Mapping the Territory
The Seven Traditions
Chapter 3 “MAPPING THE TERRITORY” Griffin 4th edition
Chapter 2 “TALK ABOUT COMMUNICATION” 5th edition
Let's talk about communication.
Communication is hard to define. Consider two different definitions from two different theorists.
Engineer Claude Shannon: "Communication is the transmission and the reception of information.
Philosopher I.A. Richards "Communication is the generation of meaning". Which is scientific? Which is humanistic?
Although not contradictory, neither definition speaks to the concerns that are voiced by the other theorist.
Laurence Frey, Carl Botan, Paul Friedman and Gary Kreps "
Communication is the management of messages for the purpose of creating meaning". (I would put information)
Gives equal weight to messages and meaning.
Em Griffin uses a river having many tributaries as a metaphor for
outlining the history of communication and research.
Chart page 46 Griffin 4th edition
Chart page 33 Griffin 5th edition
In a sense, the flow of communication study has swelled from a
trickle to a flood.
1. COMMUNICATION AS ARTFUL PUBLIC ADDRESS
THE RHETORICAL TRADTION
In the 1900's college speech teachers were members of the English
department. However, with the advent of World War Two, many soldiers were injured, so Communication departments specialized in the area of
Speech disorders such as stuttering and vocal strain
Courses were being offered in radio announcing, and debate or rhetoric.
Teachers drew on the body of wisdom from Greek and Roman times
Such as in the writings from Plato, Aristotle and Cicero.
Especially Aristotle's categories of logical, emotional and
ethical appeals as the standard method to evaluate persuasive
2. THE SOCIO-PYSCHOLOGICAL TRADITION
COMMUNICATION AS INTERPERSONAL INFLUENCE
Scholars researching media effects were drawn from the
departments of sociology, psychology, political science and
journalism. The new mass communication technologies like film,
radio and television were dismissed as purely entertainment.
Wilber Schramm, in1963, wrote a book titled “The Science of Communication”. He was the Director of Stanford Institute for Communication Research.
He named four men the "Founding fathers" of research. All four examined mass audiences from a behavioral science approach.
1. Political Scientist Harold Lasswell analyzed the content of Nazi
propaganda to determine why it had such a powerful effect on the
2. Psychologist Carl Hovland was interested in empirical research. He headed up a group of 30 researchers at Yale University who sought to lay the “groundwork” of empirical propositions (Griffin, 2003).
His team investigated the relationships between stimuli, audiences, opinion and change. Hovland broke down the communication process as to
WHO says WHAT through WHICH CHANNEL, TO WHOM, with WHAT EFFECT.
3. Social Psychologist Kurt Lewin escaped Hitler's Holocaust. He
investigated prejudice and the way groups influence individual
4. Sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld founded the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia University. As a way to attract business and government funding, he pioneered the survey and focus groups techniques to figure out marking problems.
Experimental psychologist Carl Hovland tested persuasive effects
Schramm set out to create a "crossroads discipline" of
communication to complement the five established social sciences
of psychology, sociology, political science, economics and
Schramm ignored what the speech researchers were doing in the
3. CYBERNETIC TRADITION
COMMUNICATION AS INFORMATION PROCESSING
The scholars and social scientists studying MEDIA EFFECTS adopted the media-effects term COMMUNICATION RESEARCH.
Based in Shannon and Weaver's linear model of communication
SOURCE MESSAGE CHANNEL RECEIVER (SMCR)
Also a huge dependence on the use of newly acquired statistical
tools, no matter what the research required
4. THE SOCIO-CULTURAL TRADITION 1951
COMMUNICATION AS THE CREATION AND ENACTMENT OF
Three main theories :Symbolic Interactionism, Constructivism, Co-Ordinated Management of Meaning)
George Herbert Mead was an influential philosophy professor at the University of Chicago. But he never published his ideas on Symbolic Interactionism. However, after his death, one of his students and lead disciples, further developed his theory.
Herbert Blumer at Berkley coined the term Symbolic Interactionism that deals with the core principals of meaning, language and thought.
Jessie Delia gives us a broad picture of humans as interpretive beings who actively engage in the process of constructing meanings for their activities. The author of Constructivist Theory
The root of constructivist theory are symbolic interactionism and psychology.
BOTH OF THESE FOUNDATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTIVISM FOCUS ON COGNITIVE PROCESSES THAT WE USE TO CREATE MEANING.
Barnett Pearce (Loyola University in Chicago) and Vernon Cronen (University of Massachusetts), were frustrated by the cause and effect models of the behavioral scientists. Came up with the theory of Coordinated Management of Meaning.
According to most communication scholars, CMM is the most comprehensive statement of social constructivism.
THE TURBULENT SIXTIES (1960-1970) A LAUNCHING PAD FOR
1960's a stretch of white water rapids
Civil rights confrontations, urban riots, U.S. involvement in
Vietnam, campus sit-ins, the Beatles, the hippie movement, the
sexual revolution, the drug culture, the assassinations of
President John Kennedy, his brother Bobby, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
No one was listening to speeches anymore so why learn how to
reduce speech fright and eliminate uh's and ya's from your
It was a time of personal freedom and growth and mutual awareness of the individual. Thus, interpersonal communication became the focus with emphasis on nonverbal communication, self-disclosure, conflict resolution and other interpersonal issues.
RELATIONSHIPS WERE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MESSAGE CONTENT.
CLIP: GOOD WILL HUNTING
5. THE CRITICAL TRADITION
COMMUNICATION AS A REFLECTIVE CHALLENGE OF UNJUST DISCOURSE (4th Edition)
European trend beginning through the British, French, Italian and
German scholars known as "critical theorists". Especially
critical of American researchers claiming to do objective
By the end of this period the European humanistic
philosophers and sociologists began to research the work of the
The influence of television, film, and popular music no longer
seen as just "entertainment" . Marshall McLuhan, talk of later
coined the famous phrase" THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE".
Mass media seen as shaping popular culture. Talk more about this
when we talk of Marxist approach and critical theories.
Example: FEMINIST THEORY
6. THE SEMIOTIC TRADITION 1972
SHARING MEANING THROUGH SIGNS
Semiotics of Roland Barthes-looks for cultural meaning of nonverbal signs
Semiotics is concerned with anything that can stand for something else. Look at the ideological or connotative meaning to explain the cultural status quo.
Term semiology was coined by a Swiss linguist named Ferdinand de Saussure. Referred to a potential science to investigate the nature of things and their impact on society and the laws that govern them.
Umberto Eco of Italy.A Theory of Semiotics..defined semiotics as the theory of the lie.
Barthes used the word “Myth” to describe his semiotic theory. Myth according to the NEW WEBSTER DICTIONARY means, IN A LOOSER SENSE, AN INVENTED STORY, SOMETHING PURELY FABULOUS OR HAVING NO EXISTENCE IN FACT. THE COLLECTIVE MYTH OR DOCTRINE OF A PEOPLE OR A NATION.
SIGN, SIGNIFIER AND A SIGNIFIED..took from the work of Saussure.
THE HUNT FOR A UNIVERSAL MODEL (1970-1980)
Never came up with a model or definition so stopped looking.
7. THE PHENOMONOLOGICAL TRADITION
COMMUNICATION AS THE EXPERIENCE OF SELF AND
OTHERS THROUGH DIALOGUE
Phenomenology refers to the intentional analysis of everyday life from the standpoint of the person living it.
The phenomenological tradition places great emphasis on people’s perceptions and interpretations of their own subjective experiences (Griffin, 2003).
· The seven traditions have deep roots in communication theory
· They have been mapped with respect to the objective/interpretive dichotomy.
· Hybrids are possible across traditions.
· They might not cover every approach to communication theory-thus the addition of the ethical tradition
Since ancient Greece, scholars have grappled with the obligations of the communicator.
Credo for Communication Ethics
1. Advocates truthfulness, accuracy, honesty and reason.
2. Accepts responsibility for short-term and long-term consequences of communication.
3. Strives to understand and respect other communicators before evaluating and responding to their messages.
4. Concern for ethics spreads across the objective-interpretive landscape.