Essay on Martin Buber’s Dialogic Communication

Essay on Martin Buber’s Dialogic Communication

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Martin Buber’s Dialogic Communication

Dialogue is more than talking. It is not the straightforwardness of talking to or at, rather it is communicating with or between. It is "a relation between persons that is characterized in more or less degree by the element of inclusion" (Buber, 97). Inclusiveness is an acknowledgment of the other person, an event experienced between two persons, mutual respect for both views and a willingness to listen to the views of the other. These elements are the heart of dialogical relations. In this paper I will examine Martin Buber’s theory of communication, its relevance to my life and the critiques of the theory.

At the core of Buber’s theory is a distinction between dialogue and monologue. Dialogue is described as an I - thou relationship. Meaning that both persons in the conversation experience the other as a person like themselves. There is a respect for the person and a genuine interest in the others view. There are differing views but the same moral status (lecture notes). Monologue is an I - it relationship. It is an emphasis on the objectification of the other in a conversation and nonattendance to feelings or not understanding their views. Most often an objectified relationship happens when there is a routine transaction or when the other person in the conversation is being used and is instrumental for some means. In dialogue, conversation is treated as an end to itself, in monologue the it is a means to an end.

Dialogue is conscience-oriented. It is acting on principle and believing in the right thing. Monologue, however, is strategic. It is applied to achieve goals or calculate an outcome. Dialogue requires being conscience oriented. A dialogic communicator will engage in conversa...


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... theory is not scientific because there is no objective understanding of when "dialogue" happens. Dialogue cannot be measured. His theory cannot predict future outcome. Dialogue is a momentary occurrence and by Buber’s definition, cannot be planned or forced. This theory is not simple because it is too involved. It cannot be tested because it is subjective and because of its momentary nature.

Dialogic communication is a good theory because it shows that there can be agreements about disagreements. His theory about the emphasis of community gives new hope to society. The results of dialogue are respect and understanding of differing views. If more people were to open themselves up to dialogic communication there would be more respect of differing views. I believe that understanding like that would end a lot of conflict, and that would make the world a better place.

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