Communication Theory (Critical Approaches I)


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  • Robert Craig suggests that communication should be viewed as a practical discipline; theory is developed to solve real world problems.Craig identifies seven established traditions of communication theory. Description, what questions do they ask about the process of communication, variations in field
  • Cognitive – What you do in a communication situation depends not just on stimulus response patters but on mental operations used to manage information
  • Communication as a system of information processingArtificial intelligence: Illustrates the way feedback makes information processing possible in our heads and on our laptops.
  • Basic system theory – ideas outlined in Cybernetics
  • Communication as artful public addressRhetoric: The art of using all available means of persuasion, focusing upon lines of argument,organisation of ideas, language use and delivery in public speaking
  • Aristotle: Persuaders could make use of a variety of rhetorical tools, such as style, arrangement of ideas, delivery and proof of arguments
  • Communication Theory (Critical Approaches I)

    1. 1. 7 TRADITIONS OF COMMUNICATION THEORY 1. Socio-psychological Tradition 2. Cybernetic Tradition 3. Rhetorical Tradition 4. Semiotic Tradition 5. Socio-cultural Tradition 6. Critical Tradition 7. Phenomenological Tradition
    2. 2. SOCIO-PSYCHOLOGICAL TRADITION • Emphasizes the scientific perspective. • Scholars believe that communication truths can be discovered by careful, systematic observation that predict cause-and-effect relationships. • Researchers focus on what is without their personal bias of what ought to be. • Theorists check data through surveys or controlled experiments, often calling for longitudinal empirical studies.
    3. 3. SOCIO-PSYCHOLOGICAL TRADITION • Focuses on the individual as a socialized entity, a part of a network of people, but still independent in their actions • Focus on individual social behaviour, psychological variables, individual effects, personalities and traits, perception and cognition • Share a common concern for behaviour and for the personal traits and cognitive processes that produce behaviour
    4. 4. COMMUNICATION FOCUS Persuasion and attitude change  Message processing  How individuals plan message strategies  How receivers process message information  Effects of messages on individuals Questions about communication process  Can we predict individual communication behaviour?  How does an individual take into account, accommodate, and adapt to different communication situations?  By what logic do people make decisions about the types of messages they wish to use?
    5. 5. VARIATIONS IN SOCIO-PSYCHOLOGICAL 1. Behavioural – How people behave in communication situations 2. Cognitive – How individuals acquire, store and process information in a way that leads to behavioural outputs 3. Biological – Our traits, ways of thinking, and behaviours are wired in biologically and derive not from learning or situational factors, but from inborn neurobiological influences
    6. 6. CYBERNETIC TRADITION • Cybernetics: Tradition of complex systems in which interacting elements influence one another. • Any part of a system is always constrained by its dependence on other parts, and this pattern of interdependence organises the system itself. • System cannot remain alive without importing new resources in the form of inputs. Takes inputs from the environment, processes the,, and creates outputs that are put back into the environment. • In addition to interdependence, systems involve self-regulation and control. Systems monitor, regulate and control their own outputs to achieve goals.
    7. 7. COMMUNICATION FOCUS • Within cybernetics, communication is understood as a system of parts, or variables, that influence one another, shape and control the character of the overall system, and achieve balance and change. • The study of information processing, feedback and control in communication systems • Theorists seek to answer the questions:  How does the system work?  What could change it?  How can we get the bugs out?
    8. 8. 5 VARIATIONS IN CYBERNETIC TRADITION 1. Basic System Theory 2. Cybernetics 3. Information Theory 4. General System Theory 5. Second-order Cybernetics
    9. 9. BASIC SYSTEM THEORY • Depicts systems as structures that can be analysed from the outside. You can manipulate the system by tinkering with the inputs
    10. 10. CYBERNETICS • Contrary to idea that one thing causes another in a linear fashion. How things impact one another in circular way, how systems maintain control, how balance is achieved and how feedback loops can maintain balance and create change
    11. 11. INFORMATION THEORY • Originates in the work of Claude Shannon in telecommunications research • Transmission of signals from one part of a system to others through networks. • Quantifies the uncertainty in messages and calculates the amount of redundancy necessary to counteract noise and make possible the accurate flow of messages through a system.
    12. 12. GENERAL SYSTEM THEORY • Biologist, Ludwig von Bertalanffy • Broad, multidisciplinary approach to knowledge • Shows how things in many different fields are similar to one another because of shared system principles • Recognises the universal nature of all types and deals with commonalities among systems as seemingly diverse as economic growth, biolgical development and social movement
    13. 13. SECOND-ORDER CYBERNETICS • Observers can never see how a system will work by standing outside the system itself because the observer is always engaged cybernetically with the system being observed. • You affect and are affected by a system whenever you observe it. • Also known as Cybernetics of Knowing – Knowledge is a product of feedback loops • between the knower and the known. • What we observe in a system is determined in part by the categories and methods of • observation, which in turn are affected by what is seen.
    14. 14. 6 FEATURES OF RHETORICAL TRADITION 1. A conviction that speech distinguishes humans from other animals. 2. A confidence in the efficacy of public address. 3. A setting of one speaker addressing a large audience with the intention to persuade. 4. Oratorical training as the cornerstone of a leader’s education. 5. An emphasis on the power and beauty of language to move people emotionally and stir them to action. 6. Rhetoric was the province of males.
    15. 15. RHETORIC IN ANCIENT TIMES • Intentional • Oral with no technology • to achieve purposive ends (passing laws, making judicial decisions) • Done in formal settings for particular purposes, not seen as occurring in everyday communication • Audience immediately present
    16. 16. 5 CANONS OF RHETORIC Canon Definition Invention Development of the substance of the speech Arrangement Structure of the speech/ordering of rhetorical text Style Verbal ornamentation of speech using techniques such as rhetorical figures Delivery Vocal qualities and physical movements used by the Rhetor Memory Used to recall information for a speech