where would you like the field to go?Well, of course, I would like to seethat we learn to master the art of the global conversationwith strangers.Because I think if we don't, then the planet is doomed.

    • 32:30

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: That sounds like a very strong, sweeping statement,but I really seriously believe that weare on the wrong path today.We are the first species that does whateverit can to destroy itself before nature calls us.All species will disappear from the planet,as biologists can tell you.We will also disappear.

    • 32:53

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And I think for some other animals,that may be a great relief.But we seem to do really whateverwe can to sort of speed up that process,and I don't really see the need for that.But if we want to hang on, we needto learn that conversation.And that's where I would like to see the fieldmove academically.

    • 33:17

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: We haven't spent enough attention on finding outand exploring how the findings from evolutiontheory in biology can be applied to social phenomena,can be applied in the fields of psychology,culture studies, and communication.

    • 33:37

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And the good old Charles Darwin wrote already,in his book called The Evolution of Species,that he believed that what he had foundwould also be applicable in the fields of social sciencesand the field of psychology.And I think he was definitely right.But it seems as if we walk around that, still, in a verycareful and prudent way, as if wedon't dare to [INAUDIBLE] that.

    • 34:03

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: But I think we have to go there.In order to find new openings in the field,I think we have to find ways of applying things we know nowfrom biological pollution also to the cultural field.Mind you, we are the only speciesthat doesn't only go through a biological evolution.We also go through a cultural evolution.

    • 34:26

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And I think that cultural evolution,of which global communication is part,can only be understood by acceptingsome of the theoretical insights that Darwinist biology teachesus.Because also, mind you, we are veryweak in terms of theory in the social sciences.Also in the communications field.

    • 34:47

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: We h very little in the sense of real academic solid theories.One of the best scientific theories we have todayis, indeed, evolution theory.So I would like us to explore what use we can make out that,and whether that helps us to better understandthe complexity of the phenomena that we deal with.

    • 35:10

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: I think it could be a very promising approach.Well, the most important thing that studentsshould be aware of is, indeed, to remain throughout our livescritical questioners asking critical questions.Never taking anything just at face value.

    • 35:31

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Not taking things for granted.And also, be modest about what the field can achieve.And indeed, realizing that they'vegot to learn to be able to converse with people thatare strange to them-- that have different ideas,different notions, that look differently--but that are our fellows on this planet.

    • 35:56

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: We've got to do it, in the cooperative sense.One of the things that I would like for students to understandthat, unfortunately, today studentsgrow up in a highly competitive environment.Academia and academic work and academic publishingis really strongly influenced by a mood of competitiveness.

    • 36:23

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And that competitiveness is fed by the strange mythicalconstruct that competition would make people better.Now, we should know better, and that'sone of the things we can learn from good old Charles Darwin.He says the only species that will surviveare the ones that cooperate.

    • 36:46

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: And from biology, we can learn that the basic of our existenceis cooperation.Whether you believe it or not-- and if you look at the world,you may not always believe that-- butwe are a very cooperative species.More than any other animal, we know how to cooperate.And I think that's what I would like students to realize.

    • 37:08

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: If they get obsessed and become partof this competitive struggle, theywill achieve far less than they arewilling to see the importance of cooperation.It's a very basic question.Do you want our species to survive?If you don't, OK, go on with fierce competition until death.

    • 37:33

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: But if you want the species to survive,you have to learn to be cooperative.So the basic challenge for us is how can studentslearn, with each other, to developwhat I would call cooperative communication.Because that's difficult.

    • 37:54

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Why is that so difficult?Because if they look around in the world--if they look, for example, at television-- what they'llsee, more than anything else theywill see competitive communication.We've made almost anything into a competition,from female beauty to science.We have scientific quizzes, whichI think is the worst we can do to science.

    • 38:16

      CEES HAMELINK [continued]: Who knows the best answer?We have strange competitions in the musical world,as if you can say he or she is a better musicianthan these other musicians.That really makes very little sense,and it certainly doesn't help our future.So please, students, learn how to cooperate and helpus develop, by writing marvelous theses and beautifuldissertations, on how can we cooperatively communicatein order to rescue the planet?

Cees Hamelink Discusses Global Communication

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Abstract

In this interview with Cees Hamelink, learn the importance of global communication and how it can impact our society. Cees describes to us intercultural communication, complex thinking, misconceptions of communication and social phenomena. We are provided insight on how listening is essential to communication. Learn how students who study communications have to think critically. It is not necessarily providing answers, but asking questions instead.

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Cees Hamelink Discusses Global Communication

In this interview with Cees Hamelink, learn the importance of global communication and how it can impact our society. Cees describes to us intercultural communication, complex thinking, misconceptions of communication and social phenomena. We are provided insight on how listening is essential to communication. Learn how students who study communications have to think critically. It is not necessarily providing answers, but asking questions instead.

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