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


According to Richard Campbell (2003), an underst*****ding of the role of the media in people's lives - both today and in ***** past - required an "understanding of the cultural context" in ***** the media op*****te (5). ***** communication is slow, mov*****g from ***** person to an***** in a deliberate and time*****consuming manner. Before ***** advent of communication technologies such as writing instruments and printing, oral tradition remained the primary means of passing knowledge from one generation ***** the next. Oral tradition represents the transmission of ***** from one individual to another ***** one generation to another through speaking, listening, and memorization. Originally, culture and customs were transferred ***** one ***** to the next and ***** generation ***** the ***** in the form of stories, myths, rituals and ceremonies. Religion held a prim*****ry place of importance in oral *****, "Oral tradition is ***** spoken relation and preservation, from one generation to the next, of a people's cultural history ***** 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 important ***** in disseminating such tradition to others. Oral tradition encompasses "first person narrative accounts of one's memories ***** an event or time of life" (Dillon 2002, *****). An imp*****tant aspect ***** all three eras of communication is the transmission or dissemination ***** knowledge. Native American groups heavily relied on ***** traditi***** to transmit knowledge from one generation to the next pertaining to a variety of issues. One Cherokee *****on involves the character ***** a "Trickster," often a figure from n*****ture such as a r*****bbit. Within the Cherokee oral tradition, the story of the Rabbit races with Turtle is one in which the ***** Rabbit is defeated not by the plodding nature of the Turtle but by means of guile. In th***** story *****e Rabbit challenges Turtle to


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