An Ecology of Communication addresses an ecological and communicative dilemma: the universe, earth, and socio-cultural life world are resoundingly dialogic, yet we have created modern and postmodern cultures largely governed by monologue. This book is indispensable reading for scholars and students of communication, ecology, and social sciences, as it moves readers beyond the anthropocentric bias of communication study toward a listening-based model of communication, an essential move for discerning fitting responses and the call to responsibility in an age of ecocrisis.
William Homestead is associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies at New England College.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Ecocrisis as a Crisis of Communication
Chapter One: The Fitting Response: Calvin O. Schrag and Rational Communication
Chapter Two: Integral Meta-Theory: Ken Wilber and Spiritual Communication
Chapter Three: To Learn but Not Return: Paul Shepard and Mythic-Animistic Communication
Chapter Four: The Pattern that Connects: Gregory Bateson and Aesthetic Communication
Chapter Five: Discerning the Unfit: New Age to Ascension
Chapter Six: Discerning the Unfit: Interspecies Communication
Chapter Seven: The Call to Responsibility: Thoreau and the Voice(s) of Nature
Epilogue: A Fitting Responsiveness: Communicating Our Way into the Future
“Homestead interacts with a wide range of thinkers and his own personal experience to articulate how ecocrisis can be understood as a fundamental crisis of communication. An Ecology of Communication comes at a moment when such cross-disciplinary revisits to the very glue that holds our shared meanings together are needed. It’s in understanding the ecological force of communication, and its intimate entwinement with the social, cultural, psychological, and sacred, that we remember how to listen to the wider world and know how to fittingly respond."
"It takes years of committed and thoughtful engagement with an idea to yield work as broad and fecund as this. Homestead achieves his eco-communicative ethics by reading a vast array of interlocutors with a generosity seldom seen when so much is at stake. This serves him well (and recommends the practice to all of us) as he learns deeply from a wide and multidisciplinary range of thinkers. That said, Homestead is never far from his ultimate concern and original contribution. If we stand a chance for a livable future on the other side of the climate crisis, then thinking such as is demonstrated in this fine book will have been central to keeping us alive to the struggle."
"Approaches to communication are typically forged with a focus on human speakers while muting nature and many of its sentient beings. William Homestead addresses this neglect with a view that includes not only dialogue, spirit, and rationality, but moreover a focus on listening, the natural world, and other-than-human species. This integrative view invites careful reflection upon what we deem communication in our world today, how that view can aid us, and what future paths when travelled will be better than earlier others. The volume is richly based in important studies (e.g., Haraway, Kimmerer, Thoreau, Emerson, Abram, Leopold, Carson, Bateson) while opening needed views of what the study of communication can indeed offer. Students of communication, rhetoric, environmental studies, ecofeminism, ecopsychology, and the humanities generally will find the work well-written, deeply engaging and unusually productive. Clearly, a book a long time in preparation with an eco-social view, based in a promise of environmental justice for our times."
" An Ecology of Communication explores and articulates a profound approach to the planetary eco-crisis and opportunity we all live amid. Combining the breadth of an academic interrogation of current and past ecological philosophy with the tone and voice of a personal narrative, William Homestead asks us to consider a path forward: If we listen."
“William Homestead’s An Ecology of Communication is at once a primer for scholars interested in tackling the myriad philosophical, spiritual, psychological and ecological questions posed by the Anthropocene and a thoughtful application of communication theories to those questions. Homestead covers a wide territory with observations gleaned from literature, popular culture, myth and personal memory. The writing is engaging and enjoyable, accessible to the novice but appropriate for scholars already familiar with the interspecies and ecocritical orientations employed.”