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Seven Traditions in the Field of Communication Theory

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Daniel Knox

on 1 February 2012

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Transcript of Seven Traditions in the Field of Communication Theory

Seven Traditions in the Field of Communication Theory Fencing the Field of Communication Theory The great variety in communication theory allows for multiple perspectives on issues of communication
Many communication theorists use hybrids of these seven traditions, as well as other perspectives
These traditions are just some of the numerous ways in which communication can be examined Communication truths can be discoverd through systematic observation
Scholars look for cause and effect relationships
The way people communicate is predictable and quantifiable Cybernetics - the study of information processing, feedback, and control in communication systems
Relationships and interactions are part of the "system" that is communication
Theorists ask questions like "How does the system work?" and "How can we get the bugs out?"
Rhetoric - the art of using all available means of persuasion, focusing upon lines of argument, organization of ideas, language use, and delivery in public speaking
Favored by Greco-Roman scholars like Plato and Aristotle
There is beauty in speech; it is what distinguishes humans from animals
Effective leaders use rhetoric to influence others The Socio-Psychological Tradition The Cybernetic Tradition The Rhetorical Tradition Trying to look at communication
from the perspective of a "grand
theoretical overview" makes
things more difficult
Instead, we have to deal with each
"snake" by shining a light on it
Semiotics - the study of verbal and nonverbal signs that can stand for something else, and how their interpretation impacts society
Symbols - arbritrary words and nonverbal signs that bear no natural connection with the things they describe; their meaning is learned within a given culture
Since they are symbols, words don't have any inherent meaning. People associate meaning with certain words based on their interactions and experiences The Semiotic Tradition Culture is created and passed on through language and other forms of communication
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity - the claim that the structure of a language shapes what people think and do; the social construction of reality.
Through communication, "reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed"
The Socio-Cultural Tradition Relationships are maintained by communication; if communication stops, the relationship will deteriorate.

A system developed by the "Frankfurt School" of scholars that examines how communication is abused
Critical theorists consistently challenge three features of contemporary society:
Control of language to perpetuate power imbalances
The role of mass media in dulling sensitivity to repression
Blind reliance on the scientific method and uncritical acceptance of empirical findings The Critical Tradition Culture Industries - Entertainment businesses that reproduce the dominant ideology of a culture and distract people from recognizing unjust distribution of power within society Phenomenology - intentional analysis of everyday experience from the standpoint of the person who is living it; explores the possibility of understanding the experience of self and others
Places great emphasis on the individual's perception and personal experience
Difficulties in interpersonal communication are a result of the clash between differing individual perception
The Phenomenonological Tradition Differences in perception can lead to misunderstandings...
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