Jurgen Habermas' sociological analysis of "power-distorted" communication, of "instrumental action vs. symbolic interaction," and his theory of "universal pragmatics," involving an analysis of the "ideal speech situation" or "communicative competency," was used as a basis for clinical practice with 53 women students divided into five small groups.1 Habermas' theory provided the basis for the assessment of the need for clinical intervention, as well as the model for structuring the communication processes in the groups to alleviate the effects of the distorted communication characteristic of life in post-capitalist society.
The groups of students were involved as participants in a self-reflective process which involved discussions that were videotaped on the second and fifteenth of 16 sessions. The women also submitted autobiographies, kept four-week-long time schedules and daily diaries, wrote narratives describing their experience of time, taperecorded and transcribed family interactions and submitted several standardized scales. The analysis of Habermas' "communicative competency" as exhibited in these groups and in their at-home conversations is presented here based on the field observations of the researcher and on qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data.
Malhotra, Valerie Ann
"Habermas' Sociological Theory as a Basis for Clinical Practice with Small Groups,"
Clinical Sociology Review:
1, Article 17.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/csr/vol5/iss1/17