Communication Term Paper

Pages: 8 (2320 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Communication

¶ … communication and how it is best to define, classify and relate it to other fields, disciplines and definitions. Overall, it shows that communication is just too broad and complex to easily pigeon hole and define.

Paradigms of Speech -- Bruce Gronbeck

Gronbeck talks about the import of studying speech as a discipline, because of how rhetoric has become such a major part of present-day society. One has to analyze speeches not only phonetically and linguistically, but also psychologically and socially. What is the meaning behind the words? What is the intent? Who makes a speech for no reason whatsoever?

Today the U.S. is involved with a war in Iraq. Perhaps it was not only the horrors of 9-11 that brought about the follow-up movement into Iraq. Didn't many of the Americans' feelings and desires have to do with the motivational speeches that were delivered by President Bush? For example, in September of 2001, Mr. Bush's "Freedom from Fear" speech played on the concerns of the populace when he said, "I ask you to live your lives, and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat." How different was this from speeches in WWII about the yellow menace or the red scare during Viet Nam or the Cold War? It is important to look behind the words to see the intent involved.

Peters, J: Introduction: The Problem of Communication

If there is one word that describes the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, it is "communication." Communication is both the reason for human growth and development as well as its many problems.

COMMENT: Although Peters spends most of the article on politics and ethics, rather than personal communication, one has to wonder about the impact of today's Western world where communication appears to be the major problem that brings couples to psychologists for therapy, continues to present a huge difficulty between parents/guardians and children, and is increasingly becoming nonexistent between neighbors nationwide. If humans and communication are so closely linked, what happens when communication fails? Are these changes due to this miscommunication?

Peters J. Genealogical Notes on "The Field"

In this article, Peters wonders if instead of lamenting that communication is not one of the six social sciences on the 19th-century social science model, it may be more productive to consider another way of organizing information. In the world today, especially with the ever-increasing amounts of information being disseminated, it is very difficult to have clear-cut boundaries between areas of study. For example, scholars now are involved with the separate fields of psychology, social psychology, social anthropology, etc. etc.

QUESTION: Is it not better to be concerned about learning the information itself rather than how it is delineated? Does it matter how knowledge is categorized? The important thing is to gain the knowledge and use it in positive, productive ways.

Cohen, H: The Development of Research in Speech Communication: A historical perspective.

When speech communication scholars started thinking of themselves as a specific field of study, they were more "social scientists" than "research scientists" with a strong knowledge of empirical science. Because of this, an understanding of scientific reports and statistical methodology had to be learned. This led to problems as noted by Cohen that the human factor came second to truly finding answers.

COMMENT: Perhaps it may be best for speech communication scholars to backtrack a few feet and look again at the other possibilities that exist to reach valid conclusions and not lose the essence of human behavior. For example, social anthropology, another relatively recent social science often relies on observation and qualitative research. Also, like speech communication, social anthropology is also interested in determining human universals. The social scientists carry out original research that consists of ethnographic fieldwork with both interviews and participant-observation research. Isn't this an example of research that can be conducted by in speech communication?

Rogers & Chaffee: The Past and Future of Communication Studies

These two authors look at a similar concern that Peters does (above) about the role of communication in academia. Ever since the field of communication began as a separate field of learning, scholars have debated the concept of convergence and divergence, the competing traditions of the social sciences and intellectual separatism. They normally study communication based on levels of analysis, or the number of individuals involved and form of transmission being used for sending messages. Communication research is thus normally divided into interpersonal communication and mass communication.

COMMENT: It is interesting to note how the computer, especially the Internet, has altered this way of looking at communication. Once again, there is no simple way to place everything into neat contained categories. For example, the Internet sends messages to millions of people, which makes it mass communication, yet at the same time many people interact one-on-one with the Internet that make it interpersonal. Similarly, both mass media and interpersonal communication can occur at the same time. Whenever dealing with human behavior or information nothing is cut and dry.

SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM and SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIONISM

This section deals with the theory of symbols and the development of the concept of social constructionism

Carey, James: A Cultural Approach to Communication

James quotes John Dewey as saying that communication is "most wonderful," because it forms the foundation of human fellowship and ties humans together. "Society is possible because of the binding forces of shared information circulating in an organic system."

COMMENT: I believe that Dewey is right. However, it is interpersonal communication, which makes up culture and not mass media, which is so wonderful. Without interpersonal communication, human culture could not exist. It is the meaning behind the words in a poem or the lyrics in a song. It is the art and creativity that makes one person distinguished from another.

Mead, G.H., the Problem of Society: How we become selves.

Sociologist and psychologist George Mead was another founder of Pragmatism, as John Dewey. His thoughts on the development of mind and self opened up a whole new way of viewing social interactions. Instead of looking at "self" from a psychological standpoint, he saw the mind created from the social process of communication. These two factors cannot be split apart.

COMMENT: As humans, we consist of the gestures we make as well as the language we speak within a social context. For example, look how easy it is to tell what is happening in a social setting by just watching the nonverbal communication taking place. The open or closed fists, the arms down at the sides or across the chest defensively, the smile or the scowl -- all of these show how the people are feeling without any words being expressed. Communication is the meaning behind these gestures. If humans were better at understanding nonverbal communication, would there be less misunderstanding of what someone is trying to say?

Gordon. Symbols and Men

This author discusses the long-term importance of symbolism in the history of humankind. Many of the symbols from hundreds and thousands of years ago are just as essential, if not more essential, today as they first were centuries in the past. He stresses the fact that many of these symbols, such as artwork and literature, are viewed and read today, as they were in the past. They are not forgotten, anything but.

COMMENT: However, at the same time how far removed have we come from some symbols? When the cave dwellers drew symbols of hunters and animals on their walls, they were so much closer to the symbols as well as to what these symbols represented -- the nature and world around them. Either people drew about things that they witnessed firsthand or were directly talking with the individual who witnessed that event. Today, many of our symbols stand for things no one alive has ever seen firsthand. We are often very far removed from these events and only have the words of those in the past to provide information. How do we know if our knowledge about what these symbols represent is close to the truth or only as someone else perceived them?

Berger & Luckmann: Intro: The problem of the sociology of knowledge

Berger and Luckmann go a step further than Mead and put ideas into theory. They call it social constructionism, which has the goal of finding the ways that individuals and groups create their perceived reality. This theory focuses on how institutions and behaviors are described, not on an analysis of cause and effect. A reality that is socially constructed is a moving, dynamic process where people act and react to how they interpret what they is see in their external world. Berger and Luckmann state that both subjective and objective reality is described with social construction. No reality exists outside what is produced and reproduced in social interactions.

QUESTION: My question then arises, are the problems we are now having in our… [END OF PREVIEW]

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