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Structure and Function of Communication in Society

By Harold D. Laswell

Hazel Reyes

on 5 December 2012

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Transcript of Structure and Function of Communication in Society

The Structure and
Function of Communication
in Society (1948) Harold D. Laswell Harold Dwight Lasswell Functionalism The Act of Communication Biological Equivalencies
and more detailed Equivalencies Needs and Values Structure and Function Efficient Communication - American political scientist
- Communication theorist
- Became a member of Chicago
school of Sociology
- Studied at the University of
Chicago in 1920's. - Effects of mass media within larger social structure. WHO - Control analysis
SAYS WHAT - Content analysis
IN WHICH CHANNEL - Media analysis
TO WHOM - Audience analysis
WITH WHAT EFFECT - Effect Analysis 3 Functions of communication process: Functionalism Theory Talcott Parson
Inter-relating and interdependent
Stability and Solidarity
No conflict
Related to Laswell's concept of media function
a. The surveillance of the environment

b. The correlation of the parts of society in responding to the environment

c. The transmission of the social heritage from one generation to the next. Compared the media to a multi-cellular organism
- Cells have varying functions
- Concert together to create a reaction

The mediums by which the media communicates must all work hand-in-hand. Sentinels - members of society that alarm the rest of the changes.

The society follows the signal of the sentinel in order to adapt to the change or at least prepare for it

Sentinels act like the relay station of the nervous system

ATTENTION IN WORLD SOCIETY Diplomat passes information about his assignment to his country.

Most messages in society are NOT disseminated by the "higher" centers (Media, Diplomat)

Within family, cliques, neighborhoods, etc.

No conductance//Total Conductance Key Terms: Media Controllers - can manipulate the contents

Media Handlers - merely relays, censors, etc. Ex. Human body 3 categories of specialists:

a. Surveys the political environment of the state

b. Correlates the response of the whole state to the environment.

c. Transmits certain patterns of response from the old to the young.
Living forms: Modifiers of the environment

Comparative psychology: non-human species situation vs human being's situation

Social structure: values in an industrial civilization
Values Institutions/distinctive patterns Communication Aristotle's Model of Communication later, scholars added "entertainment" Advantage of Laswell's model: - easy and simple
- it suits for almost all types of communication
- The concept of effect Disadvantage of Laswell's model: - Feedback not mentioned
- Noise not mentioned
- Linear model Example:
Upper class person mixes only with persons of his own stratum and forgets to correct his perspective by being exposed to members of other classes One task of rationally organized society is to discover and control any factors that interfere with efficient communication
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