Communication Research and Practice
Taylor & Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan University
Hyperconnected societies offer new opportunities for the role of the individual voice. A deregulated world of information poses a paradox, however, in which fake news might conceivably underpin the political agenda more than informed research. The sheer amount of information available forces publics and audience members to seek shortcuts to knowledge through access to preferred academic, public intellectual or ‘thought leader’ perspectives. Drawing upon theories of deliberative democracy and open communication, this paper critiques the roles of academic, public intellectual and thought leader to move beyond discussion of the value of individual voices in the sharing of knowledge. It suggests that both public intellectuals and thought leaders illuminate how the individual voice makes an important contribution in providing continuity when open communication of research is disrupted by unruly speakers and publics.
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