Communication EthicsUNIVERSITÀ DELLA SVIZZERA ITALIANA
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- Mendrisio (Svizzera)
The course starts with a very brief introduction into ethics, either refreshing basic knowledge for those who had ethics in school or on BA level, or familiarizing those with the philosophic sub-discipline of ethics, who have not yet encountered academic reasoning about normative questions. Equipped with a basic understanding of the distinction between moral and ethics and the most important fields of applied ethics such as bio ethics, business ethics or professional ethics the course embarks on the subfield of Communication Ethics. Foundations of communication ethics are discussed in the context of rhetoric and discourse. In a next step on a more general level ethical issues in the communication process are discussed such as freedom of expression, conflict of interest, gatekeeping. On a more communication theoretical level communication ethics is introduced on the levels of a. agents, b. message, c. medium, and d. receivers and situations.
Once equipped with the theoretical foundations of communications ethics the course in the second part applies communication ethics theory on specific communication contexts: We will discuss journalism ethics in theory and practice, ethical dimensions of new technology, ethical issues in public relations and marketing, ethics in health communication, advertising ethics and finally media violence discussing the responsibility for protecting children from harm.
The third and last part of the course than relates back to theory and here the grand theory of communication as put forward by Habermas. Next to the dimension of democracy and the prospect for deliberation we will particularly focus on Habermas’ validity claims of rational communication (truth, sincerity, appropriateness, and understandability) as cornerstone of communication ethics with applications in the field of corporate communication.
50 % exam and 50 % in-course presentation.
Reading suggested for acquisition
Cheney, G.; May, S; Munshi, D. (2011): The Handbook of Communication Ethics. Routledge.
Drumwright, M. (2014): Ethical Issues in communication Processes. University of Texas, Austin.
Jensen, J. (1997): Ethical Issues in the Communication Process. Routledge.
Seele P., Lock I. (2014) Instrumental and/or Deliberative? A Typology of CSR Communication Tools. Journal of Business Ethics: 1-21. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-014-2282-9