Say not to Say: New Perspectives on Miscommunication


Riva, G.,
Anolli, L.,
Ciceri, R.

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The naive and simplicistic idea of communication in terms of semantic transparency is just one side of the different aspects of communication acts. From our experience we know well that communication can be successful without being ideal, perfect and unproblematic. In general communication can be considered as a planned attitude strategically aimed at achieving intentions, and as a direction of practical reasoning. This attitude coordinates the relationship among intention, plan and performance in agreement with context constraints and opportunities. Its aim is to get the utmost effectiveness in order to realize a communicative intention.

In fact, understanding the meaning of an utterance does not imply the understanding of a transparent semantic content determined solely by its autonomous truth conditions. Understanding it is more similar to a interactive play in which the players have to negotiate reciprocal intentions. In this sense communication is a "risky task" in which the borderline between communicative and non communicative intentionality in speakers is a territory that needs further investigation.

So, discursive interactions have their opaque border areas where communication still succeeds without being openly and explicitly strived for. In particular the attention of the book will be focussed on the problematic case of say to not say where the attitude of speakers seems to be intentionally ambiguous, confused, misdirected and pretended.

"Say not to Say: New perspectives on miscommunication" wants to explore the mayor ways in which miscommunication can be experienced in our daily life.

The book will be organized around a basic set of themes. The essential progression of each section is from abstract matters of theory to those of specific refinement and application. Relevant considerations will be presented in three stages. First is a broad theoretical conception of the conditions that are necessary for various acts or episodes of miscommunication to occur. Second, is the issue of how the theoretical conception of miscommunication in question applies to any number of salient conditions in which an array of agreements, disagreements understandings and misunderstanding come to light. Third is a concern with individual effort and shared struggle to improve the quality or substance of face-to-face interaction with fellow creatures like ourselves.