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Interactional theory in Gandhi - Research Paper Example

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To achieve unity among groups with different socio-economic statuses and religious, political, and cultural beliefs is essential, but extremely challenging. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi has taken an almost impossible role of being a facilitator and leader of individual and social changes in India…
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Interactional theory in Gandhi
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Download file to see previous pages To understand his life, Attenborough (1982) produced and directed Gandhi. This paper analyzes the film using Watzlawick, Beavin, and Jackson’s (1967) Interactional Theory on communication. It aims to show that this theory helps explain Gandhi’s effectiveness as a persuasive communication expert and social transformation leader. Gandhi demonstrates an interactional view of communication because Gandhi used non-violent, non-cooperative, and peaceful communication strategies, which have been successful in attaining individual and social changes because he continuously reframed punctuations regarding the causes and resolutions to conflict. Gandhi depicts the rise of Gandhi, from being a lawyer of racial injustice in South Africa to a transformational leader in India. Attenborough (1982) showed how Gandhi started his non-violent approach to conflict management, when he realized the intensity and extent of racial discrimination against Indians in South Africa. With his friend and supporter, the rich Indian businessman Kinnoch, they and their thousands of supporters defied the Pass Law and other oppressive policies, until they changed legislation into one that improved racial equality. Gandhi returned to India, which was in a historical transition from colonial ownership to independence. Gandhi aroused the formation of nationalist organizations and used the media to gain publicity and to spread his non-violent, non-cooperative, and peaceful approach to the demand for independence from Great Britain. Interactional Theory views relationships as “patterns of interaction” (Watzlawick et al., 1967, p. 2), where every member participates in the cybernetic environment, while interacting with other systems to control their environment too. Gandhi is an effective communicator because he does not undermine the value of the press in enhancing public awareness and changing individual and social beliefs. The first rally in South Africa indicates how Gandhi saw the media as a partner in documenting non-violent actions, so that more people would join him and for the British Empire to realize the power of their numbers. Gandhi wants journalists to cover their peaceful protests because it can unite the nation. He told the reporter Walker that he “cannot unite a community” without a paper (Attenborough, 1982). He then used the media, including his own paper, to promote his views on non-violent and non-cooperative action toward resolving various conflicts. Gandhi knows the importance of connected systems to achieve widespread social changes. Interactional Theory has five axioms and the first aims to show how complex systems operate by stating that people “cannot not communicate,” so everything that is said and done is a message. Watzlawick et al. (1967) stressed: “Activity or inactivity, words or silence all have message value: they influence others and these others, in turn, cannot not respond to these communications and are thus themselves communicating” (p. 1). The pragmatic approach to language emphasizes the effects of actions on communication behaviors (Wayne, 1990, p.603). Gandhi shows the importance of every aspect of communication to express his strategies and to persuade people to follow his methods. His main emphasis is that violent, non-cooperative, and peaceful communication strategies can be used to attain social ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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