Sunday, November 17, 2013

Discussing "A Cultural Approach to Communication" by J.W. Carey

In his book Communication as Culture, specifically the chapter entitled “A Cultural Approach to Communication,” James W. Carey discusses his theories regarding two very different definitions of the word communication – the transmission view and the ritual view. Although Carey claims the transmission view is the predominant definition within our society, he discusses at length the ritual view of communication and uses comparisons to the social sciences to describe this very different idea of communication.

As a reader, what do you think the author intended you to take from this passage? What was his purpose in writing this, from what you could tell?

Carey argued that the transmission view of communication can “no longer go forward without disastrous intellectual and social consequences” and communications theorists must “escape the treadmill we were running” regarding the theory. Do you think that the transmission view is really outdated, as he argues?

Just given that this is a somewhat revolutionary idea, were you convinced that this is a valid interpretation of the word “communication,” especially considering that it differs so dramatically from the transmission view and how we’ve studied communication thus far?

Especially after two units in class on journalism and strategic communication, do you think that the ritual view of communication can be applied to communication today?

In “The Persuaders,” Mark Crispin Miller from New York University argues that a culture saturated by strategic communication and advertising is not a culture at all. However, Casey argues that communication is exactly what comprises society, culture and even our own reality. Which argument do you identify with the most? Do you think that Casey’s argument applies to all kinds of communication we see today?

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