Unity and diversity in communication: inevitable, permanent co-habitation, harmonious co-existence or two forces waiting to converge?


  • Maria da Graça Lisboa Castro Pinto Porto - Portugual





It is hard to approach the topic “unity and diversity in communication” without seeing in it a convergence of anatagonic forces at least from two perspectives, not only because of the conjunction “and” but also because of the meaning of “communication”. It may therefore be read bearing in mind: 1. the phenomenon “globalization” and subsequently the effect of “the new powers in a global society”1 , including, naturally, communication as power. One of the antagonic forces stems from the fact that although the aim of globalization is to create a homogeneous global society (see the imension “unity”) it is confronted with various local powers2 . In order to obtain the expected “unity” in a harmonious way while preserving the positive aspects of diversity and therefore affording everyone equality of opportunities, among other things, it is guarantee equality of benefits and interests in the different domains; 2. and the notion of “communication” – as a process and not as power in the above mentioned sense –, which has to do with sharing (cf. the notion of “unity”) different points of view, different types of knowledge. In fact, communication would not exist if the difference among people was not taken into account and if there were no different contents to convey and share (Boulinier, 1989, p. 4). Finally, we could say that the essence of communication lies in the difference among the actors implied in it. Yet, the difference which is the essence of communication cannot exist without a common code, implying therefore “unity”, which has to be mastered by the emissor(s) and receiver(s), as protagonists of the process of codification and decodification required by communication.