International Communication Association

Politics, culture, technological are matters of communication. But if communication matters for all these questions, isn't it, paradoxically, because it doesn't. Indeed, communication is, in many respects, im/material because it constitutes the very nexus where the material and immaterial dimensions of our world meet with each other. If we live in a world of artifacts, technologies, bodies and sites, we also live in a world of principles, passions, ideas, meanings, and values.

Although both material and immaterial aspects of this world intertwine with each other, it seems crucial not to reduce on the other, making the study of communication essential to
understanding what could be called the spectral or even ghostal nature of our experiences and exchanges. Communication is indeed spectral or ghostal because our interactions consist of making present what could also have remained absent from a debate, a discussion, a conversation, etc. If communication matters, it is therefore because interactants can, for instance set themselves up as speaking in the name of specific identities, collectives, principles and values, that is, as many figures or topics that, through their representation or staging in our conversations, can influence the way an interaction evolves and how a situation is defined. Inversely, communication is also spectral because of all the topics that can be marginalized, excluded, disqualified from our debates and discussions, an effect of absence that also has to be worked out and/or fought for another next first time.

This theme thus allows us to think about the relationship between communication and im/materiality in gernal. Communication scholars have often been accused of downplaying
the role materiality plays in our lifeworld, but are there ways to remain faithful to our object of study while exploring this question meaningfully? Thinks like justice, equity, freedom,
compassion, happiness, hatred, friendship, intelligence (just to name of few) are often presented as having an immaterial incorporeal, intangible, insubstantial, impalpable, abstract dimension; however, we also know that they have to be embodied, incorporated, embodied, materialized, or concretized in order to be experience and communicated. Communication therefore becomes this dislocated locus where abstracts figures can incarnate themselves while others are warded off.