chapter  5
Instrumental and communicative action
ByRoumen Dimitrov
Pages 11

Bourdieu's theory of symbolic exchange opens opportunities of exploring silence as strategic communication. Jurgen Habermas' assault on strategic communication as instrumental, manipulative and deceptive – in lieu with his long-term vision of PR as a new, anti-democratic tool of the systemic colonisation of the public sphere by private corporate interests – confuse PR academics. Similar to the Habermas paradigm of 'seriousness' as precondition of communicativeness, other – especially social media conscious – communicators also stress on the 'authenticity' of the speaker, as an identity-bound, feelings-based, and presence-building asset. Habermas requires a forthright and stern attitude toward consent to recognise and justify communicative action. There is a crass difference between Habermas' communicative action and Bourdieu's practical mastery. In the contemporary information and communication society, however, the difference between instrumentality and finality is increasingly problematic. Habermas dichotomy of strategic and communicative action follows a long tradition in philosophy, which has its origin in Immanuel Kant's The Critique of Judgement.