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IACM 2023

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Building New Possibilities For Social Liberation Through Communication

Communication is one of the main pillars that help build relationships, making it crucial to understand the forms of communication people use. In the present study, we want to expand to a new study object that we are interested in called Liberating Communication (LC) which is an attitude of recognition of oppressed relations in society, to help communicate without colonial moorings. The LC works on the construction of the violence concept and its combat through liberty. It is only possible to analyze the violence inside its contexts, not when it is isolated. The LC comes as a revolutionary tool to understand violence with a macroscopic look at social relations and contexts. This makes the understanding of what is violent within the awareness of reality. When looking at violence from an isolated perspective, it loses the comprehension of this phenomenon, because it does not consider the relationships and facts of who is suffering the violence. The present work will encourage to innovate in the possibilities of communication that recognizes people’s realities and social contexts and use it to manage social conflicts. For example, if we look at Black people in their work context, using LC will probably help to understand the difficulties resulting from structural racism, problems in staying alive, and the capitalist system having a project to criminalize Black people related to work. Instead of trying to use communication techniques to guess about people’s feelings, needs, and demands and help to communicate through it (e.g. Non-Violent Communication (NVC)). Using LC instead of other communication techniques is that most of them were made by privileged people and an elitist science and that occurs to be inaccessible for most of the population to learn (Nicolau & Assis, 2023). Society motivates people to learn new ways to communicate which increases a deficit in people's conscientize about how, where, with who they live, and where in society they stand and belong. The importance of LC is to help people understand their intersectionality and use it to manage their relations and social position. Bringing the intersectional approach allowed us to compare the population who use techniques to communicate and exclude the intersectionality, and who do not. We argue that those who use those techniques tend to colonize and be more violent to people who do not use them (Nicolau, 2022). That is why this presentation has been made with the critics of the Non-Violent Communication technique and Paulo Freire’s books to analyze it because we wanted to improve communication knowledge by using people’s intersectionality. We reviewed 4 books on Non-Violent Communication author books and we used 4 books by Paulo Freire to start to build the LC. We have been building LC since 2018 with our research in Psychology, Education, and Communication with the goal of rethinking the ways we communicate means releasing people from society's violence. We argue that this is one of the differences between other communication techniques and LC. The others will look only at the violence and what is happening at the moment and will judge that the non-use of this technique is considered violent. In contrast, LC will have a wider look at the situation and consider if the way the person communicated is indeed the best way they could have done it with a broader view of the context. Nevertheless, LC will provide this hearing and caring space, making it possible to give a voice to marginalized people. Also, it is the primary goal of Liberating Communication because it helps to recognize that all people suffer violence in society, and it is important that they unite themselves for a social transformation. The liberation of people enables the recognition of where and how they are suffering violence and fighting against it. The LC assists people to stop learning techniques to deal with the violence in order to suffer less and instead gives them the instruments to combat it using their stories, experiences, and intersectionality. Therefore, it has the potential to be a tool for liberation and positive social change.

Giovanna Nicolau
University of Washington

Pablo de Assis
Federal University of Paraná


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