The book "Argumentation in Complex Communication: Managing Disagreement in a Polylogue" by SC&I Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Communication Mark Aakhus and his colleague Marcin Lewiñski has been named the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Book Award by the National Communication Association’s Philosophy of Communication Division. Aakhus and Lewiñski will accept the award at the NCA 109th Annual Convention being held in National Harbor, MD from November 16 - 19, 2023.
Lewiñski, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences (DCC) at NOVA University, Lisbon, Portugal, spent 2012-13 as a post-doctoral fellow at SC&I and in 2020 he returned to SC&I as a visiting researcher.
Professor of Communication and Chair of the SC&I Communication Department Marya Doerfel said,“’Argumentation in Complex Communication’ updates our notions of what constitutes argumentation in light of meteoric changes in communication over the past several decades. It is an important addition to the field of communication, researched and written with needed clarity and scholarship. The timing of this award shines a spotlight on our profound appreciation for Mark, not just as a friend and colleague, but as a stellar 25-year champion of excellence at Rutgers. We congratulate Mark and Marcin on this well-deserved honor.”
Aakhus and Lewiñski define “argumentative communication” as “making and criticizing reasons to manage differences and disagreements that emerge in human conduct.” Their book seeks to reverse a dyadic bias in understanding argumentation that has persisted since Aristotle invented the syllogism by significantly extending innovative thinking that emerged in the twentieth century about argument as a communicative practice rather than as formal logic. They show how argumentation practice is embedded in technologies, organizations, networks, and institutions while offering a new approach for the analysis, criticism, and design of argumentation.
One of the book’s reviews notes the “compelling framework” developed for “studying argument in our increasingly mediated and digitized world.” More information about the book is available in a book review published in the journal Argumentation and in a book review published in the Journal of Pragmatics.
Through his research, Aakhus investigates the relationship among communication, argumentation, and design in digital society as realized in contemporary discourses, professional conduct, organizational processes, and information infrastructures.
Aakhus' current research and teaching emphasize the following themes: artificial intelligence as a puzzle of communication, contestability by design for accountable algorithmic systems, platforms, and organizations, and sustainability communication.
Ultimately, through his research, Aakhus aims to improve understanding of the intentional, and emergent, design of institutions for communication and the consequences for the co-creation of health, wellness, and democracy.