Silvio Waisbord, Guest Professor at Stockholm University’s Department of Media Studies, gave a Higher Seminar on September 21, 2016. Organized and sponsored by the Leading Research Environment “Global Media Studies and the Politics of Mediated Communication” (Director: Miyase Christensen), the event addressed the challenge of attending to disconnections and fostering communication across social, political and cultural differences.
In the Higher Seminar, Silvio Waisbord introduced his ongoing work on the theorization of the social disconnections derived from apathy, intolerance and hatred. In response to a tendency to over-conceptualize connectivity observed in the field of media and communication studies during the last two decades, the lecture addressed two central concerns: What are the possibilities and limits of cross-cutting communication? And, assuming that communication across differences is possible, what kind of conceptual kit is required in order for existing normative aspirations to materialize? Based on a review of existing debates regarding the causes of fractured interaction in the face of digital connectivity, Waisbord argued for an analytical shift from connections to disconnections, and argued for examining the media not only as agents of integration among like-minded people, but also as catalysts of transversal communication among differing parties.