Aprovechando el carácter abierto con que ha sido concebido el I Foro de la Comunicación Global, queremos plantear una reflexión inicial sobre el propio concepto de “comunicación global”. Las líneas que siguen son una breve disquisición sobre el asunto, articulada a partir de ideas y conceptos que tienen su origen en la teoría de la comunicación y en la etnografía de la comunicación, y pretenden una caracterización del concepto de comunicación global desde las perspectivas de estas áreas de conocimiento, sin menoscabo de las aproximaciones que puedan hacerse desde otras.
Taking advantage of the open nature of the 1st Global Communication Forum, we want to propose an initial reflection on the concept of “global communication” itself. The lines followed include a brief exposition on the subject, articulated around ideas and concepts that originate in the theory of communication and on the anthropology of communication, seeking a characterization of the concept of global communication from the perspectives of these areas of knowledge, without brushing aside the approaches made from others.
In today’s world, both global and local trends, which in theory are contradictory, cross paths. Globalization is driven ben the internationalization of the economy, frequency and dimension of migratory movements and the omnipresence of the mass media. Meanwhile, in part as a direct reaction to globalization, localization emphasizes personal and different, rather than general and neutral, driven by the ease offered by technology to access the exhaustive knowledge of all cultural traditions (past and present). Communicating properly in this complex context, both global and local at the same time, forces us to develop a sociocultural and discursive competence that enables us to adapt or messages to the cultural frameworks of those being addressed.
The global communicator is, therefore, configured as a qualified transmitter, speaking on behalf of a public or private institution (foundation, organization, company, corporation, etc.), qualified to properly articulate a message using different codes (linguistic, paralinguistic and extralinguistic), trained to transmit it through all channels offered by multimedia technology, equipped with the necessary sociocultural awareness to construct the most appropriate message for each recipient, regardless of their linguistic and cultural identities, and with knowledge of the global and local context of the people being addressed.
This ideal global communicator combines the honesty of a journalist, the persuasion of an advertising professional, the cultural awareness of a translator, the rigor of an economist, the narrative power of a multimedia communicator and the contextual understanding of an expert in international relations. The juxtaposition of these skills with the elements that make up the classic outline of communication enables us to make these connections:
Transmitter the honesty of a journalist
Receiver the cultural awareness of a translator
Message the persuasion of an advertising professional
Code the rigor of an economist
Channel the narrative power of a multimedia communicator
Context the contextual understanding of an expert in international relations
On the other hand, just as applied linguistics has described the “communication skill” of speakers (to specify the skills and knowledge specific to those who are fluent in a language), we can also describe “global communication skill” as a special type of communication skill, which is comprised of the same sub-skills (semiotic, sociocultural, discursive and strategic), though defined differently. Thus, global communication skill is comprised of:
- A semiotic sub-skill, defined as the knowledge of different types of codes (natural, artificial, linguistic and iconic, etc.)
- A sociocultural sub-skill, which consists of the ability to interact with recipients who have very different cultural universes, adapting the messages to those universes.
- A discursive sub-skill, which refers to the ability to construct multimodal discourse, integrating all elements coherently that contribute to creating the communicative sense (linguistic, but also graphic, visual, mathematic, etc.).
- A strategic sub-skill: just as language learners develop strategies to cover gaps when communicating with other speakers (as well as to streamline the learning process), the strategic sub-skill focuses, in the area of global communication skill, on the use of skills that make it possible to compensate difficulties that arise during the communication (due to cultural, linguistic, social, technical and other issues).
Based on the information outlined in the paragraphs above, it is clear that there is a need for an interdisciplinary approach to communication, as only through the combination of perspectives from different academic traditions is it possible to account for the complexity of the communication processes as they are configured in the world today. In other words, if we are to describe and explain global communication correctly, we need to take into account the contributions of different social and human sciences (linguistics, international relations, translation, audiovisual communication, economics, journalism, advertising, etc.). Communication is comprised of a centripetal space, a territory in which these disciplines converge, making it possible to share concepts, methods and practices, originally conceived in the area of a specific discipline. This sharing is precisely what characterizes interdisciplinary work from multidisciplinary work (conceived as the individual contributions that different sciences make to explain a commonly studied object). Where linguistic codes are natural languages; para-linguistic codes are kinesics – body language and proxemics – use and perception of physical space; and extra-linguistic codes are logical, social and esthetic.