On Walls, Squares, Bridges and Sqridges A framework to think about North-South dialogues in communication and media studies

Nico Carpentier


This article analyses the workings of antagonism in academia, within a series of dimensions, such as political conflict, paradigmatic conflict (triggered by particular academic ontologies, epistemiologies, axiologies and methodologies), linguistic conflict and organizationalconflict (triggered by competitive cultures and market-driven logics).After a discussion of different antagonisms, grounded in the European(academic) experiences of the author, the article then turns its attention to two trajectories that have the potential to overcome these divides: the fantasy of homogeneity and the recognition that conflict can be transformed from antagonism to agonism. The problem with the first trajectory lies in the post-political ignorance of conflict and diversity, which contradicts the need to structurally acknowledge the existence of conflict at the ontological level. For this reason, the second trajectory is preferred and used to support an analysis of the thresholds that hinder dialogues in these agonistic academic spaces, and of ways to overcome them. The article concludes with a discussion of two metaphors - the bridge and the square - and their capacity to signify these agonistic academic spaces. As the argument is made to combine both metaphors, the notion of the sqridge is proposed.

Keywords: Antagonism; North-South dialogue; Conflict; Sqridge.


Antagonism; North-South dialogue; Conflict; Sqridge.

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Journal of Latin American Communication Research - 2014