COMM 360 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Determinism

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COMM 360 Lecture 1 What is Communication Theory
Theory a set of systematic, informed hunches about the way things work
Systematic: everything is interconnected
Informed: backed up by factual evidence
Hunches: an assumption or idea about the way the world works (a theory is not born
from 1 hunch, it is born from multiple)
Metaphors that explain theories:
A net woven with your own hunches to “catch” the ideas of the world
Lenses used to hone in on a particular theory
Problem? It can narrow the scope too much and you’ll miss the other moving parts of the
A map gives a direct and easy to follow path of “how to get to” a certain theory
Communication (a crossroad discipline) the relational process of creating and interpreting
messages that elicit a response
Relational process: takes more than one person and is always trying to relate to other
Messages: what is trying to be conveyed to an audience
Elicit a response: your message earns a reaction from the audience
Communication can be divided into two camps: objective and interpretive
In terms of the beer commercial: objective scholars looked at WHY the audience, as a
whole, felt the way they felt after watching the commercial
Objective scholars study the response of the audience
Believe that there is only one Truth and it can be found through unbiased observation
In terms of the beer commercial: interpretive scholars looked at WHAT the commercial
did to make the audience feel a certain way
Interpretive scholars study the text
Believe that there are many truths with multiple meanings
Differences between approaches:
1. Truth; there is only one way of
2. Determinism; behavior is
predetermined via biology
3. Value objectivity
4. Believe in Universal Law
1. Truth is socially constructed; there
are many ways of knowing
2. Free will
3. Value emancipation
4. Believe in a guide
To remember the differences, think: “What Is v. What Ought To Be”
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