Krippendorff lectures at ASC West

Professor Klaus Krippendorff visited USC’s Annenberg School for Communication for a lecture. Monday October 10, titled “From Conversation to Discourse.”   Prof. Krippendorff started with the observation that many disciplines, including communication, take language for granted or transparent, for example, by talking “about” a subject matter instead of acknowledging that the nature of their language has much to do with how their subject matter is constructed. his presentation explored his conception of discourse as a system involving not just texts but also all other material artifacts that a discourse community produces: the construction of an observer-less causal universe by physics, living organisms by biologists, or psycho-pathologies by psycho-therapists. According to him, discourses are self-organizing systems that operate in language, draw and maintain boundaries around themselves through speech acts of belonging and not belonging, institute recurrent practices, and above all construct their own discourse-specific realities. His conception of discourse invites investigations of how discourses prepare outsiders to become certified members of their discourse communities, colonialize each other, create conflicts at their boundaries, and more.