Intro to Communication.docx

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General Education Studies

TOPIC 1  What is communication?  Systems, processes and outcomes of everyday interactions with the world around us.  Can be aural, visual, written or gestural.  Transmission of meaningful message.  Product of marketing.  Part of film and TV culture.  Representation of ideal types.  Broad discipline:  Negotiates and moderated the relationship between different discourses of communication.  What is mass communications?  What are the main characteristics of mass communications.  The process of producing and disseminating media.  The construction of the media message.  The reception and appropriation of media messages.  The media that transmit a message to a large number of people.  Mass communication not generally face-to-face and involves the mediation of technology.  Messages in MC produced for an audience.  Individuals who comprise the audience are not physically present at the place of production and transmission/diffusion of message.  Involves an instituted break between production and reception.  E.g. a DE student, content is shaped by the technology used.  Use of technology places communicators at a distance.  Use of TV, phone or CD generally takes place in the absence of the sender of the message,  Limited feedback in MC, especially in broadcast media (TV and radio).  Mass communication messages can reach more people at once.  Due to high cost, messages have a different commercial value to face- to-face communication.  Market controlled, packaged and market driven.  E.g. popular music involves the packaging of the song with attractive musicians, expensive video clips and a particular style.  Mass communication and society:  Shapes society and the values that are said to bind us together.  E.g. printing press brought with it significant cultural changes – it allowed masses of people to become better informed and also increased the rates of literacy.  Radio, TV and internet make possible the media event or spectacle e.g. distress and mass hysteria when MJ died was an affect of media produced celebrity.  Don‟t generally use the word society – use social relations or social relationships.  Society too homogeneous and assumes that society is external.  Society is a multiplicity of competing and intersecting bodies of people.  Social relations – better term – suggests that what gets called society is made up of many relationships, tensions, contradictions, etc.  Why is it important that we study it?  Every discipline is a study of communication to some degree:  Computer programming – communication between hardware and machines.  Engineering – communication between parts of a process i.e. assembly line.  English Lit – communication within high art, aesthetics.  Maths – common language of measurement and the communication of quantifiable relationships.  Crucial terms used throughout the entire unit.  Mass media:  Implies the media of the masses (more popular and can change the way we think) or those media that are mass-produced.  Term mass denotes a group that is large, coherent but disorganised.  Medium:  Physical means of transmitting a message.  E.g. Printed page, human voice, broadcasting.  Message:  What is transmitted by the medium. o The human voice may enunciate a sentence. o The TV may transmit a program. o The printed page may include an article or image.  The process model of communications [SMR]:  Application:  Generally designed for information systems where the effectiveness of the communication is paramount (more important than anything else).  Used to describe processes of MC because of the one-way relationship between the producer (information source) and the receiver in broadcast media.  Assumes that the message is something that can be sent and received and in this tense, it privileges a physical conception of information movement.  Terms used: o Source – one who constructs the message e.g. human, computer. o Transmitter – mechanism that sends the message e.g. voice. o Signal – physical transmission e.g. sound wave, written text. o Message – form of the information e.g. sentence, byte. o Encode – convert message into a signal. o Noise source – something that disrupts the transmission. o Receiver – mechanism that receives and decodes the transmission. o Destination – one for whom the message is intended. o Signal received – the signal that finally reaches the receiver. o Message received – the actual message received rather than the intended message. o Decode – converts the signal into a message.  Criticisms of the process model:  Fails to take into account the context of communication, o Context includes your capacity to understand the message. o Understanding a joke requires a degree of cultural literacy,  Communication is not simply the transmission of information – but the contexts surrounding the communication effect what gets communicated and understood. o Communication does not simply reflect an already given reality but that it shapes reality.  Assumes meaning of the message is straightforward, but not the case.  Meaning is always negotiated, open to different interpretations.  Sender and receiver are different; so don‟t share identical understanding of the message.  Messages are texts, and texts are complex.  Concepts of context and cultural literacy (i.e. cultural model of communications). o Cultural Literacy: Understanding different culture's languages and behaviours. E.g. Australian slang.  Message isn't intended for the context it is in.  Context.  Communication.  Shared knowledge/experience. TOPIC 2  Different ways of understanding audiences.  Mass: o Large, inert (not moving), homogeneous.  Or socially differentiated? o Audience composed of specific individuals situated in definite socio-historical contexts.  Passive: o Vulnerable, cultural dupes.  Or (inter) active? o Actively make sense of the media text, interact with it.  Used/affected by the text: o Manipulated by media messages to accept a certain ideology, consume a certain product, even take on certain behaviours.  Using the text? o Seeking out media texts for own purposes of amusement, information, relaxation, etc.  The receivers of a media message (process model).  Refers to an increasingly diverse and complex reality.  A word without a referent?  Differences between the live audience and the mass audience.  Less a description of reality than an accentuation of features typical of conditions of mass production and distribution of news and entertainment.  When used by early commentators, the term generally had a pejorative connotation, reflecting Western values of individualism and a pessimistic view of modern industrial society, by contrast with an image of a more communal and satisfying way of life.  Calling an audience a mass reflected fears of depersonalisation, irrationality, manipulation, and of general decline in cultural and moral standards.  As later critics have pointed out, the real problem was not the existence of „the masses‟, but the tendency to treat people as if they were masses.  Traditional audience of a live event: o Localised in time and place. o Could respond directly to the performance and interact. o Shared a collective experience.  Criticisms of the mass audience.  New media changing the characteristics of the audience: o More choice and flexibility in how and when we use media. o Audiences more fragmented in response to different patterns of media provision. o Distinction between producer and receiver of the media text is blurring. o Arguably, without a mass medium there is no single, collective audience.  How audiences can be defined.  5 ways audiences can be defined: o By place. o By demographics. o By medium or channel. o By content. o By time.  How audiences are researched. Types of audience research: Industry research:  Counts the audience, interested mainly in size.  Use of ratings – a method of surveying the audience to see who‟s watching.  Institutional purpose is to sell broadcast airtime (= audiences) to advertisers.  Not really interested in knowing the audience in any depth. Types of audience research: Academic research:  Interested in how audience members make sense of media texts.  Tradition of studying audience to try to determine if media has negative effects.  Often concerned with media‟s influence on audience‟s ideological outlook or moral values.  However recent academic research stresses possibilities for multiple readings of media texts.  Difference between audience as market and audience as public. Audience as a market versus public:  Media production has an institutional context.  Produces different approaches to the audience.  2 institutional contexts in television: o Commercial TV. o Public service broadcasting. TOPIC 3  Relationship between and social context:  Space versus place. What is place?  Physical place: o Circumscribed boundaries. o Fences, doors. o The physical place where you live, work.  Social situation: o A place where social interaction occurs. o A football game, lecture theatre, etc.  Shared places: o Does the social situation define the place?  E.g. the family dinner.  Can you enjoy a football match outside the stadium?  At what point do we stop wearing our bathers?  Prior to the development of electronic communication, social relations largely took place in a specific place and time. o Communication usually involved the time of travel in the carrying of the message. o The constitution of the audience in a specific place. o Buyers and sellers had to meet and bargain in the marketplace. o Priests and believers performed rituals at special times in specific sacred sites set apart from mundane (dull) space. o Storytellers and performers address physical audiences. o Traveling involves the experience of different social and physical spaces. o Communication used to be synonymous with travel. o To move information required physical movement by the road, railway, etc. o Multiple languages, accents, customs.  Electronic communication liberates us from place (and reduces distance).  The speed of interaction changes the nature of interaction and ends up redefining social space.  From telegraph onwards, complex messages could move faster than the physical movement of a human or animal. o A message could be sent electronically rather than despatched. o Orders can be made for goods without direct contact. o A communicative rather than physical presence. o The time linking the two places is reduced. o The speed of interaction changes the nature of interaction and ends up redefining social space.  Psychological mobility: o New sense of speed and connectivity to social life. o Enables a new private world, a virtual community – everything becomes virtual until the individuals; the places and the movements are brought together. o An attempt to locate and contextualise a displaced voice and also a recognition that mobile users operate in a dislocated world (aproximeeting).  History of telecommunication – shows how context also affects social and cultural uses of the telephone.  Issues of mediation:  Electronic communications „invade‟ places yet do not occupy them as other media such as books do. o With electronic media the specialness of place is destroyed in 2 ways:  They render the idea of place irrelevant – they ignore physical boundaries which define space.  The private world of the child and mobile phones.  Physical not informational isolation.  E.g. the man who died on Everest after calling his wife.  They decontextualise the cultural meanings of place:  Local community celebrates global events.  TV and the dinner table.  Phones in lectures.  Emails in the office environment.  Music is no longer confined to a listening environment.  New forms of social interaction.  New possibilities for sociality/antisociality: o Extension of intimacy:  Phone contact at a distance (developing relationships).  Internet relationships.  The use of the phone as a confirmation of intimacy. o New forms of sociability:  Friends gather around the TV to watch a favourite show, sporting event, or some other ritual.  Create new social spaces for disaffected groups (e.g. nerd conventions).  Pub TV nights.  Mobile phone text dating at pubs.  Online gaming (sociality). o New forms of separation:  The privatisation of experience (e.g. iPod).  The withdrawal from all social interaction except electronic media.  Caller ID and screening.  In para-social interaction people form strong emotional relationships with people they have never met in the flesh.  People form strong emotional relationships with people they have never met.  New mass media: o Offers the illusion of face-to-face interaction with performers and political figures.  It is an intersection of two notions of place: o Intimate social place and mediated place.  Depends on the production of celebrity: o E.g. public mourning.  The phenomenon of celebrity stalking.  The development of television that focuses on liveness and the personal. o Personalisation of news anchors.  News reports focus on the present experience and how you (viewer) are part of an ongoing process. TOPIC 4  Differences between oral and print based cultures. Written communication Oral communication Unresponsive – doesn‟t talk back Responsive – talks back. (except hypertext). Decontextualised – written in Contextualised – sender and absence of reader and read in receiver both present. absence of sender. Replaces the human memory. Cultural continuity is based on oral traditions. Loosens ties between the learned Storyteller is important figure. teacher and the ordinary person/reader. Refers to itself i.e. written textbook Transmission of knowledge and will refer to other texts. learning is based on face-to-face communication. Language is concrete and there is a small gap between word and thing.  Development of print culture in Europe and the Islamic world. Effects of print on oral culture in Europe:  Development of printing – 15 thcentury.  Widespread literacy among ordinary people – 19 century.  Previously: o Reading and writing was previously the provision of an educated elite e.g. church. o Ordinary people depended on their parish priest for news of the wider world.  Development of popular culture based on mass production of cheap printed material for entertainment read out loud by literate villagers – 17 century.  Advent of print co-existed with oral culture. Development of print culture in the Islamic world:  Publishing industry was central to Islamic culture – 8 -15 thcentury. o An institution built around paper, bookshops, libraries and scribes. o Religious elite became concerned about this open dissemination of knowledge/learning. o Notion of ilm (knowledge of Islam) was reduced. o Delayed the introduction of the printing press into Muslim countries for almost 300 years.  Invention of paper and the development of a written culture – 700AD.  Through the transcription of oral knowledge into books by scribes, Muslim culture became a culture devoted to knowledge and learning.  The impact of print culture on social relations.  The privatisation of social life – loosening of social ties. o Movement from oral culture in which the transmission of knowledge was through oral recitation to others to reading of written texts aloud to others to silent scanning of the printed word. o A reading public is more dispersed, privatised and individualised than a hearing one e.g. reading the newspaper at home rather than attending a sermon to hear news. o Sharper division between private and public affairs. o Print helped to initiate habits that were more conducive to privatisation and individualism (made more likely/possible).  The creation of national communities – newspapers provided the condition for nationhood („imagined communities‟). o As print communities developed, there was less reliance on ties to the local community, and a new adherence to external ties. o E.g. shift from attending town meetings to reading newspapers that cover local, national and global events. o Print based communication initiated ties to larger more distant groups. o Novel and newspaper tells us stories about people we will never meet but feel a connection to – and also feel a connection with the other readers of these print texts – “imagined communities”.  Benedict Anderson – argues that the newspaper was a necessary precondition in the formation of a national consciousness.  Globalisation – importance of the telegraph as the first electronic technology, rise of news as a global commodity. o Print culture enabled spread of all forms of knowledge, including news. o Convergence of print with the technology of the telegraph enabled the commercialisation and globalisation of news in the 19 century. o As a saleable commodity newspapers needed speed and originality, “one day bestseller” (Benedict Anderson). o Telegraph enabled news from distant places to be provided much faster than previously – brought remote places closer together.  Electronic writing: Internet, hypertext and non-linear forms of association.  Convergence – the dissolving of the boundary between 2 mediums.  Electronic writing has changed the way we produce and engage with print. o Engages the process of writing – handwriting an essay vs typing it. o Changes the way we read – reading a hard copy vs kindle/ipad.  Hypertext – refers to an electronic „document‟ that is organised in a fundamentally different way to printed matter (hard copy). o E.g. browsing a webpage – multiple pathways, reader chooses their own path through the text, reader can become a user and co-author. o Said to bring about the death of linear narrative. o The database becomes the model for the organisation of knowledge, rather than the narrative (the medium is the computer, not the book). o E.g. online education, digital storytelling. o Impact on local/global politics: o Internet is an assemblage of print, images and sounds. o While hypertext has changed the nature of print, the visual and aural properties of the internet are moving it back towards oral culture. o The growth of social networks and the internet as a while – stems largely from an outpouring of expression that feels more like talking than writing. o Communication is no longer purely local (as with oral communication) but global. o Internet functions as a database of information and a political tool. o Can be problematic e.g. uses of web to organise terrorist cells. Can be used in politically empowering ways e.g. getting information out for protesters for causes.  Changes in the role of readers and writers.  Further globalisation of knowledge/information. TOPIC 5  Communication as a transmission and/or ritual.  The process model describes communication in terms of the transmission view.  Emphasis on the transmission of messages and goods: “the transmission of signals or messages over distance for the purpose of control”. Transmission model:  The message is sent across a physical channel. o Sender – message – receiver.  Movement of information: o Information can be compared to the transmission of goods across space.  It is understood as a neutral object that is unaffected by place (it is carried).  You receive more or less information, etc. depending on the type of communication depending on the quality of the channel. o This approach has a historical basis in the physical movement of objects and people:  The message was originally a physical object that had to be moved across increasing distances e.g. the pony express, carrier pigeons, the delivery of mail.  Clarity and information management: o Government information campaigns. o University email (managing expectation, common message). o Central point of dissemination/known audience:  If the message is properly sent, it should be understood/accepted.  Seeking greatest reach.  Transmission = control of space: o Underpinning this metaphor of information as an object are issues of power:  The transmission of signals or messages over distance for the purpose of control. o Controlling the production and dissemination of messages is central to controlling a populace.  Greater distance, greater control.  Transmission (speed and distance): o Communication was viewed as a process and a technology that would spread, transmit and disseminate knowledge, ideas and information farther and faster with the goal of controlling space and people. o Communication and road networks increase the effectiveness of the police and military e.g. catching Ned Kelly. o Common language (spread through common texts) and currency are a means of controlling a wide range of people e.g. the telegraph and the news, the use of English/French/Spanish in colonialism (political control/language of governance).  Spatial control: o This model underpins approaches to communication such as:  Military communication (supplies, positions, centralised commands).  Political communication/propaganda.  Professional communication (PR – common message).  Emphasis is on clarity and the effectiveness of the delivery of the message (information).  Telecommunications and transmission: o The telecommunications industry operates under the transmission model with emphasis on:  Coverage.  Accessibility of information via technology, o However, there is another aspect to communication where transmission is linked to community.  A ritual view is directed not towards the extension of messages in space but the maintenance of society in time. Not the act of imparting information or influence but the creation, representation, and celebration of shared even illusionary beliefs. o Ritual view – temporal (time based) because the emphasis is on maintenance and continuity.  Ritual as maintenance of shared beliefs and community.  Ritual definition linked to terms such as sharing, participation, association, fellowship, communion and community.  Phatic communication.  Talk, gesture, behaviour which opens the channel of communication.  Routine greetings e.g. how are you.  Codes of politeness.  Communication as the „social glue‟.  Language and the structuring of a worldview.  The transmission concept focuses in expansion – the spreading out of messages – but the ritual view is temporal because the emphasis is on maintenance and continuity.  Effects on space/place – new rituals of place: o The ritual of appointment:  Social meetings are no longer agreed upon before they occur, but are negotiated as convergence using the mobile technology.  Social space and ritual: o The meeting space: no longer ritualised (i.e. the same place) but continually negotiated via phone. o The meeting time: the idea of “being late” has changed because of continued contact. o “no-where” spaces and “no-when” times have the potential to become sites of and moments for communication because of the technology of the mobile phone e.g. blackberry messaging and the London riots. o The home: is re-figured as a public space within which the teenagers create private space within using the mobile.  Mass communication and ritual: o Mass communication can have a ritual function e.g. news.  The news changes little and yet is habitually satisfying; it performs few function and yet is habitually consumed. It is a presentation of reality that gives life an overall form, order and tone. o The ritual presentation and structure of news: news; sport; weather (part of the everyday). o Para-social interaction and ritual communication:  The familiar face of the news reader.  Watching together in you home and familiar events.  Ceremony: o If the archetypal (typical) case of communication under a transmission view is the extension of messages across geography for the purpose of control; the archetypal case under a ritual view is the sacred ceremony that draws people together in fellowship and commonality.  Cultural ceremony.  Silent rave.  Commercialisation of ritual. o The ritual and transmission view are not mutually exclusive or competing (Carey).  Communication and reality: o In the ritual view: communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed (Carey). o Raises the issue of the relationship between language and reality, on which there are 2 main positions:  Language as reality (propositions):  There is a real world that adequately or inadequately represented in language – language and reality are independent and the aim of communication is full transparency/accurate
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