Textbook Notes (368,720)
United States (206,099)
Boston College (1,174)
COMM 3372 (2)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Notes

6 Pages
Unlock Document

COMM 3372
Bruce Morrison

Mass Communication Theory  Chapter 1 Notes Understanding and Evaluating Mass Communication Theory • Grand theory – designed to explain entire media systems and their role in society • does not only apply to media • other theories are narrowly focused and provide insight into specific areas  mass communication- when a source, typically an organization employs a technology as a medium to communicate with a large audience. • Ex NYT uses printing presses and newspapers to reach readers. o NYT – organization o Printing press- technology o Newspaper- medium o Readers- large audience • The environment of mass comm is changing o Mediated communication- comm between few or many people with technology as the medium o Interpersonal communication- comm between two or more people usually face-to- face o Message content is controlled by the organization but the audience is active in interpreting the message individually. • Science and human behavior o Social scientists are the naysayers of the world  Leave us suspicious • Apply logic and observation (science)  Tv corrupts morals  Parents rely on tv to babysit kids  Tv campaigns leave us cynical o Physical scientists are dreamers, fixers  The future • Brought us TV, cells, photos, etc. o Causality- when a given factor influences another even by an intervening variable o Causal relationship- when alterations of a particular variable under specific conditions always produces the same result. o Scientific method- search for truth through accurate observation and interpretation of fact  Hypothesis- testable prediction of some event.  Empirical- capable of being verified or disproved by observation  Karl Popper • The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1939) o Foundation of scientific method Mass Communication Theory   Defs. On page 8&9 Scientific method in the social world is complicated because there are difficulties with applying it to the social world. • No two individuals see news stories the same because each individual is affected by each experience. o Difficult to keep consistency in testing o Can change behavior/response • Most significant and interesting forms of human behavior are difficult to measure o Impossible to isolate single factors that are the exclusive cause to human behavior  Many factors influence and affect individuals differently • Humans have goals and are self-reflexive o Revise/make new goals o Reflect on decisions/actions The simple notion of causality is sometimes troubling when it is applied to our self • We are curious by nature • Trust physical laws • Resent causal statements when we apply them to ourselves • Third-person effect- media affects others but not me o Others are not as smart as I am Defining theory • Theory- any organized set of concepts, explanations and principles of some aspect of human experience o Stories about how and why events occur  As defined by Stephen Littlejohn and Karen Foss o An idea that explains an event or behavior  As defined by Griffin o Describes, rationale, causality • 4 major categories of Comm theory 1. Postpositivism • Theory based on empirical observation guided by scientific method 2. Cultural theory 3. Critical theory 4. Normative theory • All differ in their: o ontology- The nature of reality; what is knowable o epistemology- how knowledge is created and expanded o axiology- the proper role of human values in research and theory building Postpositivism • knowledge gained through observable, measurable phenomena • recognizes humans and their behavior are not as constant as the physical world • Goals: Mass Communication Theory  o Explanation, prediction, control • Ontology: o Accepts the world exists apart form our perceptions of it o Human behavior is systematically predictable • Epistemology (gold tab page 14) o Knowledge is advanced through systematic, logical search for regularities ad causal relationships. o Advances come when there is  Intersubjective agreement – when members of a research community arrive at similar conclusions about a social phenomenon. • Axiology o Orange tab page 14 Cultural theory - • Seeking to understand contemporary culture by analyzing the structure and content of their communication • Origin in hermeneutic theory o The study of understanding especially by interpreting action and text  Social and textual o Social hermeneutics  Seeks to understand how those in an observed social situation interpret their own place in the situation • Cultural theory also referred to as interpretive theory – seeks to interpret the meaning of o Text- any product of social interaction that serves as a source of understanding or meaning  Books, magazines, movies, tweets • Ontology (green tab page 15) o No truly measurable social reality o We create an image based on biases and prejudices as well as experiences • Epistemology o Knowledge is local o Subjective between the observer and the community • Axiology o Embraces the influence of researchers and theorists Critical theory – (nonrepresentational) • Seeks transformation of a dominant social order in order to achieve desired values • Openly political • Reorganize society to give priority to the most important human values • Study oppression and inequality (criticize) • Epistemology o Knowledge is only advanced when used to free those who are under the influence of those more powerful Mass Communication Theory   Emancipatory knowledge • What is real, what is knowabl
More Less

Related notes for COMM 3372

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.