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 his*****rical eras or periods in communication (43). The first and earliest period was one in which orality or the "oral tradition" was dominant. The second ***** emerged with the development of print, or "written *****." The third major historical period in communication was the result of the technological *****s 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 of communication, control of communication mechanisms has varied significantly. These controls moved from the *****dividual face-to-face encounter to the individual yet distant ***** of print to the yet more distant, depersonalized, and passive role of ***** recipients in the electronic era. This analysis will discuss ***** evolution of these three eras of communication in order to provide a greater understanding of the role of communication in society and people's lives.


According to Richard Campbell (2003), an underst*****ding of the ***** of the media in people's lives - both *****day and ***** ***** past - required an "understanding of the cultural context" in ***** the media operate (5). Oral communication is slow, mov*****g ***** ***** person to an***** in a deliberate and time-consuming manner. Before ***** advent ***** 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 transm*****sion ***** ***** from ***** individual to another and one generation to another through speaking, listening, and memorization. Originally, culture and customs were transferred from ***** ***** to the next and one generation to the ***** in the form of s*****ries, myths, rituals and ceremonies. Religion held a primary place ***** importance in oral *****, "Oral tradition is ***** spoken relation ***** preservation, from one generation to the next, of a people's cultural h*****tory and ancestry. It was traditionally used to transmit religious beliefs because it conveys cultural tradition" (***** 2001, 1).

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


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