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28. Searching for Universals without Making Problematic Imperialistic Assumptions

From the book Communication and Media Ethics

  • Alexander G. Nikolaev


There is a great temptation to solve all the international communication ethical problems in one shot - to create a sort of a “theory of everything” that would not only explain but also help to solve all those mysteries and riddles globally. No wonder that it is among Western scholars, mostly trained in the positivistic paradigm, such a theory actually emerged. It is called universalism. But there appeared a substantial group of communication scholars and practitioners who strongly disagreed with the universalists’ ideas - the internationalists. And this is where an epic debate between these two perspectives started. This chapter considers in great detail this theoretical argument as well as some real-world practical applications of this dispute. At the end of this piece the author highlights two possible approaches toward international communication ethics that could help us talk about moral issues without making problematic imperialistic assumptions. They are the so called “weak” approach to moral theory and the robust relativism perspective. Also at the end, this chapter highlights the importance of education for instilling into the future international communication practitioners the importance of ethics and the universal respect for different cultures all over the world.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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