Books and authors have challenged the focus on “me” alone, rejecting “individualism” that seeks to stand above social context and constraints (Tocqueville, 1955; Arnett, 2019; Arnett, 2020), “narcissism” that falls in love with one’s own image (Lasch, 1985), and “emotivism” that limits decision making to personal preferences (MacIntyre, 1984). Contrary to a focus on an individual abstracted from a social context, one finds an emphasis on community (Arnett, 1986). When, however, a conception of community embraces only those empirically present, it becomes an abstraction oblivious of the phenomenological considerations of persons before and after the present moment. This essay textures the notion of community with an emphasis on sustainability as a background for communication administration decision-making. A sustainable community finds definition through the following practices: 1) walking between the extremes of the openness of relativism and the closure of ideology; 2) acknowledging locality as a love of place respectful of other localities, unlike provinciality, which dismisses the importance of another’s sense of home; and 3) attending to tri-voiced contributions inclusive of those who came before us, those “not yet” here, and those immediately present. Listening to these three voices permits one to do communication administration guided by a vision of sustainable community.
Arnett, R. C. (2020). Communication administration as a tri-voiced sustainable community. Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 39(1), 7-22.