doxa.comunicación | 30, pp. 145-163 | 147

January-June of 2020

Marta Rizo García

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

The word communication suggests many things; it is a daily action that we all live and experience, directly, face to face, or indirectly, via an electronic device such as a telephone or computer. According to Raúl Fuentes Navarro’s (2001: 50) contributions, “communication can come to mean many different and sometimes contradictory things.” For some people, communication can refer to the mass media such as television or radio; for others, it refers to how we relate to each other. While others compare it to the relatively recent forms of participating in digital social media, the consumption of entertainment programs on television, or following a series on Netflix. And so the list goes on. Communication is, therefore, many things simultaneously.

In this paper, communication is understood as a fundamental process for constructing social life, as a mechanism for producing meaning that allows for dialogue and different ways of coexisting between social subjects. From this perspective, communication involves the world of human relationships, of the established and yet to be established bonds, of the dialogues turned conflict and the monologues that will someday become a dialogue.

These ways of understanding communication allow us to understand the social world as a network of interactions between subjects. Communication allows us to overcome individual isolation, as it is the set of associations between processes of experience- individual and collective- which enables the construction of shared worlds. According to Eduardo Vizer (2007: 194), “communication can be considered as the concrete and objective manifestation of the permanent processes of reconstruction of different contexts of reality that we construct and cultivate in daily life.”

Every communication situation takes place in a specific context, which is composed of three aspects. These aspects are cultural, which refers to the attitudinal frame of reference that the person develops throughout his/her life; situational, which includes all the psychological, sociological and physical variables; and urgency, which denotes the need to communicate, which requires a specific kind of communication. Communication is, therefore, “the only way we have to make contact with others and even if we do not realise how much we depend on it, makes up the centre of our existence” (Borden and Stonoe, 1982: 82). For this reason, the study of the interpersonal aspect of communication is essential.

In short, communication is conceived as the basis of social relationships in this article, since it is understood that communication processes involve interactions between different people in multiple scenarios in everyday life. Are these connections always similar? Do subjects who communicate always look for the same thing? These questions are addressed in the following section, where some general ideas are raised, and some classical theoretical approaches are put forward to distinguish interpersonal communication from intersubjective communication.

2. Interpersonal and intersubjective communication: conceptual explanations

Intersubjective communication is often viewed as synonymous with interpersonal communication. Indeed, both concepts share similar empirical phenomena or situations, which is the communication situation between people. However, the theoretical scaffolding that supports them is different. The term interpersonal communication has been fundamentally defined by social psychology. In contrast, intersubjective communication, as we understand it here, requires a more philosophical view in order to be conceptualised more rigorously and more complexly.