Sociospatial Dialect: The Future of Discourse

Reading Analysis #4

By Kwesi Billups

In Chapter 3 of his City of Rhetoric, David Fleming makes use of theories of proxemics, linguistics, and chronemics to present a framework by which a revitalization of public discourse can come forth. Fleming’s proposal of the urban sphere as the tool by which groups can better communicate and restructure the public discourse relies upon certain assumptions of the nature of the urban sphere. Neighborhood-based designs are innately tailored towards the isolation of sociopolitical groups, and thereby counterproductive in the way of spatial interaction between diverse groups. The answer to this, however, is not to lump communities together in an amalgamate of human consciousness, for such would be to erase the nuance of perspective and the importance of relativity in defining and communicating experience.

Similar to cross-cultural theorist Gary Weaver’s idea of realistic cultural empathy, a metacognitive approach to cultural collisions that seeks to mitigate lapses in perception, Fleming proposes space as the crux of increasing understanding amongst groups that have historically furthered divides by the siloing of their beliefs through physical environment.

Bibliography
Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY Press, 2008.
Weaver, Gary. “Section I: What is Culture?” Intercultural Relations: Communication, Identity, and Conflict. Pearson Learning Solutions, 1-65.

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