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Communication and TheoryWhat is communication?— The process by which people interactively create, sustain, and manage meaning (pg. 2)Communication reflects the world (socially)—we were born into a world that was already createdCommunication simultaneously helps to create the world—creates new understandings, perspectives, the way we understand everythingNature does not have “funny”—humans have created itWhat is a theory?—any systematic summary about the nature of the communication process (pg. 3)Concepts (or variables)ClarifyPredictPersonal/Social changeTypes of TheoriesCommon senseWorking (skills based, professional, experience)ScholarlyGoal of Theory: enable useful responsesTheory+practice= praxisExample: Scholarly TheoryUncertainty reduction theory—we don’t like to be “uncertain” (professional, romantic, intercultural)Reduce uncertainty (in dating) by increasing informationTwo Approaches to Researching Theories:Social Scientific and HumanisticThree Characteristics:Human NatureGoal of ResearchMethodsSocial Scientific: Human NatureDeterministicPeople are reactive: (x) causes a reactionExample:Social Scientific: Goal ofResearchGoal: understanding + predictionBasic unit of analysis:numbers, variablesResearch Process:hypothesis and deductionTheory is particularMethods:Researcher should be objectiveEtic: the outsider’s perspectiveStandardization and controlQuantitative: sample/data/statisticsExperiments and surveysCombines both: Focus GroupHumanistic: Human Nature 1. Pragmatic2. People are dynamic3. Example:Humanistic: Goal of ResearchGoal: understandingBasic unit of analysis:SymbolsResearch Process:Grounded and Inductive4.Theory is holisticMethods:Researcher practices verstehn (understand—trying to get into the mind of the audience)Emic: the insider’s viewContextQualitative: content (symbols) and groupTextual and EthnographyRobert Craig’s 7 Communication TraditionsInter disciplinaryNo canon or common textsNo common goalsSever sets of concepts and assumptionI. Rhetorical Tradition:a. Communication theorized as the practical art of discourse1. Single speaker2. Functional: politics, court3. “art” or skill4. predominant until 1960’b. Research Question:How does a speaker address an exigency? (a problem)3 Greeks3 Theories of Communication3 Theories of RhetoricPlato= ReligiousAristotle= Social ScientificGorgias= Humanistc. Three Greek Theories1. Plato’s Theory of Communication: Proper Name Theorya. Religious Perspective: language is imperfect and people use language thoughtlesslyb. goal: process for finding the “proper name”dialectic (or written dialogues)c. Rhetoric is a problem: rhetoric distorts language for human ends1. Art becomes “tricks” anyone can learn2. “Cookery”: appeals to pleasure—(recipe…anyone can follow a recipe)2. Aristotle’s Theory of Communication: Logos (logic &reason)a. Scientist’s perspectivelanguage is a natural expression of reason and can be observed and classified (natural/social)ex: trees, mammals, geographyb. Goal: use logos to be consistent*functional and practicalc. Rhetoric is not a problem!It is natural: neither good, nor bad1. Observed and categorized, and used2. Skill to be taught in On Rhetoric3. Gorgias’ (Sophist) Theory of Communication:linguistic relativism—language is relative(Sophist—traveling teachers, traveled all throughout north Africa, middle east, etc—they encountered all kinds of people in different cultures, which greatly influenced how they saw the worlda. humanist perspectivelanguage reflects your culture and experience so every “meaning” is ephemeral (fleeting…changes over time) contextualb. Goal: embrace and exploit the ambiguity of meaningc. Rhetoric is a necessity1. If everything is relative, and there is no “Truth,” then everything is open to persuasion2. Democracy (voting, law, etc.)II. Socio-Cultural Tradition:a. Communication theorized as: the symbolic processes that produce and reproduce shared socio-cultural patterns1. We “socially construct reality”a. There is not one “reality”b. “Realities” are a product of social experiencec. Language creates/represents those different realities2. Reification: making something real, or making something concrete (forgetfulness—you forget it’s a social construct)ex: grades, holidays3. Thomas Theorem:Social Constructions have real consequencesEx: grades, national anthem, sexism, racism4. “Garfinkeling” or “Breaching”a. challenging social expectations to reveal the underlying, accepted normsb. subtle, not extremeex: elevator (face everyone in elevator)ex: college students (go home and do what your parents ask you to do—concerned parents started calling university)ex: proxemics (space)ex: table etiquetteb. Research Questions:1. How do we avoid conflicts between cultures?2. How do we avoid individual alienation?III. Socio-Psychological Traditiona. Communication theorized as the process of influencing individuals and audiences1. broad research area:individual influence mass media influence2. individuals have innate or learned predispositionsNature or Nurture3. Individuals have similar predispositionsa. research to discover these predispositionsb. aggregate data  generalizable findingsc. then, exploit these predispositions to influence aggregatesb. research question:1. How do we influence predispositions to produce a desired effect?2. Practical Purpose“How do we sell more of our beer?”“Which messages will keep teens from drinking?”“What types of ads do voters favor?”c. Liner model of Influence (Cause  Effect)Who Says What  In Which Channel  To Whom  With What EffectBy Harold Lasswelld. “Communication science” ★★ (will be on test)1. Scientific Research Approacha. Variables (who, what, channel, etc.)b. Objective researchers use experiences and surveys to understand and predict outcomes2. Discover universal laws of communicatione. Five VariablesWho __________What ___________Channel ___________Whom __________What Effect __________IV. Cybernetic TraditionA. Communication theorizes as information processing systems1. System: independent parts working as a whole2. Information links the different parts of the system, information creates the systemex: telephone, texting, television,family, organizations, PR3. Shannon and Weaver’s Mechanical Modela. Information source: produces a messageb. Transmitter: encodes the message into signalsc. Channel: how message

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TEMPLE STRC 2111 - Communication Theory

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