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 ***** the result of the technological developments creating electronic media, the "information age." Sreberny-Mohammadi (1995) distinguishes between these three ***** as follows: "In *****ity, speaking ***** listening are the central activities. Print requires writers and readers. Electronic ***** demand organized production and viewers" (43). In other words, in each historical era ***** *****, control of communication mechanisms has varied significantly. *****se controls moved from the individual face-to-face encounter to the individual yet distant encounter of ***** to ***** ***** more distant, depersonalized, and passive role of communication recipients in the electronic era. This analysis will discuss ***** evolution ***** ***** three eras 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 ***** ***** the media in people's lives - both today and in the past - required an "underst*****ding of the cultural context" in which the media operate (5). ***** communication is slow, moving from ***** person to ano*****r in a deliberate and time-consuming manner. Before the advent ***** 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 of ***** from ***** individual ***** ano*****r and one generation to another through speaking, listening, and memorization. Originally, culture and cus*****ms were transferred from ***** individual to the next and one generation ***** the next in the form ***** stories, myths, rituals and ceremonies. Religion held a primary place of importance in ***** *****, "Oral tradition is the 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 role in disseminating ***** tradition to others. Oral tradition encompasses "first person narrative accounts ***** one's memories of an event or time of life" (Dillon 2002, 1). An import*****t aspect of all three ***** ***** ***** is the transm*****sion or dissemination of knowledge. Native American groups heavily relied on oral traditi***** to ***** ***** from one generation to the next pertaining to a v*****riety of issues. One Cherokee *****on involves the character of a "Trickster," *****ten a figure ***** n*****ture such as a r*****bbit. Within ***** Cherokee oral tradition, the story of the Rabbit races with Turtle is one in which the Trickster Rabbit is defeated not by the plodding nature of the Turtle but by means of guile. In this ***** the Rabbit challenges Turtle to


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