Martín Serrano and their contributions to the social sciences and communication

Martín Serrano y sus aportes a las ciencias sociales y de la comunicación

Manuel Martín Serrano, a professor of the Complutense University of Madrid, is a scientist that enjoys great international recognition. It has been characterized as a thinker of talent renaissance so that your work is innovative; because it links the creation of theoretical with the invention of the methodological and the applied research of emerging phenomena that are changing the world. And above all, because it operates while in the dimensions of philosophical, scientific and social knowledge. Is the creator of the paradigm of the mediation, which relates to the adjustments and maladjustments between information, organization, and social practices. This approach has made school from several decades ago to study jointly the transformations of ways of life, mentalities, and communication.

In this entry we propose an approximation Manuel Martín Serrano and his contributions to innovative social science and communication. To do this, we have included a video of the interview that I conducted within the framework of the workshop “Re-foundation theoretical studies of communication: current Knowledge on the communication, life and society” taught by professor Martín Serrano in the UIM, FES Acatlán; the article by Francisco Javier Malagon Sod, published in Mediations Social. Revista UCM de Ciencias Sociales and the Communication on the Monograph dedicated to Manuel Martin Serrano and their contributions to the communication”. in Chasqui. Latin american journal of Communication, no. 114-115, June-September 2011; and the article, within the previous monograph, Luis Castro Nogueria, Antropogénesis and communication. “Theory of communication. The communication of life and society” by Manuel Martin Serrano. At the end we include a link to download the special issue complete in PDF.

Interview to Manuel Martín Serrano in the UIM, FES Acatlán

September 2012

M. Martin Serrano and their contributions to the communication

By Francisco Javier Malagon Lump (15/10/2012)

There are events that teachers, doctoral students and researchers of the communication we have good reason to celebrate; as when a journal or publisher prestigious to offer a synthesis of the career and work of a great author, providing us with the map of a territory intellectual that has help us to orient ourselves and enter into their texts with a view to process and set.

It is the case that occupies us: Chasqui, Latin american Journal of communication edited by AMÉRICA, published in June-September of 2011, a monographic special about Manuel Martín Serrano (hereinafter MMS), professor of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), one of the scientists and epistemólogos of Communication whose work has had greater influence on the studies conducted in this field since the 70s to our days, mainly in Europe and Latin America.

The main coordinator of this double number two hundred and twelve pages it was professor Francisco Bernete (UCM), companion and disciple of MMS, responsible for the collection in this special issue of the texts of forty-one authors, specialists, from nine different countries, spaniards and Latin americans in their majority, from diverse fields: Communication, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, etc, The work includes contributions from intellectuals who have already died, as Jesus Ibanez and Eloy Terrón.

The publication brings together nearly a hundred short texts: abstracts and synopsis of the work of MMS, fragments from his books, comments of various authors…, selected with the aim of providing the reader with a compilation of the major contributions of Professor at the Communication studies.

With this work Chasqui updated experiences unprecedented, as the issue of the journalAnthropos a decade ago or, more recently, the magazine Mediations Social, directed by professor Vicente Baca (UCM), also a companion and disciple of MMS, that between 2007 and 2008, in its first three issues published, met dozens of articles in commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of The social mediation (Madrid: Akal, 1977; reprint edition, 2008: a commemorative Edition marking the 30th anniversary).

Chasqui is a publication of the CIESPAL, International Center of Higher Studies of Communication for Latin America (, an institution founded in 1959 that, from the 70’s would play in the continent brother a role of extraordinary relevance in the production of studies and theory of communication from a critical perspective, transforming and Latin america.

Given the relevant contribution of MMS to the thought of communication, Latin american, this publication pays tribute to one of the great theoreticians of the communication of the last third of the TWENTIETH century and early TWENTY-first, whose work went on convergence and enriched the critical theory Latin american following the publication in 1977 of The social mediation and, shortly after, in 1981 and 1982 (edition revised and augmented) of Theory of the Communication I/ Epistemology and the analysis of reference (Madrid: A. Heart).

MMS has been contributing with unique insight and creativity to position the scientific research and the production of theory on communication in the centre of the concerns for the transformation of societies. In the context of the 70s and 80s, his work contributed, with exquisite scientific rigor, an alternative approach to the perspectives functionalist and positivist of american origin, closely linked to the strategies of domination of the giant imperialist; however, his epistemology-breaking did not stop there, but also knew how to put in question the orthodoxy pancomunicacionista (everything is communication), not for extended more enlightening.

In particular, his theory of social mediation (1977) helps to explain the role that the media play as agents that act between the level of changes in macro-social facts and the level of changes micropsicológicos and behavioral, contributing to the fit between the two. This relationship contributes to the production and reproduction of social order under the new conditions for the domination of the post-industrial capitalism or monopoly that starts at the end of the decade of the 60’s. Through the mediation of cognitive and structural, the means selects the events relevant and the models of representation of the world and production of communication, form identities, and to provide common references to the society, thus acting upon the consciences, generating social cohesion and managing conflicts inherent to this type of society; in the words of MMS (1985):

“The theory of social mediation offers a new object for the social sciences: the study of the production, transmission and use of the culture, from the analysis of cultural models and their functions. These studies are particularly necessary when the culture is used as a procedure of domination. This is true in the phenomena of acculturation, as can be seen when a society destroys the identity of the other; and it also happens in the processes of social control, each time that it proposes a vision preset of the world and what is happening in the world, to influence the consciousness of the people” (“mediating the media”, in M. de Moragas: Sociology of mass communication. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, p. 142).

Until today, more than thirty years after its flourishing -in the words of the ancient greeks-their perspective of the communicative phenomena allows us to understand the origins of communication and the complexity of its relations with nature, society and life, establishing in this way the possibility of a science of the autonomous communication and, at the same time, productively connected to the set of the biological and social sciences. MMS provides with his theoretical work an explanation specifically of communicative phenomena, biological and cultural, involved in the processes of communication.

The special edition of Chasqui opens with a chapter, mode of presentation, entitled: “The scientific creation of Manuel Martin Serrano. When the world is virtualized”. In it, the coordinators sets out the criteria that have been used to define the parts in which are distributed the eighty-nine articles which make up the volume. Large parts of the work are set out with five conceptual axes that frame the whole of the work of MMS: 1) Mediation; 2) Communication; 3) Utopias and contrautopías; 4) Methodology; and 5) Research.

The chapter filing follows an endearing document relating to the major milestones of the intellectual biography of MSS, titled: “Autobiography intellectual of Manuel Martin Serrano. The times that have brought our time”. This chapter is divided into two sections, the first entitled “The time of silence at the time of the hope”, is a summary made by the coordinators of the text published by Anthropos (number 41-42, dedicated to MMS. Barcelona, 1984); the second paragraph sets out the complete text written by the MMS titled “The time of silence at the time of humanization”.

From here it unfolds in the five thematic areas listed above. In each one of them is collected texts MMS, reproduced verbatim or summarized and/or commented by other authors. Within each block, the documents are grouped within sections or more general categories. Throughout the volume, in addition, they have distributed boxes, under the title the gaze of The author, collected fragments-a key of their works.

Below, I will present the content of each of the five thematic axes described above, for which I will rely on the introduction prepared by the coordinators of the work (pp. 6-8).

As you know, MMS is the creator of the paradigm of the mediations with which it correlates the adjustments and maladjustments between information, organization, and social practices. Thanks to this approach it is possible to relate the studies the transformations of ways of life, mentalities, and communication. The first part of the work is devoted to this issue. The specialists who have written on it describing when and why MMS invented this approach epistemological; its various applications (mediations, social, communicative, and technological) and the operations are mediators that have been identified in these areas. We also show the growing impact of the paradigm of mediation, in advance of and to pave the way to the works of other classics of the study of communication at an international level.

In the field of Communication in the second part of this monograph, MMS has identified the origins and nature of the communication, and has established the specific location of the studies of the Communication between the different types of knowledge, scientific. Its purpose was to produce basic theory -and succeeded – to serve as the foundation to all forms of communication: animals, human, institutional. This theory has scientific status, because it can be verified by research. It is the most extensive and important of the work of MMS, therefore, has organized the exhibition into three sections, which correspond with the titles of three of his most famous books: 2.1. The communication, the life and the society; 2.2. Communication theory, epistemology and analysis of the reference; and 2.3. The social production of communication.

The third part is devoted to the importance of utopias and contrautopías in the work of MMS. He explains that the theory successful is related to the fair practice, giving an example of this. Remember that the social sciences were born to guide the scientific discoveries and their technical applications, and build new societies in which to live more free and happy. The projects of Enlightenment and Marxist have in common that they incorporate the utopia as a reference of the change sociohistórico founded on solidarity. MMS recovers the scientific value of utopian thinking by linking the solidarity with the antropogénesis and sociogenesis. Provides the link between ethics and science, showing that humanism is a determining factor of our evolution. The importance of communication in the work of MMS, corresponds with the role that this activity has fulfilled and continues to fulfill, in the humanization, as a support of the utopian vision or contrautópica of the future.

At the level of Methodology, to which is dedicated the fourth part of the publication, MMS emphasizes that there are parallels between the Renaissance and the beginnings of Globalization, in terms of the stimuli for creation scientific. In both periods the innovation in the theoretical plane has required the invention methodology; and the makers of paradigms, such as MMS, have also been designers of new forms and techniques of research. MMS has noted that today humanity has the resources to intervene, manipulate and disorganize the majority of the systems (natural, social, knowledge). In consequence, the functioning of the world is inseparable from social action. And when that operation is completed by human intervention, we need to develop new methodologies to find out their laws and to anticipate their effects. If in the Renaissance turned to the language of mathematics to describe the functioning of a world governed by physical laws, MMS shows that in the world intervened by human action, only the logical languages serve to anticipate their possible states. Consistent with this new vision of the techniques, designs the first logical models that have been applied in the investigation of matters sociological and communicative. In this monograph we can know applications to analyze the contents of any kind of narration, oral or written, in images; for example, in the media.

MMS has conducted research to verify the theory, or to test the methodology. Applies theory and method to the study of social dynamics are emerging, such as differences of generation and gender. The Teacher shows that on the basis of them, are perpetuated in the present social divisions. Another topic that he himself has a relevant fact, that is the production and reproduction of mentalities and identities, especially in the communication and in teaching. Proof that such representations mediated, socialized in the compliance and realimentan the violence structural. In the fifth part of the volume, devoted to the studies, the analysts clarify why these investigations of MMS and the other involved in this issue have exercised so much influence in various fields of the social sciences.

Antropogénesis and communication. “Theory of communication. The communication of life and society” by Manuel Martín Serrano

By Luis Castro Nogueria in: Chasqui. Latin american journal of Communication, no. 114-115, June-September 2011


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