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Experts in: Constitutive approaches to communication

Benoît-Barné, Chantal


Directrice de département, Professeure agrégée

My research program is aimed at achieving a better understanding of the situated rhetorical practices by which political and organizational players influence the interactions in which they take part. I study the constitutive role of language in different types of interactions and situations, such as spontaneous face-to-face interactions in the workplace, formal deliberation among citizens involved in public consultation hearings, or inter-organizational collaboration between stakeholders with divergent and often competing interests, backgrounds, and discourses. Thus, my research documents the many different ways in which rhetoric partakes in the establishment/perpetuation of relatively long-lasting social, material and political structures, such as a public sphere (Benoit-Barné, 2006, 2007), a technology (Benoit-Barné, 2007) or a relationship of authority (Benoit-Barné & Cooren, 2010).

I am particularly interested in three questions:

  • the ways in which contemporary political actors debate controversies, in particular but not exclusively as part of arguments concerning science and technology;
  • the role of objects in interactions, and the way in which players organize themselves and advance discussions through association with objects;
  • how political and organizational players manage the tensions between the ideals driving them and the practical requirements of their activities.

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Cooren, François

COOREN, François

Professeur titulaire

My research interests fall into three subfields of communication, i.e.:

  • organizational communication,
  • analysis of social interactions
  • and, more generally, communication theories.

My main interest concerns “organizing” phenomena and organizations’ ways of being and acting. I take a “constitutive” view aimed at showing that it is in and through communication that organization is created, in entrepreneurial, associative or humanitarian contexts. This view leads me to analyze social interactions. I explore, in particular, the way in which values, principles, norms and ideologies are expressed, applied and developed in our texts and conversations. In the end, all these interests lead me to revisit different traditions in communication research and to show how each one contributes, in its way, to developing a truly communication-based view of the world around us.


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