Research Report on “A Cultural Approach to Communication,” by James Carey
“A Cultural Approach to Communication” was the first chapter in the book Communication as Culture written by James W. Carey in 1989. The goal of this first chapter was to introduce the reader to the idea of a ritual view of communication and how it contrasts to the more widely used transition view of communication.
The author, James W. Carey was a communication theorist, a media critic, and a journalism instructor at the University of Illinois, as well as Columbia University. Carey is credited for the development of the theory of a ritual view of communication, describing it as a form of drama where we do not gain information; instead a particular view of the world is portrayed and confirmed. The sole motivation for the author to take the view of the superiority of the ritual view of communication over the transition view in the first chapter of his book is to introduce his theory to the reader. Carey attempts to introduce this idea through multiple examples, such as the newspaper examples, and quotes from those who inspired his theory, such as the excerpts from Dewey’s work. This purpose can be classified as academic, with the goal of conveying this new theory and supporting it in order to build an academic reputation through the development of ideas.
The chapter being analyzed, “A Cultural Approach to Communication,” was part of the book Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society, which was published in 1989 by Psychology Press. This book is one of three written by Carey all concerning the theories of communication. The intended audience for this book is likely students or those interested in the theories of communication, which is conveyed through the book’s scholarly, thoughtful tone. Because Carey was a professor at University of Illinois and Columbia University, it can be assumed that large part of his intended audiences were students, in order to educate them of these theories.
Based on the book reviews that can be found on Amazon and Google Books, it can be seen that the intended audience’s reception of the book was positive. One reviewer found that allow the book is over two decades old, the ideas presented by Carey are still relevant today and still require attention. Another reviewer found the book valuable and thought provoking. Overall the intended audience, students looking to further there understand of communications, found the book very helpful to their majors. Although the essays can be somewhat difficult to understand, with careful reading Carey brings up interesting and unique ideas concerning communications.
Overall through analysis of the author and the reviews received by the book, some even speculating that because of its enlightening theories it is sure to become a classic, we can be confident in the details of what we are reading. Carey strived to write in a scholarly tone that can be trusted because of the support used in the articles, basing the theories on examples that provided inspiration for the ideas, and developing his ideas completely.