In terms of this thesis and its context Habermas's TCA does not seem to be fatally damaged by its detractors. It does still allow us to think more clearly about the democratic value of such a cultural arena as Exploding Cinema. I would argue that the main value of such formations could be grasped from this perspective rather than from an assessment of artistic works. It is an ephemeral and discursive achievement rather than one that is measured in terms of its material products.

The critiques of Habermas are useful in that they suggest why his ideas have not been embraced by the art areas of communications studies. TCA is not argued in terms of art media. Nor does its articulation favour art media. In fact it often seems to imply a conservative hierarchical relationship in which the non-verbal media not as important as the literary.[1] In view of the historical associations of such philosophical constructions that have served as justifications of domination, this resonance is probably unpalatable to the artist. Yet with a close examination of Habermas' argument, this is contradicted by his actual statements.

The Theory of Communicative Action offers hope of providing a Post-Marxist theoretical base for a radical democratic transformation of human societies through attention to our means of communication. It does however need to be extended to explore the place of all non-verbal cultural productions in such a transformation.




[1] A position which has associations with Protestant iconophobia. Watt (1994) refers to Patrick Collinson's From Iconoclasm to iconophobia: the cultural importance of the Second English Reformation. Stenton Lecture 1985 (Reading 1986)