Essay - From Oral Tradition to Electronic: Accessing & Disseminating Information Introduction...

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From Oral Tradition to Electronic: Accessing & Disseminating Information


In Forms of Media as Ways of Knowing, Annabelle Sreberny-Mohammadi (1995) identifies three specific historical eras or periods in communication (43). The first and earliest period was one in which orality or the "oral tradition" was dominant. The second period emerged with the development of print, or "written *****." The third major historical period in communication ***** the result of ***** technological developments creating electronic media, the "information age." Sreberny-Mohammadi (1995) distinguishes between these three ***** as follows: "In orality, speaking ***** listening are the central activities. Print requires writers and readers. Electronic media demand organized production and viewers" (43). In other words, in each historical era ***** communication, control of communication mechanisms has varied significantly. These *****s moved from the ********** face-to-face encounter to the individual yet distant ***** of print to ***** yet more distant, depersonalized, ***** passive role of ***** recipients in the electronic era. This analysis will discuss ***** evolution of ***** three eras of communication in order to provide a greater understanding of the role of ***** in society and people's lives.


According to Richard Campbell (2003), an understanding of the ***** ***** the ***** in ***** lives - both *****day and in the past - required an "underst*****ing of the cultural context" in ***** the media operate (5). ***** communication is slow, mov*****g from ***** person to *****o*****r in a deliberate and time-consum*****g manner. Before the advent of communication technologies such as writing instruments and printing, oral tradition remained the primary means of passing knowledge from one generation to the next. Oral tradition represents the transmission ***** knowledge from ***** individual ***** another ***** one generation to another through speaking, listening, and memorization. Originally, culture and cus*****ms were transferred ***** one ***** to the next and ***** generation ***** the ***** in the form of stories, myths, rituals and ceremonies. Religion held a ***** place ***** importance in ***** tradition, "Oral tradition is the spoken relation and preservation, from one generation to the next, of a people's ***** h*****tory and ancestry. It was traditionally used to transmit religious beliefs because it conveys cultural trad*****ion" (***** 2001, 1).

In Ancient Greece and Rome, orators played an import*****t role in disseminating ***** tradition to others. Oral tradition encompasses "first person narrative accounts of one's memories ***** an event or time of life" (Dillon 2002, 1). An imp*****tant aspect of all three eras ***** ***** is the transmission or dissemination of knowledge. Native American groups heavily relied on oral traditi***** to transmit ***** from one generation to the next pertaining to a variety of issues. One Cherokee ********** involves the character ***** a "Trickster," often a figure from n*****ture such as a rabbit. Within ***** Cherokee oral tradition, the story of the Rabbit races with Turtle is one in which ***** Trickster Rabbit is defeated not by the plodding nature of the ***** but by means of guile. In th***** ***** *****e Rabbit challenges Turtle to


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