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Communication

Theory and Scholarship

Objective

To identify the importance of


theory in communication and
media.

Overview:
The Idea of Theory
Theoretical Evaluation
Communication A definition
Levels and Contexts of Communication

Communication
To get the ball rolling:
How valuable is small talk?
How much time to you spend
online?
Is there a difference between
men and women when they talk?
Is communication an art or
science?

The Idea of Theory


What is a theory?
Theory as storytelling?

Theories are organized sets of


concepts, explanations, and
principles of some aspect of
our experience.

The Idea of Theory


Theories are maps of reality, guidebooks
on a certain terrain of experience that is
rooted in the essential meaning-making
functions of human beings.

Theories are ultimately


subjective. They are less a
record of reality than a
record of scholars'
conceptualizations about

The Idea of Theory

Theories are discourses: the careful,


systematic and self-conscious discussion
and analyses of phenomena.

They are the academic foundations of


every discipline, the means by which we
codify and organize knowledge.

The Idea of Theory

Theories also provide a way to challenge


existing practices in cultural life and to
generate new ways of living.

Dimensions of Theory

Philosophical Assumptions
Concepts and Explanations
Principles

Dimensions of Theory
Philosophical Assumptions
Basic beliefs that underlie the theory.
Epistemology: The nature of knowledge.
To what extent can knowledge exist before
experience?
To what extent can knowledge be certain?
By what process does knowledge arise?
(Rationalism, Empiricism, Constructivism, Social
Constructionism )
Is knowledge best conceived in parts or w holes?
To what extent is knowledge explicit?

Dimensions of Theory
Philosophical Assumptions
Basic beliefs that underlie the theory
Ontology: The nature of being; What is the nature of
human existence?
To what extent do humans make real choices?
Is human behavior best understood in terms of
states or traits?
Is human experience primarily individual or
social?
To what extent is communication contextual?

Dimensions of Theory
Philosophical Assumptions
Basic beliefs that underlie the theory
Axiology: Values; objectivity and subjectivity.
Can theory be value free?
To what extent does the process of inquiry affect
that which is being studied?
Should scholarship always be geared toward
(social) change or is its function simply to
generate knowledge?

Dimensions of Theory
Concepts
Conceptual categories based on observed qualities
Concepts are terms which require definitions.
Explanations
Answers the question, Why?
Patterns of relationships between variables
Causal explanations, practical explanations

Dimensions of Theory
Principles
Not present in all theories
Guidelines on the interpretation of
events
3 parts:
Identifies a situation or event
Includes a set of norms or values
Asserts a connection between a range of
actions and possible consequences

Evaluating Theory
1. Theoretical Scope Range. How much does the theory explain. Is it
able to explain a specific event as well as a bigger phenomenon/a?
2. Appropriateness Are the basic beliefs of the theory suitable to
explain, to predict and to control affective and cognative events?
3. Heuristic Value Is it able to generate new knowledge that is
enough to investigate by the scholarly community?
4. Validity Is it testable? Is it able to support or reject observations?
5. Parsimony Is it able to explain a phenomenon/a is the most
simple way?
6. Openness Is it adaptable to change?

Communication Theory

Communication theory as an umbrella term for


all careful, systematic and self-conscious
discussion and analysis of communication
phenomena.
- Ernest Bormann

The Concept of
Communication
All theories contain explicit or implicit definitions
of communication and the components of a
definition in large measure set the boundaries
and the focus of the theory.
Communication is the relational process of
creating and interpreting messages that elicit a
response.
- Em Griffin

Levels of Communication
Intrapersonal Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Dyadic Communication
Small Group Communication
Public Communication
Organizational Communication
Mass Communication
Intercultural
Computer-Mediated Communication

15-Minute Break.

aditions of Communication Theo

Objective

To know the three axes of


communication scholarship
and the seven traditions of
communication theories.

Overview:
1.

Axes of Communication Scholarship


a. Scientific / Materialist Scholarship
b. Humanistic / Culturalist Scholarship
c. Social Scientific Scholarship

2.

Traditions:
a. Socio-psychological
b. Cybernetic
c. Rhetorical
d. Semiotic
e. Socio-cultural
f. Critical
g. Phenomenological

Axes of Communication
Scholarship
Scientific / Materialist Scholarship
The Idea of Truth: Objective, Cause & Effect,
Problem-Oriented
The Idea of Human Behavior: Determined;
Stimulus-Response
The Purpose: Prediction, Explanation, Control
Method of Analysis: Content Analysis,
Experimentation, and Surveys.

Axes of Communication
Scholarship
Humanistic / Culturalist Scholarship
The Idea of Truth: Subjective, Multiple
realities and meanings
The Idea of Human Behavior: Individual
Autonomy
The Purpose: Interpretation and
Understanding
Method of Analysis: Textual Analysis, FGDs,

Axes of Communication
Scholarship
Social Scientific Scholarship: Both
In previous years the majority of social
scientists believed that scientific methods
alone would suffice to uncover the mysteries
of human experience.
Today, most social scientists realize that while
scientific methods are important, a strong
humanistic element is present as well.

Traditions of Communication
Theory

The Ferment in the Field.


Robert Craigs metamodel.

The Socio-psychological
Tradition
It is the most scientific of all traditions.
It is rooted in the Cause-effect relationship of
communication.
Its primary goal is to predict communication.
It emphasizes persuasion.

The Cybernetic
Tradition
Communication is composed of a system of
parts.
This tradition emphasizes the transmission
of information from one person to another.
Feedback is seen as an important part of
communication.

The Cybernetic
Tradition

The Shannon-Weaver Mathematical Model

The Cybernetic
Tradition

The DeFleur Model


In 1966 Melvin DeFleur improved on the ShannonWeaver Model, and emphasized the importance of
feedback.

The Rhetorical Tradition


Rhetoric is the art of public address and
persuasion.
This tradition emphasizes the proper
techniques of communication public or
otherwise (enunciation, articulation, visual
depiction, metaphor, alliteration etc.)

The Rhetorical Tradition


Aristotles Rhetoric:
How arguments are produced,
arranged, structured, and
expressed in
discourse
Audience
Speaker
Speech

The Rhetorical Tradition


Aristotles Rhetoric:
Inventio (invention or discovery)
Dispositio (composition/arrangement)
Elocutio (style)
Actio (verbal delivery, oration)
Memoria (committing to memory)

The Rhetorical Tradition


David Bordwells Cinema
Inventio: Definition, Comparison, Cause-Effect
Dispositio: Introduction, Presentation, Proof, and
Epilogue
Elocutio: all rhetorical considerations of style
involved some discussion of choice of words, usually
under such heads as correctness, purity (for instance,
the choice of native words rather than foreign words),
simplicity, clearness, appropriateness, ornateness
(Corbett and Connors, 1999)

The Rhetorical Tradition


Cinemas Rhetoric
Inventio (Theme)
Dispositio (composition/arrangement)
Elocutio (style)
Actio (screenplay)
Memoria (effects produced by the film)

The Semiotic Tradition


Semiotics sees communication as a system
of signs and symbols.
Meaning is shared only through these signs.
This tradition puts emphasis on how signs
mediate meaning.

The Semiotic Tradition


Peirce offers a Semiotic
Triangle.
Thought

Sign

Referent

Thought

Cat

The Semiotic Tradition


Saussure offers a dyadic
system of Signs:
Sign

Signified (concept)
Signifier (image created)

The Semiotic Tradition


Saussure offers a dyadic
system of Signs:

The Semiotic Tradition


In Semiotics, we have three
kinds of signs.
Icon
Index
Symbol

The Semiotic Tradition


Icons are signs in which the signifier
resembles the signified.

The Semiotic Tradition


Indexes are signs in which the
signifier and the signified share a
physical or causal relationship.

The Semiotic Tradition


Symbols are signs in which the
signifier and the signified have a
purely arbitrary relationship.

The Semiotic Tradition


Semiotics has three major
branches:
Semantics
Syntax
Pragmatics

The Semiotic Tradition


Semantics is concerned with the
creation and conveyance of
meaning.
Its primary focus is a signs relationship to
its meaning.
In Language = words.
In Visual Communication = images (the
design elements)

The Semiotic Tradition


Syntax is concerned with the proper
combination of signs to produce
meaning.
Its concern is a signs relationship to the other signs
in a particular text (an assemblage of signs*)
In Language, we study grammar.
In visual communication, we study the principles of
design.

Chandler, Semiotics for beginners. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem01.html

The Semiotic Tradition


Pragmatics is concerned with the sign
and its relationship to its users both
the sender, and the receiver.
Communication occurs in a context.
In language, we study Speech Acts and
Mediums.
In visual communication, we study perception,
intention, conceptualization.

The Socio-cultural
Tradition
Communication is a
function of Culture.
Our language governs how
we live our lives.

The Socio-cultural
Tradition
Communication is a
function of Culture.
Our language governs how
we live our lives.

The Critical Tradition


This tradition draws heavily on
Marxist (and other similar)
philosophies.
Communication can be used as
a tool for oppression and power.

The Socio-cultural
Tradition
Communication is a
function of Culture.
Our language governs how
we live our lives.

The Critical Tradition


Queer Theory
Judith Butler
Sex (Body)
Gender
Sexuality
Heteronormative biases
interfere with the
objective study of gender.

The Critical Tradition


You have
a fixed
Sex
(Male or
Female)

Culture
builds a
stable
gender

This
determines
your
sexuality
(desire)

You have
a Body

You
Perform
an
identity

You have
desires

The Critical Tradition


Nothing within your identity is fixed.
Your identity is expressed in what you do.
There is no inner self.
Gender is a performance.
People can change.
The binary between masculinity and femininity is a
social construction.

The Phenomenological
Tradition
Communication is the experience of the self
and others through dialogue.
Phenomenology as the intentional analysis of
everyday life from the standpoint of a person
who is living it.
Reality is based on a persons lived experience.

References:
Baran, S. & Davis, D. (2009). Mass Communication Theory. 5th
Edition.
Massachussets, USA. Wadsworth Publishing.
Littlejohn, S. (1995). Theories of Human Communication.
California, USA:
Wadsworth Publishing.
Pernia, E. (2009). Communication Research in the Philippines.
Quezon
City, Philippines: UP Press.

Think Paper 1:
1) Due date: December 6. >:)
2) How well informed are you about public affairs? Where do you get
most of your information about the world around you? Can you craft a
theory of why you do not pay more attention to the news than you
already do?
3) Minimum of five pages, maximum of 10 pages.
4) MS Word, 81/2 x 11, 1 margin on all sides, 1.5 spacing, 12 pts.,
Times New Roman.
5) Your paper will be measured with the following indicators:
a. Content (grounded arguments [well researched], lesser
assumptions)
b. Cohesiveness (thoughts are connected with each other, hindi pilit)

Group Activity 1:
1) Due date: December 13, within the course period 12nn 3pm. >:)
2) Research for communication/ media studies at the DepComm
Library or the Main Library with your groupmates. Decide whether you
reject or support the study. If you reject, what grounds do you base
your skepticism. If you support it, provide details why.
3) Please do not forget to provide the authors of the study, date of
publication, title, publishing house, & place where it was published. If
you know APA citation, better. :)
4) No maximum number of pages but please, I do not like shallow
reasoning.
5) Your paper will be measured with the following indicators:
a. Content (grounded arguments [well researched], lesser
assumptions)
b. Cohesiveness (thoughts are connected with each other, hindi pilit)