Quantumstuff in Communication: Some Implications of Stephenson's Concept
Operant Subjectivity , Volume 21 - Issue 3/4 p. 139- 150
The fundamental proposition of quantum theory, that observed phenomena interact with the observer, was seen by Stephenson as an important link to his construction of theory about communication. Key linking concepts are communicability - oral public culture/discourse, or consciousness - and intentionality, which is based on the fact that all possible responses for a person are contained in a culture, subculture, or counterculture. Of these responses, only a few are highly significant possibilities. Another key concept, complementarity, makes allowances for inevitable social discontinuities. Parallels are drawn between the transitive, subjectivity, and communication theory (which involves self-reference) on one hand, and the substantive, objectivity, and information theory (which involves matters of fact) on the other. Stephenson contended that more emphasis needs to be placed on self-reference and less on information. Q methodology, by drawing on Pierce's Concept of abduction, Stephenson said, makes possible the application by subjects of "all probability states." We provide a set of six basic postulates that sum up Stephenson's argument for the relevance of quantum theory. We contend that what counts for journalism, in applying quantum theory, is the communicability of the masses, not the messages themselves. The concepts of concourses (the sum of an individual's knowledge and self-reference) are indispensable to understanding mass communication. Factoring rankings of self-referent statements leads to uncovering significant beliefs common to a culture, but also allows identification of subcultures and countercultures. Rogers and Kincaid's convergence model is seen as useful to this process.