The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate the problems Habeas has analyzed in terms of the modern world, and to put emphasis on basic assumptions and key concepts of his communication theory of society.
Once the theoretical concepts have been covered, some illustrative examples will e discussed to show how these ideas could be used to analyze certain real-life social issues in today’s society. Jјurge Habeas Habeas is one of the greatest representatives of contemporary modernism, but for him, modernism remains as a project that is incomplete.
Only when the structures of inequality that lead to a distorted communication between social groups have been transformed into more humane and egalitarian institutions, can the full promise of modernism be realized.
That is when free and open communication between social groups becomes possible in late modern society. He studied the conflicts within modern society, and his theory could be called the “theory of pathology of modernity” because he views modernity as being at a variance with itself (Ritzier, 2008).
This statement by Habeas means that the rationality that has begun to characterize the social systems is different and in conflict with the rationality that characterizes the life-world. Habeas distinguishes several types of knowledge in the social sciences as well as their underlying cognitive interests.
He claims that outlining this typology of knowledge and associated human interests is to display the fact that not one yep of knowledge can fit all possible human needs. His classification of the different types of knowledge may be understood as a critique of positivism and scientist, which helped him to distinguish, later on in his works, two aspects of our contemporary social worlds; system and life-world. The term “system” refers to the top-down, large-scale processes that seem to govern our lives from above. There may be consequences for ourselves and for those around us due to decisions made by governments or by private corporations.
Many of these decisions are made without a true discussion or any participation on our part. These decisions that are made, usually have been justified in the name of technical necessity, greater efficiency and/or political realism. This is what Habeas has termed the “instrumental rationality” (Turner, 1998). The term “life- world” on the other hand, is the part of our lives in which the processes of communication and interaction play a very important role. Within the life-world, the social actors reach an inter-subjective understanding through agreement or consensus.
One of the most serious problems of contemporary capitalist society for Habeas is that of the colonization of the life-world by the system. This involves the restatement of the Hibernia thesis that stated, “in the modern world, formal rationality is triumphing over substantive rationality and coming to dominate areas that formerly were defined by substantive rationality” (Ritzier, 2008). It is the domination and permeation of systems and structures over everyday life and is characterized by the increasing rationalization of the life- world.
Habeas defined two major types of action, which were the productive- rational action and the communication action. Any distortion of communication leads to a distortion of the processes of rationalization. This in turn, defines the way the system will work. He believed that society’s problems could be solved if society focused on the rationalization of communication rather than on productive-rational action. He argued that the rationalization that allowed for open communication would lead to a lot less repression and rigidity in society as well as “individual flexibility and reflectivity” (Ritzier, 2008).
In contrary to Mar’s work based on the productive system, Habeas focused on the normative system and felt that the free and open communication would also lead to a less storied system of norms and values. He did not believe in Mar’s ideas that the struggles of society were due to class struggles and class-consciousness, but from the distortion of communicative action. In the context of Habeas’ communication theory, communication action is defined in which, “the actions of the agents involved are coordinated not through egocentric calculations of success but through acts of reaching an understanding.
In communicative action participants are not primarily oriented to their own successes; they pursue their individual goals under the condition that they can harmonize heir plans of action on the basis of common situation definitions. ” (Ritzier, 2008). Communication theory was the basis of the pragmatics in universal pragmatics, which is what Habeas called his analysis. The communication theory identified four types of action. The first is teleological action, which acts as a means to an end. It is behavior oriented to calculate several means and to select the most appropriate ones to realize explicit goals.
These actions will become strategic when the other acting agents become involved in one’s calculations. Habeas emphasizes that this kind of action is too often insider to be rational action due to previous conceptualizations of rationality, but he argues that this view of rationality is too narrow. How could critical theory propose rational alternatives if the teleological or means-end rationality has taken over the modern world, and has oppressed people as a consequence? The answer lies in the understanding that true rationality does not exist simply in teleological action, but in communicative action (Turner, 1998).
The second type of action is the normatively regulated action, which relate to the common values of the group with normative expectations. Hence, normative action is directed towards conforming to the normative expectations of a collectively organized grouping of individuals. The third type of action is the dramatically action. This type of action involves the conscious manipulation of oneself in front of an audience or the public. It involves actors who mutually manipulate their behaviors to present their own intentions, and is also social in the fact that such manipulation is done in the context of organized activity.
All of this points towards the conclusion that this type of action is ego centered. The fourth and IANAL type of action is the communicative action. It is the interaction among agents who reach a mutual understanding about their situation or they agree upon a course of action through rational discourse and argumentation (Turner, 1998). The communication theory of Habeas focuses on two major types of action: the purposive-rational action, in other words work, and the social interaction, known as symbolic interaction or communication action. He divided the purposive-rational action even further into sub-actions.
These sub-actions are strategic and instrumental actions, which are both directed awards the PUrsUit of self-interest. Instrumental action is the calculated action of an individual towards a goal, and strategic action on the other hand, is that of two or more individuals coordinating an action in order to pursue a goal. Although purposive-rational action is used to achieve goals that are related to self-interest, the communication action serves the goal of understanding. Individuals “harmonize their plans of action on the basis of common situation definitions” (Ritzier, 2008).
Communication action is the basis of all coloratura life and is facilitated by language. Once the communication action becomes hindered or distorted, society begins to develop problems, or what Ritzier calls “pathologies” (Ritter, 2008). The two main causes of this distortion in communication action are legislations and ideologies. These must be eliminated in order to have free and open communication. Legislations are ideas that are generated by the societal systems, for example political or economic, to support the existence of the system.
They are designed to help create a distraction, and to make it unclear as to what is happening. This is simply one way in which the system dominates and controls the actors or gents within society. As discussed above, Habeas can be seen as doing a theory of the pathology of modernity since he regards modernity as being at a variance with itself. A rational society therefore, would be a society, in which both the system and the life-world were permitted to rationalize in their own manners, following their own logic.
This rationalization of the system and the life-world “would lead to a society with material abundance and control over its environments as a result of rational systems and one of truth, goodness, and beauty stemming from a rational life-world” (Ritzier, 2008). In our modern world over, the system has already come to dominate and to colonize our life- world. We are being deprived of the enrichment of life that could have been if the life-world were allowed to flourish. The colonization of the life-world by the system is the only “hallmark of modernity” as Habeas would put it (Ritzier, 2008).
It seems clear at this point that for Habeas, the perfect modern society would be a completely rational society where both the system and the life-world rationality would be able to express themselves fully without one overpowering the other. Those associated with the modern, bureaucratic, social welfare state agonize that there are problems, but their solution is to deal with them at a system level, meaning simply adding a new subsystem to deal with these issues. Habeas does not agree with this as a solution in any way, but prefers a solution based on the relationship between the system and life-world.
He claims that restraining barriers should be put in place in order to reduce any impact from the system on the life-world. The second step is to build sensors in order to increase the impact of the life-world on the system because the impulses of the life-world “must be able to enter into the self-steering of functional yester” (Ritzier, 2008). This is where the social movements enter since they represent the hopes of recouping the system and the life-world in order for them to function and rationalize to their fullest degree.
It is not very difficult to read the work of Jјurge Habeas and to apply the framework of some of his theories to the events in the modern world. It is obvious that in our society today, we are currently heading towards a more corporate globalization. This is an example of a trend that could be caused by the increasing colonization of our life-world by the high demand of the greater system-integration. Governments have signed many of the free trade agreements without ever showing any regard for the concerns of the average citizens that could be affected.
The demands of political necessity or economic efficiency for example, have dramatically outweighed any spark of concern for the democratic or public consultation. Although this is still a major issue, there are many cities that have begun a growing anti-globalization movement that has precipitated many legitimating crises in several societies around the world. Conclusion Habeas is without a doubt, a great representative of contemporary dermis, although to him, modernism still remains an incomplete project.
Only once the structures of inequality that lead to the distorted communication between social groups are transformed into more humane and egalitarian institutions, can the full promise of modernism be realized. That is when open and free communication between social groups can become possible in late modern society.
Cite this Problems Habeas in Modern Seeing
Problems Habeas in Modern Seeing. (2018, May 11). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/problems-habeas-in-modern-seeing/