Changes in the 7th Edition

New Chapters

  • Chapter 1—Launching Your Study of Communication Theory

    This is a new chapter.  Written to provide a working definition of theory and  communication before diving into metatheoretical issues.  An easier entrée for the beginning student.
  • Chapter 24—Media Ecology of Marshall McLuhan

    New chapter in that McLuhan’s media ecology wasn’t in 6th edition. On-line version has been significantly cut and revised for inclusion in the text.  Unlike previous treatments, the ecological nature of media is stressed.

  • Chapter 30—Communication Accommodation Theory of Howard Giles

    Giles’ theory of intercultural communication explains when  converging toward another person's style of speaking makes for greater interpersonal attraction and when diverging from the speech pattern of an out-group member increases solidarity with the in-group.

  • Chapter 36—Common Threads in Comm Theories

    A new integrative chapter that identifies ten principles of communication that run through multiple theories. These principles cut across communication context, the objective-interpretive distinction, and traditions of communication theory.  I refer to them as threads, because each strand connects theories that might otherwise seem unrelated.

Other Changes

  • Definitions of key terms within text of chapters made possible by wider margins.


  • Icon at beginning of each theory chapter provides the theory's metatheoretical location. The summary classification chart of communication theories has been moved from final chapter to Chapter 2, Talk About Theory.  The appropriate slice of that chart displayed at the beginning of each chapter to remind students where the theory falls on an objective-interpretive scale.  Beneath that icon, the intellectual tradition which spawned the theory is identified.
  • Context example

  • Chapters revised to incorporate new illustrations that illustrate theories.

Relational dialectics: Film, Bend It Like Beckham     
Cognitive dissonance: Multiple antismoking media

  • Gudykunst’s anxiety/uncertainty management theory now placed as an extension of Berger’s uncertainty reduction theory.
  • Delia’s constructivism now placed with other theories of interpersonal messages.
  • Added a new section to Gerbner’s cultivation theory that probes whether dramatic violence still cultivates fear in the new media environment.
  • Ethical reflections are now integrated into the text of a dozen chapters with which they naturally fit.  Examples: Buber’s dialogic ethics is a section in the chapter on CMM; Aristotle’s golden mean is a section in the chapter on his theory of Rhetoric; Gilligan’s different voice is a section on Tannen’s genderlect.
  • Nine new cartoons to illustrate ideas in chapters.
  • One hundred new academic citations.


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