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INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION THEORY Some preliminary comments
WHAT ON EARTH IS “THEORY” ?? <ul><li>A CONVERSATIONAL example </li></ul><ul><li>“Well, my theory is…this war is  really  a...
Limitations of this kind of theory: <ul><li>- “simple” </li></ul><ul><li>  - specific case </li></ul><ul><li>- single fact...
Making the theory more sophisticated <ul><li>Let’s construct a theory that  </li></ul><ul><li>- has a clear rationale </li...
Example <ul><li>In wars that have mainly  economic  causes, national leaders are more likely to  hide the “real motives”  ...
Rationale <ul><li>This is because it is more difficult to convince people to make sacrifices when war is perceived as main...
What kind of evidence? <ul><li>A sample of wars, over a specified period of time </li></ul><ul><li>Some measure that disti...
Some Things to Notice About Theories <ul><li>Worthwhile theories are supported by  evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Theories wit...
A thought about communication <ul><li>Two basic approaches to communication </li></ul><ul><li>Linear approaches obsess abo...
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Some Preliminary Remarks

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Some Preliminary Remarks

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION THEORY Some preliminary comments
  2. 2. WHAT ON EARTH IS “THEORY” ?? <ul><li>A CONVERSATIONAL example </li></ul><ul><li>“Well, my theory is…this war is really about something else; it’s about oil.” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Limitations of this kind of theory: <ul><li>- “simple” </li></ul><ul><li> - specific case </li></ul><ul><li>- single factor </li></ul><ul><li>- to be worth anything it needs evidence </li></ul><ul><li>- evidence might be indirect (generally not so good) or direct </li></ul>
  4. 4. Making the theory more sophisticated <ul><li>Let’s construct a theory that </li></ul><ul><li>- has a clear rationale </li></ul><ul><li>- applies to several instances </li></ul><ul><li>- suggests some kind of causal relationship </li></ul><ul><li>- deals with two or more variables </li></ul><ul><li>- has predictive value </li></ul>
  5. 5. Example <ul><li>In wars that have mainly economic causes, national leaders are more likely to hide the “real motives” for war from the people, especially when there is considerable economic injustice within the country. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Rationale <ul><li>This is because it is more difficult to convince people to make sacrifices when war is perceived as mainly to do with economic advantage than it is to do with personal or national security. First of all such a war is seen as less moral. Second of all, such a war is seen to benefit elites rather than masses. </li></ul>
  7. 7. What kind of evidence? <ul><li>A sample of wars, over a specified period of time </li></ul><ul><li>Some measure that distinguishes between wars entered into principally for economic reasons as against other kinds of war </li></ul><ul><li>Some measure of how national leaders present the reasons for war to their peoples </li></ul><ul><li>Some measure that ranks countries in terms of the degree of justice/injustice that they manifest in their internal distribution of wealth or economic power. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Some Things to Notice About Theories <ul><li>Worthwhile theories are supported by evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Theories with staying power develop over time : get more sophisticated, become more precise in their identification of the conditions under which they apply, relate to more variables </li></ul><ul><li>Theories with staying power tend to explain reality and may even predict reality. </li></ul><ul><li>Theories often emerge from PARADIGMS and/or WORLD VIEWS. </li></ul>
  9. 9. A thought about communication <ul><li>Two basic approaches to communication </li></ul><ul><li>Linear approaches obsess about the message, and who is sending the message to whom, under what conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretive approaches are more concerned about MEANING: how does any given “text” become capable of rendering meaning, and how does any “reader” make meaning from a text? </li></ul>

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