Normes et communication. la notion de norme au carrefour d'une pluralité de processus communicationnels.

Abstract : The notion of norm at the crossroads of a plurality of communicational processes. Taking into account some recent work theorizing the norm (De longeaux, 2009; turner, 2009; and especially ostrom, 2005) and in the context of a previous essay on normativity (letourneau, 2009), the following questions will be treated: 1) What are the characteristics of what we call a norm? 2) are there different types of norms, and what are these types? 3) in which way the notion of a normative order or normativity, understood as sets of elements producing normative force, can complement this definition and typology of norms? For treating 1) and 2), we want to examine with more detail elinor ostrom's theory of norms (especially in ostrom, 2005), developed by the 2009 recipient of the Nobel Prize in economy with a large interdisciplinary group of researchers, what has been called the institutional analysis and Development (iaD) framework. this conception of what is a norm could serve as a shared terminology, especially if we want to follow Charles Sanders Peirce's advice on the usefulness of referring to a common theoretical frame susceptible of rejoining a larger group of researchers when it is possible (Peirce, 1903; 1998). that particular framework of reference (IAD) was first developed and frequently adopted afterwards to discuss issues in natural resources management (mines, forests, watersheds, fish aggregations or animal herds) but its focus has been enlarged in the last decade. What is called Common Pool resources (CPrs) includes information on wikis and similar platforms, and also health services issues, because with these cases we also have situations where a plurality of property regimes could result into abusing resources or services that are held in common. ostrom's analytical model has the advantage of simplicity, of a clear set of basic definitions that can easily be used to clarify action settings. to treat question 3 about normativity, we will refer to the authors mentioned, especially turner who provides us with an interesting synthesis on normativity but also Maesschalck, 2010; lenoble and Maesschalck, 2008. as an example, we can think of the request for growth that is strongly felt in our economic cultural world (Daly, 1996) as exerting normative force, something similar occurs with complex and disputed issues like sustainable development. We can also think about knowledge as comprising normative aspects (for some discourse or cognitive content to count as knowledge, some conditions have to be met), and obviously also communication has a plurality of normative dimensions. For instance, to discuss the rhetorical aspect of communication includes a plurality of normative components, among which the following: the speaker has to make him/herself understood by the audience. this should be of the greatest interest for communication and information sciences, especially since a certain interpretation of Max Weber has resulted in a tendency among sciences to avoid studying normative claims or components. at a larger scale, speech acts also manifest a varied normative force, which is obvious in the cases of the promise, the condemnation and one's involvement or engagement, and also elsewhere (Searle & Vanderveken, 1981). this being said without forgetting about types of normativity that are specific to certain action domains (administrative, aesthetic, scientific, etc), referring here to sets of norms, values, processes and procedures who have constraining force, a component which shows itself in discourses and in practices. the text will develop the cases mentioned (growth, sustainable development, rhetorics) to help situate those normative fields and to precise their limits. This conceptual clarification seem to be useful for a com municational theory of the norm in organizations but more largely on the social and political scale, reticular or inter-organizational (Serres, 1972) levels. One important critical issue is the following: to have a norm is hypothetically to have a rule for action. But the fact that we have a norm obviously does not suffice to decide if the norm is good or has value (Dewey, 1939; létourneau, 2010); we need to distinguish two levels, valuation and critical evaluation. We find ourselves in the following situation: the established norm presupposes definite ends and valuations/evaluations on many le vels, and criteria that permit to determine thresholds of acceptability and of non-acceptability of some phenomena, in a series of more or less open discussions. The norm fixes the forbidden or the permitted, in some cases the mandatory; it does not necessarily need to result in absence or completion, zero or one. Said otherwise, from the point of view of a study of communicational interaction processes concerning the norms (as scientific as possible), we need to distinguish and characterize three different levels that can have common aspects: 1) norm elaboration processes 2) the communicational content of norms (including the pragmatic aspects, with understanding intervening as interpretation and application of the norm) 3) spaces of an evaluative and critical discussion of the norm, that come a posteriori and can express themselves in three great spheres: colloquial discussions among colleagues and acquaintances, for instance in a common organization; discussions of the written and electronic press, those of the parallel press called sometimes blogosphere, sometimes cyberspace. In some cases those discussions can recognize and confirm the value of the norm, whereas in other cases that value will be put in question by referring to criteria that obviously vary in function of contexts, other norms of reference, evolving situations, etc. in societies pursuing a democratic ideal (which goes most of the times with specific institutions), the role of public opinion if of the foremost importance at each stage, provided we accept a radically constructionist theory of that opinion.
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Alain Létourneau. Normes et communication. la notion de norme au carrefour d'une pluralité de processus communicationnels.. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. pp.140. ⟨hal-00839237v2⟩

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