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Communication Research and Practice


Edited By Adrienne Shaw and D. Travers Scott

This volume brings together a range of papers that fruitfully engage with the theme of the 2017 Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, held in San Diego, California: Interventions. Here "intervention" points to a range of communication practices that engage with a political event, social phenomena, industrial or socio-cultural practice, in order to alter and disrupt events and the norms and practices that contribute to their occurrence.  Interventions prohibit events from proceeding in a "normal" course. Interventions approach or critique practices and phenomenon resulting from tensions or absences occurring in: events, structures, (institutional governmental, media industry), discourses, and socio-cultural and subcultural events. Intervention presents the opportunity to explore boundaries, assumptions and strategies that appear to be different or irreconcilable, viewing them instead as possibilities for productive engagements. Communication interventions—in both research and practice—insert insights from diverse voices, marginal positions, emerging organizational practices and digital technologies, to broaden and enrich dialogue. Interventions bring complex reframings to events and phenomenon. Interventions seek to alter a course and effect changed practices in a range of spheres: governmental and social institutions, cultural and nongovernmental groups; industry and organizational life, new media and digital spaces, socio-cultural environments, subcultural groups, health environments, affective and behavioral life, and in everyday life.

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6. Voicing Communal Wisdom in Communication Scholarship: Theorizing African Cultural Noesis in Research and Practice (Bala A. Musa)


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6. Voicing Communal Wisdom in Communication Scholarship: Theorizing African Cultural Noesis in Research and Practice


The wise man’s (woman’s) mantle covers a broad cast of characters: the father (mother) confessor, the ritual elder, the shaman, the wisdom teacher, the statesman (woman), the spirit guide, the sorcerer (sorceress), the medicine man (woman), the mentor, the spiritual director, the liturgist and, in most cultures, the priest(ess).

—Rohr and Martos (1990, p. 153; in parentheses added)

Society faces many challenges for which the tools and approaches of communication scholarship and practice can be useful resources in the search for solutions. These include threats posed by global climate change, nuclear conflict, superbugs, chemical weapons, physical and virtual terrorism, world food crises, healthcare crises, economic meltdowns, and natural disasters, to name but a few. At the regional level, Africa is confronted with ethnic and religious conflicts, natural disasters, corruption, political instability, etc. The Middle East has been a perennial theater of wars and crises, from Iraq to Yemen, and from Syria to Afghanistan. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has defied multiple peace initiatives. Communities in the United States have witnessed increasing tension and insecurity, ranging from gun violence in schools, streets, synagogues, churches, and mosques, to racial tensions and ideological/culture wars. Mass protests have become daily occurrences.

In such atmospheres, researchers cannot afford the luxury of detaching themselves from daily realities. Instead, they must seek to...

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