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Edited by Bernard Feltz, Marcus Missal and Andrew Cameron Sims

Neuroscientists often consider free will to be an illusion. Contrary to this hypothesis, the contributions to this volume show that recent developments in neuroscience can also support the existence of free will. Firstly, the possibility of intentional consciousness is studied. Secondly, Libet’s experiments are discussed from this new perspective. Thirdly, the relationship between free will, causality and language is analyzed. This approach suggests that language grants the human brain a possibility to articulate a meaningful personal life. Therefore, human beings can escape strict biological determinism.

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Edited by Peter Bray and Marta Rzepecka

Communication decisively impacts upon all our lives. This inherent need to connect may either be soothing or painful, a source of intimate understanding or violent discord. Consequently, how it is brokered is challenging and often crucial in situations where those involved have quite different ways of being in and seeing the world. Good communication is equated with skills that intentionally facilitate change, the realisation of desirable outcomes and the improvement of human situations. Withdrawal of communication, or its intentional manipulation, provokes misunderstanding, mistrust, and precipitates the decline into disorder. This international collection of work specifically interrogates conflict as an essential outworking of communication, and suggests that understanding of communication’s potency in contexts of conflict can directly influence reciprocally positive outcomes.

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Marta Rzepecka

Abstract

This chapter examines President George W. Bush’s war discourse. In contrast to Rupinder Mangat’s chapter, which focuses on the interaction between the military and the public, this chapter concentrates on the communication between the president and his audiences.1 It describes the manner in which Bush communicated with American citizens, considering the context within which the communication was conducted, the listeners who were addressed, the speaker’s rhetorical skills, the constraints which determined the effectiveness of the communication, and the exigencies which defined its form and content. The objective is to identify the techniques employed by the president to market his foreign affairs policy to the American public and Congress and suggest conclusions which can be drawn on the basis of the analysis.

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Edited by Peter Bray and Marta Rzepecka

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Edited by Peter Bray and Marta Rzepecka

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Azzeddine Bouhassoun

Abstract

This chapter investigates the relationship between terrorism and literature. Algerian novelist, Yasmina Khadra, tries to identify the origins of terrorism in an identity crisis in the Arab world with an imbrication of political and economic failure. The encounter with the different Other in an international environment, a fast moving technological world, from national issues to gender identity issues, the malaise bred by an archaic mentality, and lack of development opportunities, remain the challenges that drown Arab society in terrorism. Yasmina Khadra first appropriates then rejects, denies, and then acknowledges these problems as his own, and displays the consequences. As presented in the novel, intellectuals do not seem to find out easy ways to resolve their problems. In fact, as in his own case, Yasmina’s preponderant character in his novel The Sirens of Baghdad 1 seems lost, lacks communication, develops hatred, moves to anger while falling into folly, behaves with a sense of the absurd, and, like Dr. Jalal, adheres to fundamentalist theses. This is the lot of a sane intellectual. The author connects the abject with the desirable, the hideous with the beautiful, the present with the past, and the real with the mythical, but above all the betrayal of the West with its values. The Orient remains eternally Salammbô. Heroines who, like Gustave Flaubert’s sensuous, exotic, version ‘of carnal female temptation,’2 represent the East. Humiliation is certainly another major factor in the rise of fundamentalism. Kafkian Western communication with the Orient reinforces the chthonic body relation to terrorism, while the West seems to manipulate the deep-sea monsters. With settings in Beirut, Baghdad, and Kafr Karam in The Sirens of Baghdad, space remains related to body and terrorism. Mapping the origins of terrorism, body, and soul become other plausible sources for evil when Yaseen, the fundamentalist, ‘struck his chest with the flat of his hand [saying] “We are the wrath of God.”’3 Terrorism is not only the hell fruit of the absence of both communication and democracy in the Arab world but the natural consequence of a despising West as well.

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Marco Pedroni

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Over the past decades the progressive legalisation of gambling has generated a global and ever-expanding industry able to influence state policy in many countries. The transformation of gambling into a mainstream leisure activity goes along with the ‘colonization’ of the social imaginary by images and symbols related to hazardous products, which are at the same time promoted through advertisements and sold in ubiquitous and easily accessible shops. This expansion has resulted in an animated debate between both advocates and opponents of gambling harm. Among the former are concessionaires and trade associations, while the latter often include both lay and religious not-for-profit associations whose aim is to protect citizens from risks such as gambling addiction, usury and racketeering. The literature, which largely adopts medical and psychological approaches, has paid relatively little attention to the role of advertising in creating a ‘landscape’ that normalizes the presence of gambling in everyday life and destigmatises gamblers. In this chapter, I analyse a corpus of 369 commercials that appeared in Italy in two periods, 2010 and 2012–2013, and that were promoted by major gambling concessionaires. Relying on a socio-semiotic approach, I identify the main representations that the commercials contain and the risks related to such representations of gambling. My argument is developed against the background of analysis of Italian legal gambling as a social field where a struggle among the state, concessionaires, the media and the opponents of gambling is fought. The chapter shows that commercial advertising works as a means to dampen the tone of the struggle because, to be perceived as responsible players, concessionaires cynically accept some restrictions on their communication. This, apparently, weak approach contributes to mystifying the real processes taking place in this social field, especially the neoliberal transformation of the state from an agent in charge of protecting citizens into a weakened market regulator that gives ‘chances’ to consumers.

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Edited by Peter Bray and Marta Rzepecka

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Anthony M. Ocaña and Aileen L.S. Buslig

Abstract

Working in groups is becoming increasingly common in the classroom, and with it the potential for conflict among students also increases. Barbara O’Keefe argues that people will use one of three message design logics (mdls) when responding in a conflict situation.1 mdls are presumed to reflect the way a person views the purpose of communication in conflictual interactions, and will differ in effectiveness. Rhetorical mdls are considered the most sophisticated and effective, taking into account both the task and relational aspects of the conflict situation by showing flexibility and willingness to negotiate with the other. Expressive mdls are least effective typically, serving to vent one’s feelings rather than address the conflict constructively. Conventional mdls fall between rhetorical and expressive mdls in their effectiveness, invoking claims that the other is not acting according to understood rules. In O’Keefe’s original research, participants were asked to imagine a scenario in which they were a group leader and ‘Ron’ is a group member who has been causing problems and frustration for the rest of the group. While other researchers have also used the Ron scenario to assess participants’ mdl style, none appear to have directly addressed two issues that are implicit in that study: (1) what if you were Ron, the negligent group member; and (2) what are the effects of gender on perceptions of the situation? In our study, 237 respondents were asked to imagine that they were ‘Ron’ and had received a message from their group leader, Jack or Jill, written in one of the three mdl styles. Results indicated that mdl style, leader gender, and respondent gender affected respondents’ motivation to cooperate with the leader’s request to complete work for the group. Surprisingly, in this case, conventional mdl messages were the least effective in motivating cooperation.