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Theory Resources—by Type

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Chapter Outlines (9th Edition)

From the Instructors Manual


Launching Your Study (Chapter 1)

  1. What is a theory and what does it do?
    1. Ernest Bormann defined theory as “an umbrella term for all careful, systematic, and self-conscious discussion and analysis of communication phenomena.”
    2. This definition is purposefully broad, but may not be helpful in providing a direction for study.
    3. Judee Burgoon suggested that a theory is nothing more than “a set of systemic hunches about the way things operate.”
      1. Set of hunches.
        1. If a theory is a set of hunches, it means we aren’t yet sure we have the answer.
        2. Theories always involve an element of speculation or conjecture.
        3. A theory is not just one inspired thought or an isolated idea.
        4. A theory offers some sort of explanation.
        5. A theory offers some indication of scope.
      2. Informed hunches.
        1. A theorist’s hunches should be informed.
        2. A theorist has a responsibility to check it out.
        3. A theorist should be familiar with alternate explanations and interpretations.
      3. Hunches that are systematic.
        1. A theory is an integrated system of concepts, laying out both relevant terms and their relationship to one another. 
        2. A theory ties together ideas into a unified whole.
      4. Images of theory.
        1. Theory might also be understood using descriptive metaphors.
        2. Karl Popper described theories as nets, a tool used to grasp an elusive concept.
        3. Theories can be seen as lenses which help focus attention.
        4. Theories serve as maps, guiding us through unfamiliar territory.
  2. What is communication?
    1. No singular definition of communication is agreed upon by communication scholars.
    2. Frank Dance, who published the first comprehensive book on communication theory, concluded that we’re “trying to make the concept of communication do too much work for us.” 
    3. Communication is the relational process of creating and interpreting messages that elicit a response.
      1. Messages are at the core of communication study.
        1. Communication theories deal specifically with messages.
        2. The term text is synonymous with a message.
      2. Communicators usually make conscious choices about a message’s form and substance.
      3. Messages are symbolically encoded and decoded by people based on the meanings they assign.
      4. Communication is an on-going relational process between two or more people, which both affects their interpretation of the messages as well as the nature of the connection between the people.  
      5. Communication has an effect upon the people who receive it, provoking or eliciting a response.
  3. An arrangement of ideas to aid comprehension.
    1. The arrangement of the book’s chapters is explained.
    2. The 31 theory chapters are divided into four major divisions, interpersonal communication, group and public communication, mass communication, and cultural context.

Talk About Theory (Chapter 2)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Theorists grounded in behavioral science approach communication using the scientific method.
    2. Theorists grounded in the humanities approach communication through interpreting texts.
    3. Communication theories reflect a variety of methodological approaches, desired outcomes or goals, and levels of investigation.
  2. Objective or interpretive: sorting out the labels.
    1. The objective approach and the interpretative approach to communication study differ in starting point, method, and conclusion.
    2. Scholars who do objective study are scientists.
    3. Scholars who do interpretive study are concerned with meaning and reflect a range of ideological and methodological positions. As a result, there is no single unifying or accepted label, although Griffin uses the term “interpretive scholars.”
  3. Ways of knowing: discovering truth or creating multiple realities?
    1. Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge.
    2. Scientists assume that truth is singular.
      1. Reality is accessible through our senses.
      2. Collectively, scientists can understand the world.
      3. Good theories are mirrors of nature, true as long as conditions remain the same.
    3. Interpretive scholars also seek truth, but they are more tentative about the possibility of revealing objective reality.
      1. Truth is largely subjective; meaning is highly interpretive.
      2. The knower cannot be separated from the known.
      3. Multiple meanings are acceptable.
      4. Successful interpretations are those that convince others.
  4. Human nature: determinism or free will.
    1. Determinists argue that heredity and environment determine behavior. 
      1. Scientists favor this stance.
      2. They stress behavior shaped by forces beyond our control or individual awareness.
      3. Behavior is the response to a prior stimulus.
    2. Free will proponents maintain that human behavior is ultimately voluntary.
      1. Interpretive scholars endorse this position.
      2. They focus on conscious choices of individuals, not on why choices are made.
      3. They believe that significant decisions are value laden. 
    3. As individual freedom increases, predictability of behavior decreases.   
  5. The highest value: objectivity or emancipation?
    1. Social scientists value objectivity; personal values should not distort human reality.
    2. Interpretive scholars seek to expand the range of free choice; knowledge is never neutral.
    3. Scientists seek effectiveness; interpreters focus on participation
  6. The purpose of theory: universal laws or guides for interpretation?
    1. Scientists seek universal laws; interpreters strive to interpret individual texts.
    2. Scientists test theories; interpreters explore the web of meaning constituting human existence.
    3. Scientists seek prediction; interpretive scholars strive for meaning.
  7. Objective or interpretive: Why is it important?
    1. You cannot fully understand a theory without knowing its assumptions about truth, human nature, the purpose of theory, and its values.
    2. It is helpful when thinking through theories to have a way of organizing them into objective and interpretive worldviews.
    3. Understanding objective and interpretive points can help you decide what direction to take your course work.
    4. Theorists in both camps believe their area of work will improve relationships and society.
    5. Plotting theories on an objective-interpretive scale: Objective and interpretive labels anchor end of a continuum, with many theories in between.

Weighing the Words (Chapter 3)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Not all theories are equally effective.
    2. The utility of a theory may be judged by applying the appropriate criteria used by behavioral scientists and a wide range of interpretive scholars to weigh the theories of their colleagues.
  2. What makes an objective theory good?
    1. Scientific standard 1: Explanation of the data.
      1. A good theory makes sense out of disturbing situations or draws order out of chaos.
      2. It focuses attention on crucial variables and away from irrelevant data.
      3. It explains what is happening and why.
      4. It explains both the process and the results.
    2. Scientific standard 2: Prediction of future events.  Prediction in physical science is more accurate than in social science, where it is based on probability.
    3. Scientific standard 3: Relative simplicity.  The rule of parsimony dictates that all things being equal, we accept the simpler explanation over the more complex.
    4. Scientific standard 4: Hypotheses that can be tested.  If there is no way to prove a theory false, then the assumption that it's true is mere guesswork.
    5. Scientific standard 5: Practical utility. 
      1. A good objective theory provides increased control.
      2. Don't dismiss a theory as impractical unless you understand it.
    6. Scientific standard 6: Quantitative Research
      1. Scientists favor quantifiable experiments and surveys.
      2. Through experiments, scientists seek to establish a cause-and-effect relationship by manipulating an independent variable in a tightly controlled situation in order to determine its effect on a dependent variable.  Results are measured.
      3. Surveys rely on self-report data to discover who people are and what they think, feel, and intend to do.
      4. It is difficult to support cause-and-effect relations with surveys, but survey data more closely resemble “real life” than experimentation does.
  3. What makes an interpretive theory good?
    1. Interpretive standard 1: New understanding of people.
      1. Rhetorical theory elucidates texts.
      2. It helps critics clarify complex communication.
      3. It suggests universal patterns of symbol usage.
      4. Whereas science wants objective explanation, humanism desires subjective understanding. 
      5. Klaus Krippendorff's Self-Referential Imperative: Include yourself as a constituent of your own construction.
    2. Interpretive standard 2: Clarification of values.
      1. Theorists acknowledge their own values.
      2. They seek to unmask the ideology behind messages.
      3. Many theorists value individual liberty and equality.  Krippendorff's Ethical Imperative: Grant others that occur in your construction the same autonomy you practice constructing them.
      4. Many interpretivist scholars value equality as highly as they do freedom.
    3. Interpretive standard 3: Aesthetic appeal.
      1. A theory's form can be as captivating as its content.
      2. As an artist, the critic sparks appreciation.
    4. Interpretive standard 4: A community of agreement.  A theory must have widespread scrutiny and usage.
    5. Interpretive standard 5: Reform of society. 
      1. Theory challenges cultural assumptions.
      2. It generates alternatives for social action.
    6. Interpretive standard 6: Qualitative research
      1. Interpretive scholars use qualitative textual analysis and ethnography.
      2. Textual analyses describe and interpret messages.
      3. Textual analyses refers to the intensive study of a single message from the humanistic perspective.
      4. Through ethnography, participant-observers experience a culture's web of meaning. 
  4. Contested turf and common ground among theorists.
    1. Theorists from scientific and interpretive camps can be friends with guarded optimism.
    2. It requires mutual respect for each other’s interest and recognition of their intellect.
    3. It requires a mutual appreciation that scientific theorists are comparing multiple messages or groups while interpretive theorists are analyzing a single message or group.
    4. The two sets of six criteria are not as different as they might seem.
      1. An explanation can further understanding of motive.
      2. Both prediction and value clarification look to the future.
      3. Simplicity has aesthetic appeal.
      4. Hypothesis testing is a way of achieving a community of agreement.
      5. Theories that reform are practical.
      6. Qualitative and quantitative research both reflect a commitment to learning more about communication.
    5. It is important for the two communities to at least be familiar with the other’s work.
    6. Although all theories featured in this book have merit, most have weaknesses elucidated by the standards set forth in this chapter.

Mapping the Territory (Chapter 4)

  1.  Introduction.
    1. Communication scholars hold widely divergent views as to what communication is.
    2. Robert Craig suggests that communication should be viewed as a practical discipline; theory is developed to solve real world problems.
    3. Craig identifies seven established traditions of communication theory. 
  2. The socio-psychological tradition: Communication as interpersonal interaction and influence.
    1. This tradition epitomizes the scientific perspective.
    2. Scholars believe that communication truths can be discovered by careful, systematic observation that predict cause-and-effect relationships.
    3. Researchers focus on what is without their personal bias of what ought to be.
    4. Theorists check data through surveys or controlled experiments, often calling for longitudinal empirical studies.
  3. The cybernetic tradition: Communication as a system of information processing.
    1. Norbert Wiener coined the term cybernetics to describe the field of artificial intelligence.
      1. Wiener’s concept of feedback anchored the cybernetic tradition.
      2. Communication is the link separating the separate parts of any system.
    2. Theorists seek to answer the questions: How does the system work? What could change it? How can we get the bugs out? 
  4. The rhetorical tradition: Communication as artful public address.
    1. Greco-Roman rhetoric was the main communication theory until the twentieth century.
    2. Six features characterize the tradition.
      1. A conviction that speech distinguishes humans from other animals.
      2. A confidence in the efficacy of public address.
      3. A setting of one speaker addressing a large audience with the intention to persuade.
      4. Oratorical training as the cornerstone of a leader’s education.
      5. An emphasis on the power and beauty of language to move people emotionally and stir them to action.
      6. Rhetoric was the province of males.
  5. The semiotic tradition: Communication as the process of sharing meaning through signs.
    1. Semiotics is the study of signs.
    2. Words are a special kind of sign known as a symbol.
    3. I. A. Richards was an early scholar of semiotics.
      1. His “proper meaning superstition” identifies the mistaken belief that words have a precise meaning.
      2. Meanings don’t reside in words or other symbols, but in people. 
  6. The socio-cultural tradition: Communication as the creation and enactment of social reality.
    1. Communication produces and reproduces culture.
    2. Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf pioneered this tradition.
      1. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity states that the structure of a culture’s language shapes what people think and do.
      2. Their theory counters the notion that languages are neutral conduits of meaning.
    3. It is through language that reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed. 
  7.   The critical tradition: Communication as a reflective challenge of unjust discourse.
    1. Critical theory derives from the German Frankfurt School.
    2. The Frankfurt School rejected Karl Marx’s economic determinism, but embraced the Marxist tradition of critiquing society.
    3. Critical theorists challenge three features of contemporary society.
      1. The control of language to perpetuate power imbalances.
      2. The role of mass media in dulling sensitivity to repression.
      3. Blind reliance on the scientific method and uncritical acceptance of empirical findings. 
  8.   The phenomenological tradition: Communication as the experience of self and others through dialogue.
    1. Phenomenology refers to the intentional analysis of everyday life from the standpoint of the person who is living it.
    2. The phenomenological tradition places great emphasis on people’s perceptions and interpretations of their own subjective experiences.
    3. Phenomenological tradition answers two questions: Why is it so hard to establish and sustain authentic human relationships? How can this problem be overcome?
  9. Fencing the field of communication theory.
    1. These seven traditions have deep roots in communication theory.
    2. They have been mapped with respect to the objective/interpretive dichotomy.
    3. Hybrids are possible across traditions.
    4. They might not cover every approach to communication theory—thus the addition of the ethical tradition.
  10. The ethical tradition: Communication as people of character interacting in just and beneficial ways.
    1. Since ancient Greece, scholars have grappled with the obligations of the communicator.
    2. The NCA recently adopted a “Credo for Communication Ethics,” which includes the conviction that ethical communication:
      1. Advocates truthfulness, accuracy, honesty, and reason.
      2. Accepts responsibility for short-term and long-term consequences of communication.
      3. Strives to understand and respect other communicators before evaluating and responding to their messages.
    3. Concern for ethics spreads across the objective-interpretive landscape.
    4. Craig’s framework of seven traditions helps us make sense of the great diversity in the field of communication.

Interpersonal Communication: Interpersonal Messages

Symbolic Interactionism (Chapter 5)

  1. Introduction.
    1. George Herbert Mead, an early social constructionist, was an influential philosophy professor at the University of Chicago, but he never published his ideas.
    2. After his death, his students published his teachings in Mind, Self, and Society.
    3. Mead's chief disciple, Herbert Blumer, further developed his theory.
      1. Blumer coined the term symbolic interactionism, and claimed that communication is the most human and humanizing activity in which people are engaged.
      2. The three core principles of symbolic interactionism are concerned with meaning language and thinking.
      3. These principles lead to conclusions about the formation of self and socialization into a larger society.
  2. Meaning: The construction of social reality.
    1. First principle: Humans act toward people or things on the basis of the meanings they assign to those people or things.
    2. Once people define a situation as real, it’s very real in its consequences.
    3. Where a behavioral scientist would see causality as stimulus-->response, for an interactionist it would look like stimulus-->interpretation-->response.
  3. Language: The source of meaning.
    1. Meaning arises out of the social interaction people have with each other.
    2. Meaning is not inherent in objects.
    3. Meaning is negotiated through the use of language, hence the term symbolic interactionism.
      1. Second principle: As human beings, we have the ability to name things.
      2. Symbols, including names, are arbitrary signs.
      3. By talking with others, we ascribe meaning to words and develop a universe of discourse.
    4. Symbolic naming is the basis for society—the extent of knowing is dependent on the extent of naming.
    5. Symbolic interactionism is the way we learn to interpret the world.
      1. A symbol is a stimulus that has a learned meaning and a value for people.
      2. Our words have default assumptions.
      3. Significant symbols can be nonverbal as well as linguistic.
  4. Thinking: The process of taking the role of the other.
    1. Third principle: An individual's interpretation of symbols is modified by his or her own thought process.
    2. Symbolic interactionists describe thinking as an inner conversation, or minding.
      1. Minding is a reflective pause. 
      2. We naturally talk to ourselves in order to sort out meaning.
    3. Whereas animals act instinctively and without deliberation, humans are hardwired for thought.
      1. Humans require social stimulation and exposure to abstract symbol systems to have conceptual thought.
      2. Language is the software that activates the mind.
    4. Humans have the unique capacity to take the role of the other.
  5. The self: Reflections in a looking glass.
    1. Self cannot be found through introspection, but instead through taking the role of the other and imaging how we look from the other’s perspective.  This mental image is called the looking-glass self and is socially constructed, or as the Mead-Cooley hypothesis claims, “individuals’ self-conceptions result from assimilating the judgments of significant other.”
    2. Self is a function of language.
      1. One has to be a member of a community before consciousness of self sets in.
      2. The self is always in flux.
    3. Self is an ongoing process combining the “I” and the “me.”
      1. The “I” sponsors what is novel, unpredictable, and unorganized about the self.
      2. The “me” is the image of self seen through the looking glass of other people's reactions.
      3. Once your “I” is known, it becomes your “me.”
  6. Society: The socializing effect of others' expectations.
    1. The composite mental image of others in a community, their expectations, and possible responses is referred to as the generalized other.
    2. The generalized other shapes how we think and interact with the community.
    3. The “me” is formed through continual symbolic interaction.
    4. The “me” is the organized community within the individual.
  7. A sampler of applied symbolic interaction.
    1. Creating reality.
      1. Erving Goffman develops the metaphor of social interaction as a dramaturgical performance.
      2. The impression of reality fostered by performance is fragile.
    2. Meaning-ful research.
      1. Mead advocated study through participant observation, a form of ethnography.
      2. Experimental and survey research are void of the meaning of the experience.
    3. Generalized other—the tragic potential of symbolic interaction: Negative responses can consequently reduce a person to nothing.
    4. Naming.
      1. Name-calling can be devastating because it forces us to view ourselves through a warped mirror.
      2. These grotesque images are not easily dispelled.
    5. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
      1. Each of us affects how others view themselves.
      2. Our expectations evoke responses that confirm what we originally anticipated, resulting in a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    6. Symbol manipulation—symbols can galvanize people into united action.
  8. Ethical reflection: Levinas’ responsive “I”
    1. Levinas insists that the identity of our “I” is formed by the way we respond to others, not how others respond to me as Mead contends.
    2. We all have an ethical echo that has existed since the beginning of history and believes we all have a responsibility to take care of each other.
    3. For an “I” to find its identity in caring for the Other, it is important to not let their humanity register and put our identity at risk.
  9. Critique: Setting the gold standard for three interpretive criteria.
    1. Mead meets clarification of values, offers a new understanding of people, uses ethnographic research, and has a community of agreement.
    2. Does not call for a reform of society, in fact says little about power or emotion; also, has fluid boundaries, vague concepts, and an undisciplined approach that lack aesthetic appeal.
    3. Mead overstates his case, particularly when distinguishing humans from other animals.

Coordinated Management of Meaning (CCM) (Chapter 6)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Barnett Pearce and Vernon Cronen bemoan the fact that most communication theorists and practitioners hold to a transmission model of communication.
    2. They’d say that definitions look through communication rather than directly at it.
    3. In contrast, Pearce and Cronen offer the coordinated management of meaning (CMM)as a theory that looks directly at the communication process and what it’s doing.
  2. First Claim: Our communication creates our social worlds
    1. Selves, relationships, organizations, communities, and cultures are the “stuff” that make up our social worlds.
    2. For CMM theorists, our social worlds are not something we find or discover. Instead, we create them.
    3. Barnett Pearce summed up this core concept of the theory by asserting that persons-in-conversation co-construct their own social realities and are simultaneously shaped by the worlds they create.
    4. As social constructionists, CMM researchers see themselves as curious participants in a pluralistic world.
      1. They are curious rather than certain.
      2. They are participants rather than spectators.


      3. They live in pluralist worlds rather than seek a singular Truth.
      4. They advocate community-based action research, a collaborative approach to investigation that seeks to engage community members as equal and full participants in the research process.
  3. Second claim: The stories we tell differ from the stories we live
    1. CMM uses the term story to refer to much of what we say when we talk with others about our social worlds—ourselves, others, relationships, organizations, or the larger community       
    2. CMM theorists distinguish between stories lived and stories told.
      1. Stories told are the narratives that we use to make sense of our stories lived.
      2. The management of meaning involves the adjustment of our stories told to fit the reality of stories lived—or vice versa.
      3. Stories lived are the co-constructed actions we perform with others.
      4. Coordination takes place when we fit our stories lived into the stories lived by others in a way that makes life better.
    3. Stories told: Making and managing meaning.
      1. The stories we tell or hear are never as simple as they seem.
      2. LUUUUTT is an acronym to label the seven types of stories. There’s always tension between our stories lived and our stories told.
        1. Lived stories
        2. Unknown stories
        3. Untold stories
        4. Unheard stories
        5. Untellable stories
        6. Story Telling
        7. Stories Told
    4. Stories lived: Coordinating our patterns of interaction
      1. There’s almost always a difference or tension between our stories told and stories lived.
      2. Pearce and Cronen are particularly concerned with the patterns of communication we create with others. 
      3. The serpentine model can map out the history and analyze any conversation.
      4. CMM describes this type of conversational sequence as an unwanted repetitive pattern (URP) which neither party wants to repeat but they keep reliving it.
      5. Coordination refers to the “process by which persons collaborate in an attempt to bring into being their vision of what is necessary, noble, and good and to preclude the enactment of what they fear, hate, or despise.”
      6. Pearce used the phrase coordination without coherence to refer to people cooperating, but for quite different reasons.
  4. Third Claim: We get what we make
    1. Since CMM claims we create our social worlds through our patterns of communication, it follows that we get what we make.
    2. Barnett Pearce urged that we ask three questions when we reflect on past interactions: how did that get made? What are we making? What can we do to make better social worlds?
  5. Fourth Claim: Get the pattern right, create better outcomes
    1. Barnett Pearce admitted he couldn’t be specific on what to do to make social worlds better.
    2. Barnett and Kim Pearce describe better social worlds as replete with caring, compassion, love, and grace among its inhabitants—not the stated goal of most communication theories.
    3. The theorists’ answer is that one does not need to be a saint, a genius, or an orator. The communicator, however, must be mindful
    4. Mindfulness is a presence or awareness of what participants are making in the midst of a difficult conversation.
    5. For an overall remedy to unsatisfactory or destructive patterns of interaction, CMM theorists advocate dialogue, a specific form of communication that they believe will create a social world where we can live with dignity, honor, joy, and love.
    6. Barnett and Kim Pearce have adopted the perspective of Jewish philosopher Martin Buber.
  6. Ethical reflection: Martin Buber’s Dialogic Ethics.
    1. Buber, a German Jewish philosopher, focused his ethical approach on the relationship between people rather than on moral codes of conduct
    2. He contrasted two types of relationships—I-It versus I-Thou.
      1. I-It treats the other person as an object to be manipulated
      2. I-Thou treats our partner as the very one we are.
    3. For Buber, dialogue is a synonym for ethical communication
  7. Critique: Highly practical as it moves from confusion to clarity
    1. By offering such diagnostic tools as the serpentine and LUUUUTT models of communication, CMM promotes a deeper understanding of people and of the social worlds they create through their conversation.
    2. CMM leaves no doubt as to the commitments and practices that make better social worlds.
    3. Although many objectivist theorists dismiss CMM because of its social constructionist assumptions, CMM has generated widespread interest and acceptance within the community of interpretive communication scholars.
    4. If changing  destructive patterns of communication in whole communities strikes you as a bit of a stretch, you should know that pursuit of this goal is why Barnett and Kim Pearce founded the Public Dialogue Consortium and the CMM Institute.
    5. Despite meeting the previous criteria with ease, lack of clarity has seriously limited CMM’s wider use.

Expectancy Violations Theory (Chapter 7)

  1. Personal space expectations: conform or deviate?
    1. Judee Burgoon defines personal space as the invisible, variable volume of space surrounding an individual that defines that individual’s preferred distance from others.
      1. The size and shape of our personal space depends upon cultural norms and individual preferences.
      2. Personal space is always a compromise between the conflicting approach-avoidance needs that we as humans have for affiliation and privacy.
    2. Edward Hall coined the term proxemics to refer to the study of people’s use of space as a special elaboration of culture.
      1. He believed that most spatial interpretation is outside our awareness.
      2. He believed that Americans have four proxemic zones.
        1. Intimate distance: 0 to 18 inches.
        2. Personal distance: 18 inches to 4 feet.
        3. Social distance: 4 to 12 feet.
        4. Public distance: 12 feet to 25 feet.
      3. He maintained that effective communicators adjust their nonverbal behavior to conform to the communicative rules of their partners.
    3. Burgoon suggests that under some circumstances, violating social norms and personal expectations is a superior strategy to conformity.
  2. An applied test of the original model.
    1. According to Burgoon’s early model, crossing over the “threat threshold” that forms the boundary of the intimate distance causes physical and psychological discomfort.
    2. Noticeable deviations from what we expect cause a heightened state of arousal and spur us to review the nature of our relationship with a person.
    3. A person with “punishing” power should observe proxemic conventions or stand slightly farther away than expected.
    4. An attractive communicator benefits from a close approach.
    5. Burgoon’s original theory was not supported by her research, but she has continued to refine her approach to expectancy violations.
  3. A convoluted model becomes an elegant theory.
    1. Burgoon dropped the concept of the threat threshold.
    2. She has substituted “an orienting response” or a mental “alertness” for “arousal.”
    3. Arousal is no longer a necessary link between expectancy violation and communication outcomes such as attraction, credibility, persuasion, and involvement, but rather a side effect of a partner’s deviation.
    4. She has dropped the qualifier “nonverbal” because she believes the principles of EVT apply to verbal interaction as well.
  4. Core concepts of EVT (expectancy violations theory).
    1. EVT offers a soft determinism rather than hard-core universal laws.
    2. Burgoon does, however, hope to link surprising interpersonal behavior and attraction, credibility, influence, and involvement.
    3. Expectancy.
      1. Expectancy is what is predicted to occur rather than what is desired.
      2. Expectancy is based on context, relationship, and communicator characteristics.
      3. Burgoon believes that all cultures have a similar structure of expected communication behavior, but that the content of those expectations differs from culture to culture.
    4. Violation valence.
      1. The violation valence is the positive or negative value we place on the unexpected behavior, regardless of who does it.
      2. If the valence is negative, do less than expected.
      3. If the valence is positive, do more than expected.
      4. Although the meanings of most violations can be determined from context, some nonverbal expectancy violations are truly ambiguous.
      5. For equivocal violations, one must refer to the communicator reward valence.
    5. Communicator reward valence.
      1. The communicator reward valence is the sum of the positive and negative attributes that the person brings to the encounter plus the potential he or she has to reward or punish in the future.
      2. Puzzling violations force victims to search the social context for clues to their meaning and that’s when communication reward valence comes into play.
  5. Interactional Adaptation—Adjusting Expectations.
    1. EVT has been used to explain and predict attitudes and behaviors in a wide variety of communication contexts. 
    2. Paul Mongeau studied men and women’s expectations for first dates and compared those expectations with their actual experiences.
    3. Burgoon has also re-assessed EVT’s single-sided view and now favors a dyadic model of interactional adaptation.
      1. Interactional adaptation theory is an extension and expansion of EVT
      2. Interactional position encompasses three factors:
        1. Requirements—outcomes we all need to fulfill our basic needs to survive, be safe, belong, and have sense of self worth.  
        2. Expectations—what we think really will happen.
        3. Desire—what we personally would like to see happen.
    4. Burgoon outlined two shortcomings of EVT.
      1. EVT does not fully account for the overwhelming prevalence of reciprocity that has been found in interpersonal interactions.
      2. It is silent on whether communication valence supersedes behavior valence or vice versa when the two are incongruent.
    5. Interactional Adaptation theory is her attempt to address these problems.
  6. Critique: A well-regarded work in progress.
    1. Burgoon seeks to adjust and redesign an expectancy model that never quite works in practice as well as the theoretical blueprint says it should.
    2. Despite problems, Burgoon’s theory meets five of the six criteria for a good scientific theory, and recent research suggests improvement in prediction.
  7. Ethical Reflections: Kant’s categorical imperative.
    1. EVT focuses on what’s effective. Before we knowingly violate another’s expectation, we should consider what’s ethical.
    2. German philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that any time we speak or act, we have a moral obligation to be truthful.
    3. He held an absolutist position, based on his categorical imperative. 
    4. The categorical imperative is a method for determining right from wrong by thinking through the ethical valence of an act, regardless of motive.

Interpersonal Communication: Relationship Development

Social Penetration Theory (Chapter 8)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Developed by social psychologists Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor, social penetration theory explains how relational closeness develops.
    2. Closeness develops only if individuals proceed in a gradual and orderly fashion from superficial to intimate levels of exchange as a function of both immediate and forecast outcomes.
  2. Personality structure: a multilayered onion.
    1. The outer layer is the public self.
    2. The inner core is one’s private domain.
  3. Closeness through self-disclosure.
    1. The main route to deep social penetration is through self-disclosure.
    2. With the onion-wedge model, the depth of penetration represents the degree of personal disclosure.
    3. The layers of the onion are tougher near the center.
  4. The depth and breadth of self-disclosure.
    1. Peripheral items are exchanged more frequently and sooner than private information.
    2. Self-disclosure is reciprocal, especially in early stages of relationship development.
    3. Penetration is rapid at the start, but slows down quickly as the tightly wrapped inner layers are reached.
      1. Societal norms prevent too much early self-disclosure.
      2. Most relationships stall before a stable intimate exchange is established.
      3. Genuine intimate exchange is rare but when it is achieved, relationships become meaningful and enduring.
    4. Depenetration is a gradual process of layer-by-layer withdrawal.
    5. For true intimacy, depth and breadth of penetration are equally important.
  5. Regulating closeness on the basis of rewards and costs.
    1. Social penetration theory draws heavily on the social exchange theory of John Thibaut and Harold Kelley.
    2. If perceived mutual benefits outweigh the costs of greater vulnerability, the process of social penetration will proceed.
    3. Three important concepts are: relational outcome; relational satisfaction; and relational stability.
  6. Outcome: rewards minus costs.
    1. Thibaut and Kelley suggest that people try to predict the outcome of an interaction before it takes place.
      1. The economic approach to determining behavior dates from John Stuart Mill’s principle of utility.
      2. The minimax principle of human behavior claims that people seek to maximize benefits and minimize costs.
      3. The higher we index a relational outcome, the more attractive the behavior that might make it happen.
    2. Social exchange theory assumes that people can accurately gauge the benefits of their actions and make sensible choices based on their predictions.
    3. As relationships develop, the nature of interaction that friends find rewarding evolves.
  7. Gauging relational satisfaction- Comparison level (CL).
    1. A person’s CL is the threshold above which an outcome appears attractive.
    2. One’s CL for friendship, romance, or family ties is pegged by one’s relational history, the baseline of past experience.
    3. Sequence and trends play large roles in evaluating a relationship.
  8. Gauging relational stability- Comparison level of alternatives (CLalt).
    1. The CLalt is the best relational outcomes currently available outside the relationship.
    2. While one’s CL is relatively stable over time, CLalt compares the options at the current moment.
    3. When existent outcomes slide below an established CLalt, relational instability increases.
    4. Social exchange theories have an economic orientation.
    5. The CLalt explains why people sometimes stay in unsatisfying relationships.
      1. Some women endure abuse because Outcome > CLalt.
      2. They will leave only when CLalt > Outcome.
    6. The relative values of Outcome, CL, and CLalt help determine one’s willingness to disclose.
      1. Optimum disclosure will occur when both parties believe that Outcome > CLalt > CL.
      2. A relationship can be more than satisfying if it is stable, but other satisfying options are also available (in case this relationship turns sour).
  9. Ethical reflection: Epicurus’ ethical egoism.
    1. Psychological egoism reflects many social scientists’ conviction that all of us are motivated by self-interest.
    2. Ethical egoism claim we should act selfishly.
    3. Epicurus emphasized the passive pleasures of friendship, good digestion, and above all, the absence of pain.
    4. Other philosophers (Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand) echo the Epicurean call for selfish concern.
  10. Dialectics and the environment.
    1. Altman originally thought that openness is the predominant quality of relationship changes.  The desire for privacy may counteract a unidirectional quest for intimacy.
    2. A dialectical model suggests that human social relationships are characterized by openness or contact and closedness or separateness between participants.
    3. Altman also identified the environment as a heuristic cue that might guide our decisions to disclose.
    4. Disclosing of one’s self may include both our cognitive space (our minds, thoughts) and our physical space or territory. 
    5. Sandra Petronio’s Communication Privacy Management theory maps out the intricate ways people manage boundaries around their personal information.
  11. Critique: pulling back from social penetration.
    1. Social penetration is an established and familiar explanation of how closeness develops in friendships and romantic relationships.  But, it also has many critics.
    2. Petronio thinks it’s simplistic to equate self-disclosure with relational closeness.
    3. She also challenges the theorists’ view of disclosure boundaries as being fixed and increasingly less permeable.
    4. Can a complex blend of advantages and disadvantages be reliably reduced to a single index?
    5. Are people so consistently selfish that they always opt to act strictly in their own best interest?
    6. Paul Wright believes that friendships often reach a point of such closeness that self-centered concerns are no longer salient.

Uncertainty Reduction Theory (Chapter 9)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Charles Berger notes that the beginnings of personal relationships are fraught with uncertainties.
    2. Uncertainty reduction theory focuses on how human communication is used to gain knowledge and create understanding.
    3. Any of three prior conditions—anticipation of future interaction, incentive value, or deviance—can boost our drive to reduce uncertainty.
  2. Uncertainty reduction: To predict and explain.
    1. Berger’s emphasis on explanation (our inferences about why people do what they do) comes from the attribution theory of Fritz Heider.
    2. There are at least two types of uncertainty.
      1. Behavioral questions, which are often reduced by following accepted procedural protocols.
      2. Cognitive questions, which are reduced by acquiring information.
  3. An axiomatic theory: Certainty about uncertainty.
    1. Berger proposes a series of axioms to explain the connection between uncertainty and eight key variables.
    2. Axiom 1, verbal communication: As the amount of verbal communication between strangers increases, the level of uncertainty decreases, and as a result, verbal communication increases.
    3. Axiom 2, nonverbal warmth: As nonverbal affiliative expressiveness increases, uncertainty levels will decrease.  Decreases in uncertainty level will cause increases in nonverbal affiliative expressiveness.
    4. Axiom 3, information seeking: High levels of uncertainty cause increases in information-seeking behavior.  As uncertainty levels decline, information-seeking behavior decreases.
    5. Axiom 4, self-disclosure: High levels of uncertainty in a relationship cause decreases in the intimacy level of communication content.  Low levels of uncertainty produce high levels of intimacy.
    6. Axiom 5, reciprocity: High levels of uncertainty produce high rates of reciprocity.  Low levels of uncertainty produce low levels of reciprocity.
    7. Axiom 6, similarity: Similarities between persons reduce uncertainty, while dissimilarities produce increases in uncertainty.
    8. Axiom 7, liking:  Increases in uncertainty level produce decreases in liking; decreases in uncertainty produce increases in liking.
    9. Axiom 8, shared networks: Shared communication networks reduce uncertainty, while a lack of shared networks increases uncertainty.
  4. Theorems: The logical force of uncertainty axioms.
    1. Through pairing axioms, Berger creates 28 theorems.
    2. These 28 theorems suggest a comprehensive theory of interpersonal development based on the importance of reducing uncertainty in human interaction.
  5. Message plans to cope with uncertain responses.
    1. Berger concluded that most social interaction is goal-driven: we have reasons for saying what we say.
      1. Berger claims plans are hierarchically organized with abstract representations at the top of the hierarchy and progressively more concrete representation toward the bottom.
      2. Switching strategies at the top of the hierarchy causes changes down the hierarchy, altering behavior.
    2. Uncertainty is central to all social interaction.
    3. There is an interaction between uncertainty reduction theory and plan-based message production that suggests various strategies individuals use to cope with uncertainty and hedge against risk when deploying messages.
      1. Seeking information through a passive, active, or interactive strategy.
      2. Choosing plan complexity—the level of detail a plan includes and the number of contingency plans.
      3. Hedging—planning ways for both parties to “save face” when at least one of them miscalculated.
      4. The hierarchy hypothesis: When individuals are thwarted in their attempts to achieve goals, their first tendency is to alter lower-level elements of their message.
  6. Critique: Nagging doubts about uncertainty.
    1. As Berger himself admits, his original statement contained some propositions of dubious validity.
      1. Critics such as Kathy Kellermann consider theorem 17 particularly flawed.
      2. The tight logical structure of the theory doesn't allow us to reject one theorem without questioning the axioms behind it.
      3. In the case of theorem 17, axioms 3 and 7 must also be suspect.
      4. Kellermann and Rodney Reynolds challenge the motivational assumption of axiom 3.
      5. They also have undermined the claim that motivation to search for information is increased by anticipation of future interaction, incentive value, and deviance.
    2. Michael Sunnafrank challenges Berger’s claim that uncertainty reduction is the key to understanding early encounters.
      1. He believes that predicted outcome value more accurately explains communication in early encounters.
      2. Berger insists that you can't predict outcome values until you reduce uncertainty.
    3. Walid Afifi thinks both theories are too narrow. In his theory of motivated information management, he suggests we’re most motivated to reduce anxiety rather than uncertainty.
    4. Despite these problems, Berger's theory has stimulated considerable discussion within the discipline.

Social Information Processing Theory (Chapter 10)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Walther initially developed SIP to explain how people form relationships across the communication technologies.
    2. Scholars who studied new electronic media have offered a variety of theories to explain the inherent differences between computer-mediated communication (CMC) and face-to-face communication.
      1. Social presence theory suggests that text-based messages deprive CMC users of the sense that other people are jointly involved in the interaction.
      2. Media richness theory classifies each communication medium according to the complexity of the messages it can handle efficiently. 
      3. A third theory concentrates on the lack of social context cues in online communication. 
    3. Each of these theories favors a “cues filtered out” interpretation that regards the absence of nonverbal cues as the medium’s fatal flaw. 
    4. Joe Walther, a communication professor at Michigan State, argued that given the opportunity for sufficient exchange of social messages and subsequent relational growth, face-to-face and CMC are equally useful mediums for developing close relationships.
  2. CMC versus face-to-face: A sip instead of a gulp.
    1. Walther labeled his theory social information processing (SIP) because he believes relationships grow only to the extent that parties first gain information about each other and use that information to form impressions.
    2. SIP focuses on the first link of the chain—the personal information available through CMC and its effect on the composite mental image of the other.
    3. At its heart, the theory recognizes that the information we receive depends on the communication medium we’re using.
    4. Two features of CMC provide a rationale for SIP theory.
      1. Verbal cues: CMC users can create fully formed impressions of others based solely on linguistic content of messages.
      2. Extended time: Though the exchange of social information is slower via CMC than face-to-face, over time the relationships formed are not weaker or more fragile.
  3. Verbal cues of affinity replace nonverbal cues.
    1. Walter claims that humans crave affiliation just as much online as they do in face-to-face interactions.
  4. Experimental support for a counter-intuitive idea
    1. Walther isn’t content to rely on such anecdotes for support of his theory.
    2. Walther and two of his former graduate students ran a comparative study to test how CMC users pursue their social goals and if affinity can be expressed through a digital medium.
      1. In their study, the participants discussed a moral dilemma with a stranger via either CMC or face-to-face.  The stranger was in actuality a research confederate told to pursue a specific communication goal.  Half the confederates were told to interact in a friendly manner and the remaining pairs were told to interact in an unfriendly manner.
      2. The mode of communication made no difference in the emotional tone perceived by the participants.
      3. Self-disclosure, praise, and explicit statements of affection successfully communicated warmth as well as indirect agreement, change of subject, and compliments offered while proposing a contrasting idea.
      4. In face-to-face interactions, participants relied on facial expression, eye contact, tone of voice, body position, and other nonverbal cues to communication affiliation.
  5. Extended time: The crucial variable in CMC.
    1. Walther is convinced that the length of time that CMC users have to send messages is the key determinant of whether their message can achieve a comparable level of intimacy as face-to-face interactions.
    2. Messages spoken in person take at least four times as long to say via CMC. This differential may explain why CMC is perceived as impersonal and task-oriented.
    3. Since CMC conveys messages more slowly, Walther advises users to send messages more often.
    4. Anticipated future interaction and chronemic cues may also contribute to intimacy on the Internet.
      1. People will trade more relational messages if they think they may meet again and this anticipated future interaction motivates them to develop the relationship.
      2. Walther believes that chronemic cues, or nonverbal indicators of how people perceive, use, or respond to issues of time, is the only nonverbal cue not filtered out of CMC. 
    5. Walther claims that sometimes, CMC actually surpasses the quality of relational communication that’s available when parties talk face-to-face.
  6. Hyperpersonal perspective: Closer through CMC than in person.
    1. Walther uses the term hyperpersonal to label CMC relationships that are more intimate than if partners were physically together.
    2. He classifies four types of media effects that occur precisely because CMC users aren’t proximal.
      1. Sender: Selective self-presentation
        1. Through selective self-presentation, people who meet online have an opportunity to make and sustain an overwhelmingly positive impression.
        2. As a relationship develops, they can edit the breadth and depth of their self-disclosure to conform to the cyber image they wish to project.
      2. Receiver: Overattribution of similarity
        1. Attribution is a perceptual process where we observe people’s actions and try to figure out what they’re really like.
        2. In the absence of other cues, we are likely to overattribute the information we have and create an idealized image of the sender.
      3. Channel: Communicating on your own time
        1. Walther refers to CMC as an asynchronous channel of communication, meaning that parties can use it nonsimultaneously.
        2. A benefit is the ability to plan, contemplate, and edit one’s comments more than is possible in spontaneous, simultaneous talk.
      4. Feedback: Self-fulfilling prophecy
        1. A self-fulfilling prophecy is the tendency for a person’s expectation of others to evoke a response from them that confirms what was anticipated.
        2. Self-fulfilling prophecy is triggered when the hyperpositive image is intentionally or inadvertently fed back to the other person, creating a CMC equivalent of the looking-glass self.
  7. The warranting value of information: What to trust?
    1. Social networking sites are popular means of CMC, but are distinct because of the inclusion of photos, video, a personal profile, network connections, and the ability to add information to others’ profiles.
    2. Information is believed if it has warranting value. Does their online profile match their offline characteristics?
      1. Low warrant information can be easily manipulated by owner and may not be trustworthy.
      2. High warrant information is less easily changed and more trustworthy.
    3. Social networking sites allow interpersonal information to come from both self and others.
  8. Critique: Walther’s candid assessment.
    1. Walther admits, SIP does not allow for differences in the affiliation drive, particularly in reference to motivating effects of anticipated future interaction.
    2. Walther doesn’t believe the hyperpersonal perspective has reached that state, because “certain aspects of the model remain underresearched,” including how the components of the model fit together and why feedback increases attraction.
    3. Nevertheless, Walther candidly acknowledges that only additional work can discover the theoretical ‘glue’ that would bind the hyperpersonal perspective’s four components into a coherent whole.
    4. The warranting principle may depend on the information’s social desirability according to the values of the society.

Interpersonal Communication: Relationship Maintenance

Relational Dialectics (Chapter 11)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Leslie Baxter and Barbara Montgomery study the intimate communication of close relationships.
    2. They quickly rejected the idea of discovering scientific laws that order the experience of friends and lovers.
    3. They were struck by the conflicting tensions people face in relationships.
    4. They believe that social life is a dynamic knot of contradictions.
      1. Their theory on romantic relationships parallels work on friendship and family systems. 
      2. The basic premise is that personal relationships are a ceaseless interplay between contrary or opposing tendencies.
      3. Relational dialectics highlight the tensions in close personal ties.
  2. The tug-a-war dialectics of close relationships.
    1. Contradiction is a core concept of relational dialectics.
      1. Contradiction refers to the dynamic interplay between unified oppositions.
      2. Every personal relationship faces the tension between intimacy and independence.
      3. Paradoxically, bonding occurs in both interdependence with and independence from the other.
    2. Baxter and Montgomery draw heavily on Mikhail Bakhtin.
      1. Bakhtin saw dialectical tension as the deep structure of all human experience.
      2. Unlike Hegelian or Marxist dialectical theory, Bakhtin's oppositions have no oltimate resolution.
      3. Dialectical tension provides opportunity for dialogue.
    3. To avoid the anxiety Westerners experience with paradox, Baxter used terms such as the tug-of-war in her research interviews.
    4. Relational dialectics, is not referring to being of two minds—the cognitive dilemma within the head of an individual who is grappling with conflicting desires. Instead she’s describing the contradictions that are located in the relationship between parties.
    5. Dialectical tension is the natural product of our conversations
    6. Baxter and Montgomery believe that these contradictions are inevitable and can be constructive.
  3. Three dialectics that affect relationships.
    1. Although other theories emphasize closeness, certainty, and openness, people also seek autonomy, novelty, and privacy.
      1. Conflicting forces in relationships aren't reducible to either/or decisions.
      2. Their research has focused on three overarching dialectics: integration-separation, stability-change, and expression-nonexpression.
      3. Dialectical tensions exist within a relationship (internal) and between a couple and their community (external).
      4. There is no finite list of relational dialectics.
    2. Integration and separation.
      1. This tension is a primary strain in all relationships.
      2. If one side prevails, the relationship loses.
      3. Within their social network, this tension is felt as inclusion pulling against seclusion.
    3. Stability and change.
      1. Baxter and Montgomery acknowledge the need for both interpersonal certainty and novelty.
      2. In the couple’s relationship with others, this dialectic takes the form of conventionality versus uniqueness.
    4. Expression and nonexpression.
      1. The pressures of openness and closedness wax and wane like phases of the moon.
      2. A couple also faces the revelation and concealment dilemma of what to tell others.
  4. RDT 2.0: Drilling down on Bakhtin’s concept of dialogue.
    1. Baxter’s early emphasis with Montgomery was on contradictory forces inherent in all relationships.
    2. She now refers to the second generation of the theory as RDT 2.0.
    3. Baxter has increasingly focused on the relational implications of Mikhail Bakhtin’s conception of dialogue.
    4. Baxter highlights five dialogical strands within Bakhtin’s thought.  Without dialogue, there is no relationship.
      1. Dialogue as constitutive—relationships in communication
        1. This dialogical notion is akin to the core commitments of Symbolic Interactionism and Coordinated Management of Meaning in that communication creates and sustains the relationship.
        2. A constitutive approach suggests that communication creates and sustains a relationship.
        3. Differences are just as important as similarities and both are created and evaluated through dialogue. 
      2. Dialogue as utterance chain—building block of meaning
        1. An utterance is what a person says in one conversational turn.
        2. But, an utterance is embedded in an utterance chain of things heard in the past and responses anticipated in the future.
      3. Dialogue as dialectical flux.
        1. The contradictory forces are in an unpredictable, unfinalizable, and indeterminate process of flux.
        2. Rather than single binary contradictions, each relational force is in tension with every other pole.
        3. Two strategies to deal with the complexities include spiraling inversion and segmentation.
      4. Dialogue as an Aesthetic Moment.
        1. Dialogue can be “a momentary sense of unity through a profound respect for the disparate voices in dialogue.”
        2. A meaningful ritual can be an aesthetic moment for all participants because it’s a joint performance of normally competing and contradictory voices,
      5. Dialogue as a critical sensibility. 
        1. Dialogue is obligated to critique dominant, oppressive voices.
        2. Baxter opposes any communication practice that ignores or gags another’s voice.
  5. Ethical reflection: Sissela Bok’s Principle of Veracity.
    1. Bok rejects an absolute prohibition of lying
    2. But she also rejects consequentialist ethics, which judge acts on the basis of whether we think they will result in harm or benefit.
    3. Her principle of veracity asserts that, “truthful statements are preferable to lies in the absence of special consideration.”
  6. Critique: Meeting the criteria for a good interpretive theory?
    1. Some scholars question whether relational dialectics should be considered a theory at all as it lacks prediction and explanation, and does not offer any propositions.
    2. Baxter and Montgomery agree and offer dialectics as a sensitizing theory.
    3. Relational dialectics should be evaluated based on the interpretive standards, on which it stacks up well.

Communication Privacy Management Theory (Chapter 12)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Petronio sees communication privacy management theory as a map of the way people navigate privacy.
    2. Privacy boundaries are barriers that determine how much information one shares with another.
    3. Petronio sees communication privacy management theory (CPM) as a description of a privacy management system that contains three main parts.
      1. The first part of the system, privacy ownership, contains our privacy boundaries that encompass information that we have but others don’t know.
      2. Privacy control, the second part of the system,involves our decision to share private information with another person.
      3. Privacy turbulence, the third part of the privacy management system, comes into play when managing private information doesn’t go the way we expect.
    4. Having a mental image of these three parts of the privacy management system is helpful in understanding the five core principles of Petronio’s CPM. The first four deal with issues of privacy ownership and control; the fifth involves privacy turbulence—the turmoil that erupts when rules are broken.
    5. There are five core principles of CPM:
      1. People believe they own and have a right to control their private information.
      2. People control their private information through the use of personal privacy rules.
      3. When others are told or given access to a person’s private information, they become co-owners of that information.
      4. Co-owners of private information need to negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules about telling others.
      5. When co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow mutually held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
  2. Ownership and control of private information: People believe they own and have a right to control their private information.
    1. Petronio prefers the term disclosure of private information in place of self-disclosure for four reasons.
      1. A lot of private information we tell others is not about ourselves.
      2. Self-disclosure is usually associated with intimacy, but there can be other motives for disclosure.
      3. It has a neutral connotation, whereas self-disclosure has a positive feel.
      4. It draws attention to the content of what is said and how the confidant responds.
    2. We regard private information as something we own.
      1. Ownership conveys rights and obligations.
      2. Privacy boosts our sense of autonomy and makes us feel less vulnerable.
      3. Our sense of ownership motivates us to create boundaries that will control the spread of what we know.
  3. Rules for concealing and revealing: People control their private information through the use of personal privacy rules.
    1. CPM is a rules-based theory where the rules are guides that help people feel they have control over their private information.
    2. Five factors play into the development of a person’s unique privacy rules including culture, gender, motivation, context, and risk/benefit ratio.
  4. Disclosure creates a confidant and co-owner: When others are told or discover a person’s private information, they become co-owners of that information.
    1. The act of disclosing private information creates a confidant and draws that person into a collective privacy boundary.
    2. Disclosing information to another person results in co-ownership.
      1. The discloser must realize the personal privacy boundary has morphed into a collective boundary.
      2. As co-owners, people tend to feel responsibility for the information, though not always equally.
      3. Those who had the information foisted upon them may be more casual about protecting it.
  5. Coordinating mutual privacy boundaries: Co-owners of private information need to negotiate mutually agreeable privacy rules about telling others.
    1. Assuming the privacy boundaries co-owners place around the information are different, co-owners must negotiate mutual privacy boundaries.
    2. Boundary ownership is the rights and responsibilities that co-owners of private information have to control its spread.
      1. Not all boundary ownership is 50-50.
      2. A shareholder is a confidant who agrees to let the original owner set the privacy rules.
      3. A deliberate confidant is someone who intentionally seeks private information, and often the more eager they are to be confided in, the less control they have over what they hear.
      4. A reluctant confidant does not want the disclosure, and often feels only a vague sense of responsibility to disclosed information, resulting in less of an obligation to follow the original owner’s privacy rules.
    3. Boundary linkage is the process of the confidant being linked into the privacy boundary of the person who revealed the information.
      1. Boundary linkage is the process of determining who else gets to know.
      2. When the revealer and recipient have a close relationship, the recipient is more likely to deal with the new information the way the revealer wants.
    4. Boundary permeability refers to the degree that privacy boundaries are penetrable.
      1. Boundaries can be closed or tight allowing little information to pass through, or boundaries can be open or loosely held allowing information to easily pass through.
      2. Permeability is a matter of degree.
      3. Rules act as filters, letting some information pass easily through, while other information is closely guarded.
      4. Disclosers and receivers need to negotiate mutual rules for possible third-party dissemination.
  6. Boundary turbulence - Relationships at risk: When co-owners of private information don’t effectively negotiate and follow jointly held privacy rules, boundary turbulence is the likely result.
    1. Turbulence can radically alter our relationships by the way it affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
    2. Petronio predicts that people react to turbulence in attempts to regulate the disturbed relationships that it creates. 
    3. Fuzzy boundaries occur when there are no recognized mutual boundaries, in which case a confidant resorts to using their own privacy rules to guide what they say to others.
    4. Intentional breaches occur when a confidant purposefully reveals a secret they know the original owner does not want shared.
      1. They may do so to intentionally hurt the original owner.
      2. They may do so because breaking the confidence works to their personal advantage.
      3. A confidentiality dilemma occurs when a confidant knows the original owner does not want the information revealed, but it is an issue where the owner’s well-being is at stake.
    5. Sometimes people create turmoil by making mistakes, such as letting secrets slip out when their guard is down or simply forgetting who might have access to the information.
      1. Can occur when someone’s guard is down, such as after a few drinks.
      2. Errors of judgment occur when someone discusses private cases in public places.
      3. A miscalculation in timing can cause turbulence when information is revealed at a bad time.
  7. Critique: Keen diagnosis, good prescription, less ambiguity.
    1. CPM nicely meets five of the six criteria for a good interpretive theory.
    2. CPM lacks aesthetic appeal, in both style and clarity.
    3. A gap in the theory is that Petronio does not offer insight on how to conduct negotiations or offer solutions for when boundary turbulence occurs.
    4. Over the 35 years in working with the theory, she’s acknowledged the theory’s ambiguities and repackaged things for improved clarity.

The Interactional View (Chapter 13)

  1. The family as a system.
    1. Paul Watzlawick believes that individuals must be understood within the context of the family system.
    2. He was a member of the Palo Alto Group, which draws inspiration from Gregory Bateson.
      1. This systems approach suggests that interpersonal relationships are complicated and they defy simplistic explanations of why family members do what they do.
      2. They reject the idea that individual motives and personality traits determine the nature of communication within a family.
      3. In fact, these therapists care little about why a person acts in a certain way, but they have a great interest in how that behavior affects everyone in the group.
    3. Relationships are complex functions resembling equations linking multiple variables.
    4. Along with his colleagues Janet Beavin Bavelas and Don Jackson, Watzlawick presents key axioms describing the tentative calculus of human communication.
      1. The axioms comprise the rules of the game.
      2. Games are sequences of behavior governed by rules.
      3. Each family plays a one-of-a-kind game with homemade rules and creates its own reality.
  2. Axioms of interpersonal communication.
    1.  As therapists who met with a wide variety of clients, the Polo Alta Group spottled regularly occurring features of communication among family members. Watzlawick stated these interactional trends in the form of axioms
    2. One cannot not communicate.
      1. Communication is inevitable.
      2. Corollary:  one cannot not influence.
    3. Communication = content + relationship.
      1. Every communication has a content and a relationship aspect such that the latter classifies the former.
      2. Content is what is said.

      3. Relationship is how it is said.
      4. Metacommunication is communication about communication.
      5. Relationship messages are always the most important element in any communication, but when a family is in trouble, metacommunication dominates.
      6. Sick family relationships only get better when members are willing to engage in metacommunication.
    4. The nature of a relationship depends on how both parties punctuate the communication sequence.
      1. Watzlawick uses the term punctuate to refer to the mental process of interpreting an ongoing sequence of events, labeling one event as the cause and the following event as the response. 
      2. Punctuation becomes a problem when each person sees himself or herself as only reacting to, rather than provoking, a cyclical conflict.
    5. All communication is either symmetrical or complementary.
      1. The interactional view emphasizes issues of control, status, and power.
      2. Symmetrical interchange is based on equal power, whereas complementary communication is based on differences of power.
      3. Healthy relationships include both kinds of communication.
      4. Relationships can only be assessed through an exchange of at least two messages.
      5. Edna Rogers and Richard Farace’s coding system categorizes control in ongoing marital interaction.

        1. One-up communication seeks to control the exchange.
        2. One-down communication yields control.
        3. One-across communication neutralizes control.
        4. Bids for dominance do not necessarily result in control of the interaction.
  3. Trapped in a system with no place to go.
    1. Family systems are highly resistant to change.
    2. Double binds are contradictory demands on members of the system.
    3. The paradox of the double bind is that the high-status party in a complementary relationship insists that the low-status person acts as if the relationship were symmetrical.
  4. Reframing: changing the game by changing the rules.

    1. Destructive rules can be changed only when members analyze them from outside the system.
    2. Reframing is the process of altering punctuation and looking at things in a new light.
    3. Accepting a new frame means rejecting the old one.
    4. Adapting a new interpretive frame usually requires outside help.
  5. Critique: adjustments needed within the system.
    1. Janet Beavin Bavelas recommended modifying some axioms of the theory.
      1. Not all nonverbal behavior is communication.  In the absence of a sender-receiver relationship and the intentional use of a shared code, nonverbal behavior is informative rather than communicative.
      2. A “whole message model” integrates verbal and nonverbal communication.
      3. The term metacommunication should be reserved for explicit communication about the process of communicating, not all communication about a relationship.
    2. Despite these problems, the interactional view has had a terrific impact on the field of interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal Communication: Influence

Social Judgment Theory (Chapter 14)

  1. Three latitudes: Acceptance, rejection, and noncommitment.
    1. Social judgment theory says that at the instant of perception, people compare messages to their present point of view.
    2. Individuals’ opinions are not adequately represented as points along a continuum because degrees of tolerance around their positions must also be considered.
    3. Muzafer Sherif established three zones of attitudes.
      1. The latitude of acceptance.
      2. The latitude of rejection.
      3. The latitude of noncommitment.
    4. A description of a person’s attitude structure must include the location and width of each interrelated latitude.
  2. Ego-involvement: How much do you care?
    1. Ego-involvement refers to the importance of an issue to an individual.
    2. The favored position anchors all other thoughts about the topic.
    3. High ego-involvement can be defined as membership in a group with a known stand.
    4. Three features are typical of high ego-involvement.
      1. The latitude of noncommitment is nearly nonexistent.
      2. The latitude of rejection is wide.
      3. People who hold extreme views care deeply.
    5. Moving from the cognitive structure of a person’s attitude, attention shifts to the judgment part of the theory.
  3. Judging the message: Contrast and assimilation errors.
    1. Social judgment-involvement describes the linkage between ego-involvement and perception.
    2. Contrast occurs when one perceives a message within the latitude of rejection as being more discrepant than it actually is from the anchor point.  This perceptual distortion leads to polarization of ideas.
    3. Assimilation, the opposite of contrast, occurs when one perceives a message within the latitude of acceptance as being less discrepant than it actually is from the anchor point.
    4. Although Sherif is unclear as to how people judge messages that fall within the latitude of noncommitment, most interpreters favor a neutral reading.
  4. Discrepancy and attitude change.
    1. If individuals judge a new message to fall within their latitude of acceptance, they adjust their attitude to accommodate it.
      1. The persuasive effect will be positive but partial.
      2. The greater the discrepancy, the more individuals adjust their attitudes.
      3. The most persuasive message is the one that is most discrepant from the listener’s position, yet still falls within his or her latitude of acceptance or latitude of noncommitment.
    2. If individuals judge a new message to be within their latitude of rejection, they may adjust their attitude away from it.
      1. For individuals with high ego-involvement and broad latitudes of rejection, most messages that are aimed to persuade them and that fall within their latitudes of rejection have an effect opposite of what the communicator intended.
      2. This boomerang effect suggests that individuals are often driven, rather than drawn, to the positions they occupy.
    3. Sherif’s approach is quite automatic.
      1. He reduced interpersonal influence to the issue of the distance between the message and the hearer’s position.
      2. Volition exists only in the choice of messages available to the persuader.
  5. Practical advice for the persuader.
    1. For maximum influence, select a message right on the edge of the audience’s latitude of acceptance or noncommitment.
    2. Ambiguous messages can sometimes serve better than clarity.
    3. Persuasion is a gradual process consisting of small movements.
    4. The most dramatic, widespread, and enduring attitude changes involve changes in reference groups with differing values.
  6. Attitudes on sleep, booze, and money: Evidence supporting SJT.
    1. Research on the predictions of social judgment theory requires highly ego-involved issues.
    2. A highly credible speaker can shrink the listener’s latitude of rejection.
    3. Application of the theory raises ethical problems.
  7. Critique: A theory well within the latitude of acceptance.
    1. The theory has practical utility for persuaders.
    2. The theory offers specific predictions and explanations about what happens in the mind when a message falls within someone’s latitude of acceptance or rejection.
    3. Like all cognitive explanations, social judgment theory assumes a mental structure and process that are beyond sensory observation.
    4. While it has not been widely tested empirically, research does support it, validating its claims while proving the theory falsifiable.
    5. Despite these reservations, social judgment theory is an elegant, intuitively appealing approach to persuasion.

Elaboration Likelihood Model (Chapter 15)

  1. The central route and the peripheral routes to persuasion. 
    1. Richard Petty and John Cacioppo posit two basic routes for persuasion.
    2. The central route involves message elaboration, defined as the extent to which a person carefully thinks about issue-relevant arguments contained in a persuasive communication.
    3. The peripheral route processes the message without any active thinking about the attributes of the issue or the object of consideration.
      1. Recipients rely on a variety of cues to make quick decisions.
      2. Robert Cialdini has identified six such cues:
        1. Reciprocation
        2. Consistency
        3. Social proof
        4. Liking
        5. Authority
        6. Scarcity
    4. Although Petty and Cacioppo’s model seems to suggest that the routes are mutually exclusive, they stress that the central route and the peripheral route are poles on a cognitive processing continuum that shows the degree of mental effort a person exerts when evaluating a message.
    5. The more listeners work to evaluate a message, the less they will be influenced by content-irrelevant factors; the greater the effect of content-irrelevant factors, the less impact the message carries.
  2. Motivation for elaboration: Is it worth the effort?
    1. People are motivated to hold correct attitudes.
    2. Yet the number of ideas a person can scrutinize is limited, so we tend to focus on issues that are personally relevant.
    3. Personally relevant issues are more likely to be processed on the central route; issues with little relevance take the peripheral route (credibility cues take on greater importance).
    4. Certain individuals have a need for cognitive clarity, regardless of the issue; these people will work through many of the ideas and arguments they hear.
  3. Ability for elaboration: Can they do it?
    1. Elaboration requires intelligence and concentration.
    2. Distraction disrupts elaboration.
    3. Repetition may increase the possibility of elaboration, but too much repetition causes people to resort to the peripheral route.
  4. Type of elaboration: Objective vs. biased thinking.
    1. Biased elaboration (top-down thinking) occurs when predetermined conclusions color the supporting data underneath.
    2. Objective evaluation (bottom-up thinking) considers the facts on their own merit.
  5. Elaborated messages: Strong, weak, and neutral.
    1. Objective elaboration examines the perceived strength of an argument.
      1. Petty and Cacioppo have no absolute standard for differentiating between cogent and specious arguments.
      2. They define a strong message as one that generates favorable thoughts.
    2. Thoughtful consideration of strong arguments will produce positive shifts in attitude.
      1. The change is persistent over time.
      2. It resists counterpersuasion.
      3. It predicts future behavior.
    3. Thoughtful consideration of weak arguments can lead to negative boomerang effects paralleling the positive effects of strong arguments (but in the opposite direction).
    4. Mixed or neutral messages won’t change attitudes and in fact reinforce original attitudes. 
  6. Peripheral cues: An alternative route of influence.
    1. Most messages are processed through the peripheral route, bringing attitude changes without issue-relevant thinking.
    2. The most obvious cues for the peripheral route are tangible rewards.
    3. Source credibility is also important.
      1. The principal components of source credibility are likability and expertise.
      2. Source credibility is salient for those unmotivated or unable to elaborate.
    4. Peripheral route change can be either positive or negative, but it won’t have the impact of message elaboration.
  7. Pushing the limits of peripheral power.
    1. Celebrity endorsements constitute some of the most effective peripheral cues, yet the change can be short-lived.
    2. Penner and Fritzshe’s study of Magic Johnson’s HIV announcement suggests that the effect of even powerful peripheral cues is short-lived.
    3. Although most ELM research has measured the effects of peripheral cues by studying credibility, a speaker’s competence or character could also be a stimulus to effortful message elaboration.
    4. It’s impossible to make a list of cues that are strictly peripheral; cues that make a listener scrutinize a message are no longer mindless.
  8. Choosing a route: Practical advice for the persuader.
    1. If listeners are motivated and able to elaborate a message, rely on factual arguments—i.e., favor the central route.
    2. When using the central route, however, weak arguments can backfire.
    3. If listeners are unable or unwilling to elaborate a message, rely on packaging rather than content—i.e., favor peripheral route.
    4. When using the peripheral route, however, the effects will probably be fragile.
  9. Ethical reflection: Nilsen’s significant choice.
    1. Nilsen proposes that persuasive speech is ethical to the extent that it maximizes people’s ability to exercise free choice.
    2. Philosophers and rhetoricians have compared persuasion to a lover making fervent appeals to his beloved—wooing an audience, for example.
    3. For Nilsen, true love can’t be coerced; it must be freely given.
    4. Nilsen would approve of persuasive appeals that encourage message elaboration through ELM’s central route.
  10. Critique: Elaborating the mode.
    1. ELM has been a leading theory of persuasion and attitude change for the last twenty years, and its initial model has been very influential.
    2. Petty and Cacioppo have elaborated ELM to make it more complex, less predictive, and less practical, which makes it problematic as a scientific theory.
    3. As Paul Mongeau and James Stiff have charged, the theory cannot be adequately tested and falsified, particularly in terms of what makes a strong or weak argument.
    4. Despite these limitations, the theory synthesizes many diverse aspects of persuasion.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory (Chapter 16)

  1. Dissonance: Discord between behavior and belief.
    1. Identified by Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance is the distressing mental state that people feel when they find themselves doing things that don’t fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold.
    2. Humans have a basic need to avoid dissonance and establish consistency.
    3. The tension of dissonance motivates the person to change either the behavior or the belief.
    4. The more important the issue and the greater the discrepancy, the higher the magnitude of dissonance.
  2. Health-conscious smokers: Dealing with dissonance.
    1. When Festinger first published his theory, he chose the topic of smoking to illustrate the concept of dissonance.
    2. Perhaps the most typical way for the smoker to avoid anguish is to trivialize or simply deny the link between smoking and cancer.
    3. Festinger noted that almost all of our actions are more entrenched than the thoughts we have about them.
  3. Reducing dissonance between attitudes and actions.
    1. Hypothesis #1:  Selective exposure prevents dissonance.
      1. We avoid information that is likely to increase dissonance.
      2. People select information that lined up with what they already believed and ignored facts or ideas that ran counter to those beliefs. But selective exposure only explains about 5% of why we choose the information we choose. 95% is left unexplained.
      3. Dieter Frey concluded that selective exposure exists only when information is known to be a threat.
      4. Warm personal relationships are the best environment for considering discrepant views.
    2. Hypothesis #2: Post decision dissonance creates a need for reassurance.
      1. The more important the issue, the more dissonance.
      2. The longer an individual delays a choice between two equally attractive options, the more dissonance.
      3. The greater the difficulty involving reversing the decision once it has been made, the more dissonance.
    3. Hypothesis #3:  Minimal justification for action induces a shift in attitude.
      1. Conventional wisdom suggests that to change behavior, you must first alter attitude.
      2. Festinger reverses the sequence.
      3. In addition, he predicts that attitude change and dissonance reduction depend on providing only a minimum justification for the change in behavior.
  4. A classic experiment: “Would I Lie for a dollar?”
    1. Festinger’s minimal justification hypothesis is counterintuitive.
    2. The Stanford $1/$20 experiment supported the minimal justification hypothesis because subjects who received a very small reward demonstrated a change in attitude.
  5. Three state-of-the-art revisions: The cause and effect of dissonance.
    1. Most persuasion researchers today subscribe to one of three revisions of Festinger’s original theory.
    2. Self-consistency: the rationalizing animal.
      1. Elliot Aronson argued that dissonance is caused by psychological rather than logical inconsistency.
      2. Humans aren’t rational, they are rationalizing.
      3. Research such as the $1/$20 experiment provides evidence of self-esteem maintenance.
      4. The amount of dissonance a person can experience is directly proportional to the effort he or she has invested in the behavior.
    3. Personal responsibility for bad outcomes (the new look).
      1. Joel Cooper argues that we experience dissonance when we believe our actions have unnecessarily hurt another person.
      2. Cooper concludes that dissonance is a state of arousal caused by behaving in such a way as to feel personally responsible for bringing about an aversive event.
    4. Self-affirmation to dissipate dissonance.
      1. Claude Steele focuses on dissonance reduction.
      2. He believes that high self-esteem is a resource for dissonance reduction.
      3. Steele asserts that most people are motivated to maintain a self-image of moral and adaptive adequacy. 
    5. These three revisions of Festinger’s theory are not mutually exclusive.
  6. Theory into practice: Persuasion through dissonance.
    1. Festinger’s theory offers practical advice for those who wish to affect attitude change as a product of dissonance.
    2. Apply the concepts of selective exposure, postdecison dissonance, and minimal justification to manage dissonance effectively.
    3. As long as counterattitudinal actions are freely chosen and publicly taken, people are more likely to adopt beliefs that support what they’ve done. 
    4. Personal responsibility for negative outcomes should be taken into account.
  7. Critique: Dissonance over dissonance.
    1. Cognitive dissonance may not be falsifiable.
    2. Festinger never specified a reliable way to detect the degree of dissonance a person experiences. 
      1. Patricia Devine applauds researchers who have attempted to gauge the arousal component of dissonance. 
    3. Daryl Bem believes that self-perception is a much simpler explanation of attitude change than cognitive dissonance is.
      1. His version of the $1/$20 experiment supports his contention. 
      2. Bem suggests that cognitive dissonance does not follow the rule of parsimony.
    4. Despite detractors, cognitive dissonance theory has energized objective scholars of communication for 50 years.

Group and Public Communication: Group Communication

Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making (Chapter 17)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Randy Hirokawa and Dennis Gouran believe that group interaction has a positive effect on decision making.
    2. Hirokawa seeks quality solutions; Gouran desires appropriate decisions.
    3. The functional perspective illustrates the wisdom of joint interaction.
  2. Four functions for effective decision making.
    1. Hirokawa and Gouran draw on the analogy between biological systems and small groups.
      1. Group decision making must fulfill four task requirements to reach a high-quality decision.
      2. These tasks are requisite functions of effective decision making—hence the functional perspective label.
    2. Function #1: Analysis of the problem.
      1. Group members must take a realistic look at current conditions.
      2. Misunderstandings of situations are compounded when group members make their final decision.
      3. The clearest example of faulty analysis is a failure to recognize a potential threat.
      4. Group members must determine the nature, extent, and probable cause(s) of the problem.
    3. Function #2: Goal setting.
      1. A group needs to establish criteria for judging proposed solutions. If the group fails to meet these, the decision will likely be driven by power or passion rather than reason.
      2. Without such criteria, it is likely that the decision will be driven by politics rather than reason.
    4. Function #3: Identification of alternatives.
      1. Hirokawa and Gouran stress the importance of having a number of different viable options from which to choose.
      2. Groups need to identify courses of action.
    5. Function #4: Evaluation of positive and negative characteristics. 
      1. Some group tasks have a positive bias—spotting the favorable characteristics of alternative choices is more important than identifying negative qualities.
      2. Other group tasks have a negative bias—the downside of each alternative is more important than identifying their positive qualities.
  3. Prioritizing the four functions.
    1. Originally, they thought that no single function was inherently more central than the others.
    2. Research suggests that the evaluation of negative consequences of alternative solutions was by far the most crucial to ensure a quality decision.
    3. Hirokawa now splits evaluation of positive and negative consequences and speaks of five requisite functions rather than four.
    4. As long as a group covers all four functions, the route taken is not the key issue.
    5. Nonetheless, groups that successfully resolve particularly tough problems often take a common decision-making path: problem analysis, goal setting, identifying alternatives, and evaluating the positive and negative characteristics.
  4. The role of communication in fulfilling the functions.
    1. Traditional wisdom suggests that talk is the conduit through which information travels between participants. 
      1. Verbal interaction makes it possible for members to distribute and pool information, catch and remedy errors, and influence each other.
      2. Ivan Steiner claimed that actual group productivity equals potential productivity minus losses due to processes.
      3. Communication is best when it does not obstruct or distort the free flow of ideas.
    2. In contrast, Hirokawa believes that group discussion creates the social reality for decision making.
    3. Hirokawa and Gouran outline three types of communication in decision-making groups.
      1. Promotive—interaction that calls attention to one of the four decision-making functions.
      2. Disruptive—interaction that detracts from the group’s ability to achieve the four task functions.
      3. Counteractive—interaction that refocuses the group.
    4. Since most communication disrupts, effective group decision making depends upon counteractive influence.
    5. Hirokawa’s Function-Oriented Interaction Coding System (FOICS) classifies each functional utterance for analysis.
      1. Using FOICS, raters determine which of the four functions an utterance addresses.
      2. They also consider whether the utterance facilitates or inhibits the group’s focus on the function.
      3. Coding decisions are fraught with difficulty, and Hirokawa continues to refine the methodology.
  5. Thoughtful advice for those who know they are right.
    1. Be skeptical of personal opinions.
      1. Groups often abandon the rational path due to the persuasive efforts of other self-assured group members.
      2. Unsupported intuition is untrustworthy.
    2. Follow John Dewey’s six-step process of reflective thinking, which parallels a doctor’s treatment regimen.
      1. Recognize symptoms of illness.
      2. Diagnose the cause of the ailment.
      3. Establish criteria for wellness.
      4. Consider possible remedies.
      5. Test to determine which solutions will work.
      6. Implement or prescribe the best solution.
    3. Hirokawa and Gouran’s four requisite functions replicate steps two through five of Dewey’s reflective thinking.
    4. To counteract faulty logic, insist on a careful process.
  6. Ethical reflection: Habermas’ discourse ethics.
    1. Jürgen Habermas suggests a rational group process through which people can determine right from wrong.
    2. Being ethical means being accountable.
    3. People in a given culture or community can agree on the good they want to accomplish and over time build up wisdom on how to achieve it.
    4. The person who performed an act must be prepared to discuss what he or she did and why he or she did it in an open forum.
    5. He imagined an ideal speech situation where participants were free to listen to reason and speak their minds without fear of constraint or control.
    6. Three requirements must be met:
      1. Requirement of access for all affected parties
      2. Requirement of argument to figure out the common good
      3. Requirement of justification or universal application
  7. Critique: is rationality overrated?
    1. Although the functional perspective is one of the three leading theories in small group communication, its exclusive focus on rationality may cause mixed experimental results.
    2. The FOICS method all but ignores comments about relationships inside and outside the group.
    3. Cynthia Stohl and Michael Holmes emphasize that most real-life groups have a prior decision-making history and are embedded within a larger organization.
      1. They advocate adding a historical function requiring the group to talk about how past decisions were made.
      2. They also advocate an institutional function that is satisfied when members discuss relevant parties who are absent from the decision-making process.
    4. Recently, Gouran has raised doubts about the usefulness of the functional perspective for all small groups.
      1. It’s beneficial for members to fulfill the four requisite functions only when they are addressing questions of policy.
      2. Groups addressing questions of fact, conjecture, or value may not find the requisite functions relevant.

Symbolic Convergence Theory (Chapter 18)

  1. Central explanatory principle of SCT: sharing group fantasies creates symbolic convergence.
  2. Dramatizing messages: Creative interpretations of there-and-then
    1. According to SCT, conversations about things outside of what’s going on right now can often serve the group well.
    2. Dramatizing messages contains imaginative language that describes events occurring somewhere else or at sometime else.
    3. The dramatizing message must paint a picture or bring to mind an image.
    4. A vivid message is dramatizing if it either describes something outside the group or portrays an event that has happened within the group in the past or might happen to the group in the future.
    5. Dramatizing messages are creative interpretations that help the speaker and sometimes the listener, make sense of a confusing situation or bring clarity to an uncertain future.
  3. Fantasy chain reactions: Unpredictable symbolic explosions.
    1. Bormann uses fantasy for dramatizing messages that are enthusiastically embraced by the whole group.
    2. Some dramatizing messages cause a symbolic explosion in the form of a chain reaction in which members join in until the entire group comes alive.
    3. A fantasy chain occurs when there is a common response to the imagery.
    4. Fantasy chains are hard to predict, but when they occur, they are hard to control and a group will often converge around a fantasy theme.
  4. Fantasy themes: Content, motives, cues, types.
    1. A fantasy theme is the content of the dramatizing message that sparks a fantasy chain.
    2. A fantasy theme is the basic unit of analysis for SCT.
    3. Bormann suggested that group members’ meanings, emotions, motives, and actions are apparent in their fantasy themes.
    4. Many fantasy themes are indexed by a symbolic cue.
    5. Clusters of related fantasy themes sometimes surface repeatedly in different groups and are labeled with a fantasy type.
  5. Symbolic convergence: Group consciousness and often cohesiveness.
    1. Symbolic convergence results from sharing group fantasies.
      1. Symbolic convergence is the way in which two or more private symbol worlds incline toward each other, come more closely together, or even overlap.
      2. Symbolic convergence causes group members to develop a unique group consciousness.
      3. Bormann suggested that it is important for members to memorialize their group consciousness with a name and recorded history that recalls moments when fantasies chained out.
    2. Symbolic convergence usually, but not always, results in heightened group cohesiveness.
  6. Rhetorical vision: A composite drama shared by a rhetorical community.
    1. Fantasies that begin in small groups often are worked into public speeches, become picked up by mass media and ‘spread out across larger publics.’
      1. Rhetorical vision refers to a composite drama that catches up large groups of people into a common symbolic reality.
      2. Rhetorical community is the wide ranging body of people who share a reality.
    2. Fantasy theme analysis discovers fantasy themes and rhetorical visions that have already been created.
      1. It is built on the assumptions that people create their social reality, and that people’s meanings, motives, and emotions can be seen in their rhetoric.
      2. Four features should be present in the shared fantasies: Characters, plot lines, scene, sanctioning agent.
  7. Theory into practice: Advice to improve your college experience.
    1. Bormann offers advice on how to use SCT as it applies to a group.
      1. When the group begins to share a drama that in your opinion would contribute to a healthy culture, you should pick up the drama and feed the chain.
      2. If the fantasies are destructive, creating group paranoia or depression, cut the chain off whenever possible.
      3. To build cohesiveness, use personification to identify your group.
      4. Be sure to encourage the sharing of dramas depicting your group history early in your meetings.
      5. Remember that a conscious rhetorical effort on your part can succeed in igniting a chain reaction, but the fantasy may take an unexpected turn.
    2. Most rhetorical visions embrace either a righteous vision, a social vision, or a pragmatic vision.
  8. Critique: Judging SCT as both a scientific and interpretive theory.
    1. The theory’s basic hypothesis that sharing group fantasies creates symbolic convergence is framed as a universal principle that holds for all people, in any culture, at any time, in any communication context; it typifies the objective tradition.
    2.  The methodology is a humanistic approach that is interpretive.
    3. SCT holds up well against both the criteria for an objective theory and an interpretive theory.
      1. SCT does well to explain the benefits of sometime chaotic group experiences but does not sufficiently explain why humans are predisposed to dramatizing reality and sharing fantasy in the first place.
      2. SCT researchers adequately predict the benefits of convergence (cohesiveness) but have little success predicting when a dramatizing message will trigger a chain reaction.
      3. SCT vocabulary show the theory’s pro-social bias but it ignores issues of power.
      4. SCT’s method of fantasy theme analysis used makes a huge difference, although Bormann admits that some critics do it better than others.

Group and Public Communication: Organizational Communication

Cultural Approach to Organizations (Chapter 19)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz views cultures as webs of shared meaning, shared understanding, and shared sensemaking.
    2. Geertz' work has focused on Third World cultures, but his ethnographic approach has been applied by others to organizations.
    3. In the field of speech communication, Michael Pacanowsky has applied Geertz's approach in his research of organizations.
    4. Pacanowsky asserts that communication creates and constitutes the taken-for-granted reality of the world.
  2. Culture as a metaphor of organizational life.
    1. Interest in culture as a metaphor for organizations stems from our recent interest in Japanese corporations.
    2. Corporate culture has several meanings.
      1. The surrounding environment that constrains a company’s freedom of action.
      2. An image, character, or climate controlled by a corporation.
      3. Pacanowsky argues that culture is not something an organization has, but is something an organization is.
  3. What culture is; what culture is not.
    1. Geertz and his colleagues do not distinguish between high and low culture.
    2. Culture is not whole or undivided.
    3. Pacanowsky argues that the web of organizational culture is the residue of employees' performances.
    4. The elusive nature of culture prompts Geertz to label its study a “soft science.”
  4. Thick description—what ethnographers do.
    1. Participant observation, the research methodology of ethnographers, is a time-consuming process.
    2. Pacanowsky researched Gore & Associates.
    3. Although Pacanowsky now works with Gore, the company he researched, he earlier cautioned against “going native.”
    4. An ethnographer has five tasks.
      1. Accurately describe talk and actions and the context in which they occur.
      2. Capture the thoughts, emotions, and the web of social interactions.
      3. Assign motivation, intention, or purpose for what people said and did.
      4. Artfully write this up so readers feel they’ve experienced the events.
      5. Interpret what happened; explain what it means within this culture.
    5. Thick description refers to the intertwined layers of common meaning that underlie what people say and do.
      1. Thick description involves tracing the many strands of a cultural web and tracking evolving meaning.
      2. Thick description begins with a state of bewilderment.
      3. The puzzlement is reduced by observing as a stranger in a foreign land.
    6. Ethnographers approach their research very differently from behaviorists.
      1. They are more interested in the significance of behavior than in statistical analysis.
      2. Pacanowsky warns that statistical analysis and classification across organizations yields superficial results. 
    7. As an ethnographer, Pacanowsky is particularly interested in imaginative language, stories, and nonverbal rites and rituals.
  5. Metaphors: taking language seriously.
    1. Widely used metaphors offer a starting place for assessing the shared meaning of a corporate culture.
    2. Metaphors are valuable tools for both the discovery and communication of organizational culture.
  6. The symbolic interpretation of story.
    1. Stories provide windows into organizational culture.
    2. Pacanowsky focuses on the script-like qualities of narratives that line out roles in the company play.
    3. Pacanowsky posits three types of organizational narratives.
      1. Corporate stories reinforce management ideology and policies.
      2. Personal stories define how individuals would like to be seen within an organization.
      3. Collegial stories—usually unsanctioned by management—are positive or negative anecdotes about others within the organization that pass on how the organization “really works.”
    4. Both Geertz and Pacanowsky caution against simplistic interpretation of stories.
    5. Pacanowsky has demonstrated that scholars can use fiction to convey the results of their research.
  7. Ritual: this is the way it's always been, and always will be.
    1. Rituals articulate multiple aspects of cultural life.
    2. Some rituals are nearly sacred and difficult to change.
  8. Can the manager be an agent of cultural change?
    1. The cultural approach is popular with executives who want to use it as a tool, yet culture is extremely difficult to manipulate. 
    2. Even if such manipulation is possible, it may be unethical.
    3. Linda Smircich notes that communication consultants may violate the ethnographer's rule of nonintervention and may even extend management’s control within an organization.
  9. Critique: is the cultural approach useful?
    1. The cultural approach adopts and refines the qualitative research methodology of ethnography to gain a new understanding of a specific group of people, particularly in clarifying values of the culture under study.
    2. The cultural approach is criticized by corporate consultants who believe that knowledge should be used to influence organizational culture.
    3. Critical theorists attack the cultural approach because it does not evaluate the customs it portrays.
    4. The goal of symbolic analysis is to create a better understanding of what it takes to function effectively within the culture.
    5. Adam Kuper is critical of Geertz for his emphasis on interpretation rather than behavioral observation.
    6. The cultural approach may fall short on one of the criteria for good interpretive theory, aesthetic appeal.

Communicative Constitution of Organizations (Chapter 20)

  1. Introduction
    1. Robert McPhee and other communicative constitution of organizations (CCO) theorists insist any company is what it is because communication brings the organization into existence.
    2. They believe only communication can bind them into an organization.
    3. McPhee believes that CCO theory can help us see that any organization’s chaos has an underlying order.
  2. Communication: The essence of an organization
    1. Employees are not a set of lifeless parts; people create an organization.
    2. According to Weick’s Information Systems Approach, organizations are like organisms—active beings who must continually process information to survive.
    3. When faced with such equivocality, Weick encouraged organizations to engage in sensemaking— communication behavior designed to reduce ambiguity.
    4. McPhee thinks communication doesn’t just reduce ambiguity—it creates the organization itself.
    5. McPhee’s answer to this big CCO question is four specific forms of communication, or flows that accomplish this.
      1. Membership negotiation
      2. Self-structuring
      3. Activity coordination
      4. Institutional positioning
    6. McPhee thinks each flow literally creates the company as members talk. These flows aren’t something an organization does but rather what an organization is.
  3. The Four Flows of CCO
    1. CCO theorists believe organizations are like a river—always changing, always active, and sometimes violent.
    2. McPhee believes the communication must occur in four flows, or “circulating systems or fields of messages.”
    3. Specifically, these four flows concern who is a member of the organization, howthese members structure their working relationships, how they coordinate their work, and how the organization positions itself with other people and organizations.
    4. It’s worth noting that not all communication between organization members involves the four flows.
  4. Membership negotiation: Joining and learning the ropes
    1. All organizations regulate who is a member and who is not.
    2. Texas A&M University communication professor Kevin Barge reminds us that membership negotiation doesn’t end after accepting a job offer.
    3. The next step of membership negotiation is socialization, or learning what it means to be a member of the organization.
  5. Self-structuring: Figuring out who’s who in the organization
    1. After the organization’s founding, self-structuring continues through the writing of procedures manuals, memos, and sometimes a chart that specifies the relationships among employees.
    2. McPhee reminds us that the official chart isn’t the final word on structure.
    3. Cooren and Fairhurst argue that employees seek closure, or a sense of shared understanding that emerges in back-and-forth interaction
  6. Activity coordination: Getting the job done
    1. McPhee believes all organizations have goals.
    2. Such a defined purpose separates an organization from a crowd of people. Most important to CCO theorists, members communicate to accomplish the organization’s day-to-day work toward their goals—a flow McPhee terms activity coordination.
    3. Activity coordination becomes quite complex at any organization with more than a handful of employees.
  7. Institutional positioning: Dealing with other people and organizations
    1. Institutional positioning is communication between an organization and external entities—other organizations and people.
  8. Four Principles of the Four Flows
    1. McPhee claims that communication constitutes organization through the four flows of membership negotiation, self-structuring, activity coordination, and institutional positioning.
    2. It’s the intersection of the four flows, mixing and blending together, that constitutes organization.
    3. Four principles direct the four flows of communication.
      1. All four flows are necessary for organization.
      2. Different flows happen in different places.
      3. The same message can address multiple flows.
      4. Different flows address different audiences.
  9. Diverting the flow: Crafting solutions to organizational problems.
    1. Some CCO scholars are pragmatists who try to use such insights to fix organizational problems.
  10. Critique: Is constitution really so simple?
    1. McPhee provides a degree of relative simplicity that few interpretive theories possess.
    2. But that simplicity doesn’t appeal to everybody.
    3. CCO researcher James Taylor is critical of McPhee’s top-down approach and instead prefers a ground-up theory that starts with everyday conversation.
    4. Taylor is critical of McPhee’s vague definitions, particularly of the term “flow.”
    5. Taylor counters that conversations organize when members engage in co-orientation, or communication “wherein two or more actors are entwined in relation to an object.”
    6. Scholar Ryan Bisel claims that Taylor assumes that co-orientation is a sufficient condition for organizing; in fact, it may only be a necessary condition.
    7. Although they may disagree on the details, CCO theorists share a broad community of agreement

Critical Theory of Communication in Organizations (Chapter 21)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Stanley Deetz’ critical communication theory seeks to seeks to unmask what he considers  unjust and unwise communication practices within organizations.
    2. He calls it “stakeholder participation.” He believes that everyone who will be significantly affected by a corporate policy should have a voice in the decision-making process.
  2. Corporate colonization of everyday life.
    1. Deetz views multinational corporations as the dominant force in society.
    2. Corporate control has sharply diminished the quality of life for most citizens.
    3. Deetz scrutinizes the structure of the corporate world.
    4. His theory of communication is “critical” because he questions the primacy of corporate prosperity.
  3. Information or communication: A difference that makes a difference.
    1. Deetz challenges the view that communication is the transmission of information, a view that perpetuates corporate dominance.
    2. All corporate communication is an outcome of political processes that are usually undemocratic and usually hurts democracy.
    3. Deetz’s communication model emphasizes language’s role in shaping social reality.
      1. Language does not represent things that already exist; it produces what we believe to be “self-evident” or “natural.”
      2. Corporations subtly produce meanings and values.
    4. Like Pearce and Cronen, Deetz considers communication to be the ongoing social construction of meaning, but he emphasizes that the issue of power runs through all language and communication.
    5. Managerial control often takes precedence over representation of conflicting interests or long-term company health.
    6. Co-determination, on the other hand, epitomizes participatory democracy.
    7. Public decisions can be formed through strategy, consent, involvement, and participation.
  4. Strategy—overt managerial moves to extend control.
    1. Managerialism is a discourse that values control above all else.
    2. Forms of control based in communication systems impede any real worker voice in structuring their work.
    3. The desire for control can even exceed the desire for corporate performance.
    4. The quest for control is evident in the corporate aversion to public conflict.
    5. Strategic control does not benefit the corporation, and it alienates employees and causes rebellion.
    6. Because of these drawbacks, most managers prefer to maintain control through voluntary consent.
  5. Consent: Unwitting allegiance to covert control.
    1. Consent describes a variety of situations and processes in which someone actively, though unknowingly, accomplishes the interests of others in the faulty attempt to fulfill his or her own interests.
    2. Consent is developed through managerial control of elements of corporate culture:  workplace language, information, forms, symbols, rituals, and stories.
    3. Systematically distorted communication operates without employees’ overt awareness.
      1. What can be openly discussed or thought is restricted.
      2. Only certain options are available.
    4. Discursive closure suppresses potential conflict.
      1. Certain groups of people may be classified as disqualified to speak on certain issues.
      2. Arbitrary definitions may be labeled “natural.”
      3. Values behind decisions may be kept hidden to appear objective.
  6. Involvement: Free expression of ideas, but no voice.
    1. Truth emerges from the free-flow of information in an open marketplace of ideas, and an information transfer model of communication works well when people share values.
      1. Freedom of speech guaranteed equitable participation in decision making.
      2. Persuasion and advocacy were the best ways to reach a good decision.
      3. Autonomous individuals could then make up their own minds.
    2. The information transfer model does not work well in today’s pluralistic, interconnected world.
    3. But free expression is not the same as having a “voice” in corporate decisions, and knowledge of this difference creates worker cynicism.
  7. Participation: Stakeholder democracy in action.
    1. Meaningful democratic participation creates better citizens and social choices while providing economic benefits.
    2. Deetz advocates open negotiations of power.
    3. There are six classes of stakeholders, each with unique needs: Investors; Workers; Consumers; Suppliers; Host communities; and Greater society and the world community.
    4. Some stakeholders have taken greater risks and made longer-term investments than have stockholders and top-level managers; Deetz believes these stakeholders should have a say in corporate decisions.
    5. Managers should mediate, rather than persuade, coordinating the conflicting interests of all parties.
  8. Politically attentive relational constructivism (PARC).
    1. Deetz has recently proposed an extension of his critical theory that describes six types of conflict that must be addressed in organizations called Politically Attentive Relational Constructionism (PARC). 
  9. Relational constructionism
    1. Deetz maintains that most organizational theories are based on some form of social construction.
    2. Because Deetz is just as concerned with the process of construction as he is with its end product, he uses the designation relational rather than the more common term social
    3. Deetz lays out nine conditions that must be met in order for diverse stakeholders to successfully negotiate for their needs and interests. 
  10. Critique: Is workplace democracy just a dream?
    1. Deetz’s approach to corporate decision making is inherently attractive, yet there are some difficulties as well.
    2. Deetz’s constructivist view of communication does not necessarily support his reform agenda.
    3. Deetz’s campaign for stakeholder negotiation may not be realistic.
    4. The PARC model moves critical theory, which is often difficult to work out in conception and practice, to a higher level of conceptual sophistication.
    5. Deetz suggests critical scholars should be “filled with care, thought, and good humor.”

Group and Public Communication: Public Rhetoric

The Rhetoric (Chapter 22)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Aristotle was a student of Plato’s who disagreed with his mentor over the place of public speaking in Athenian life.
    2. Plato’s negative view of public speaking was based on his assessment of the Sophists.
    3. Aristotle saw rhetoric as a neutral tool with which one could accomplish either noble or fraudulent ends.
      1. Truth is inherently more acceptable than falsehood.
      2. Nonetheless, unscrupulous persuaders may fool an audience unless an ethical speaker uses all possible means of persuasion to counter the error.
      3. Speakers who neglect the art of rhetoric have only themselves to blame for failure. 
    4. Although Aristotle’s Politics and Ethics are polished, well-organized texts, the Rhetoric is a collection of lecture notes.
    5. Aristotle raised rhetoric to a science by systematically exploring the effects of the speaker, the speech, and the audience.
  2. Rhetoric: Making persuasion possible.
    1. For Aristotle, rhetoric was the discovery in each case of the available means of persuasion.
    2. In terms of speech situations, he focused on civic affairs.
      1. Forensic speaking renders just decisions considering actions of the past.
      2. Epideictic speaking considers praise and blame for the benefit of present day audiences.
      3. Deliberative speaking attempts to influence those who consider future policy.
    3. Aristotle classified rhetoric as the counterpart of dialectic.
      1. Dialectic is one-on-one conversation; rhetoric is one person addressing the many.
      2. Dialectic searches for truth; rhetoric demonstrates existing truth.
      3. Dialectic answers general philosophical questions; rhetoric addresses specific, practical ones.
      4. Dialectic deals with certainty; rhetoric considers probability.
  3. Rhetorical proof: Logos, ethos, and pathos.
    1. Persuasion can be artistic or inartistic.
      1. Inartistic or external proofs are those that the speaker does not create.
      2. Artistic or internal proofs are those that the speaker creates.
    2. The available means of persuasion are based on three kinds of proof.
      1. Logical proof (logos) comes from the line of argument in the speech.
      2. Ethical proof (ethos) is the way the speaker’s character is revealed through the message.
      3. Emotional proof (pathos) is the feeling the speech draws from the hearers. 
    3. Aristotle focused on two forms of logical proof—enthymeme and example.
      1. Enthymeme is the strongest of the proofs.
        1. An enthymeme is an incomplete syllogism.
        2. Typical enthymemes leave out the premise that is already accepted by the audience.
        3. Lloyd Bitzer notes that the audience helps construct the proof by supplying the missing premise.
        4. The enthymeme uses deductive logic—moving from global principle to specific truth.
      2. The example uses inductive reasoning—drawing a final conclusion from specific examples.
    4. Ethos emphasizes the speaker’s credibility, which is manifested in intelligence, character, and goodwill.
      1. Aristotle was primarily interested in how the speaker’s ethos is created in a speech.
      2. The assessment of intelligence is based on practical wisdom and shared values.
      3. Virtuous character has to do with the speaker’s image as a good and honest person.
      4. Goodwill is a positive judgment of the speaker’s intention toward the audience.
      5. Aristotle’s explication of ethos has held up well under scientific scrutiny.
    5. Although skeptical of the emotion-laden public oratory typical of his era, Aristotle attempted to help speakers use pathos ethically.
    6. Aristotle catalogued a series of opposite feelings, then explained the conditions under which each mood is experienced.
      1. Anger vs. mildness.
      2. Love or friendship vs. hatred.
      3. Fear vs. confidence.
      4. Indignation vs. pity.
      5. Admiration vs. envy.
  4. The five canons of rhetoric.
    1. Invention—in order to generate effective enthymemes and examples, speakers draw upon both specialized and general knowledge known as topics or topoi.
    2. Arrangement—Aristotle recommended a basic structure.
    3. Style—Aristotle emphasized the pedagogical effectiveness of metaphor.
    4. Memory—this component was emphasized by Roman teachers.
    5. Delivery—naturalness is persuasive.
  5. Ethical reflection: Aristotle’s golden mean.
    1. Aristotle’s work begs the question of the ethicality of altering a message to make it more acceptable to an audience.
    2. For Aristotle, ethics was an issue of character rather than conduct.
    3. He elevated moderation to a theory of virtue and saw wisdom in the person who avoided excess in either direction.
    4. This middle way is known as the golden mean.
    5. While the middle way may be the most effective, for Aristotle it was advocated not for its outcome but because it was the most virtuous.
  6. Critique: Standing the test of time.
    1. The Rhetoric is revered by many public-speaking teachers.
    2. Nonetheless, clarity is often a problem with Aristotle’s theory.
      1. The enthymeme is not defined precisely.
      2. The classification of metaphor is confusing.
      3. The distinctions between deliberative and epideictic oratory are blurred.
      4. The promised organizational structure is abandoned.
    3. Some critics are bothered by Aristotle’s characterization of the audience as passive.
    4. Others desire more discussion of the rhetorical situation. 

Dramatism (Chapter 23)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Burke believes that language is a strategic human response to a specific situation.
    2. The task of the critic is to assess motives.
    3. Burke defined dramatism as “a technique of analysis of language and thought as basically modes of action rather than as means of conveying information.”
    4. For Burke, life is not like a drama; life is drama.
    5. In 1952, Marie Hochmuth Nichols brought Burke to the speech communication field.
  2. The dramatistic pentad: A lens for interpreting verbal action.
    1. The dramatistic pentad is a tool to analyze how a speaker tries to persuade an audience to accept his or her view of reality as true.
      1. The act names what took place in thought or deed.
      2. The scene is the background of the act, the situation in which it occurred.
      3. The agent is the person or kind of person who performed the act.
      4. The agency is the means or instruments used to perform the act.
      5. The purpose is the implied or stated goal of the act.
    2. Content analysis identifies key terms on the basis of frequency and use.
      1. The “god term” is the word to which all other positive words are subservient.
      2. The “devil term” sums up all that the speaker regards as evil.
      3. Words are terministic screens that dictate interpretations of life’s drama.
    3. The five elements of the pentad usually refer to the act described                 within the speech rather than the act of giving the speech.
    4. Burke contrasts the dramatistic pentad of intentional action with scientific terms that describe motion without purpose.
    5. More than any other theorist featured in this text, Burke draws hundreds of connections between his theoretical ideas and a wide sweep of literature, history, politics, sociology, philosophy, and religion.
    6. The ratio of importance between individual pairs of terms in the dramatistic pentad indicates which element provides the best clue to the speaker’s motivation.
    7. The speaker’s worldview is revealed when one element is stressed over the other four.
      1. An emphasis on act demonstrates a commitment to realism.
      2. An emphasis on scene downplays free will and reflects an attitude of situational determinism.
      3. An emphasis on agent is consistent with idealism.
      4. An emphasis on agency springs from the mind-set of pragmatism.
      5. An emphasis on purpose suggests the concerns of mysticism.
  3. Language as the genesis of guilt
    1. Man-made language gives us the capacity to create rules and standards for behavior that Burke called the “thou shalt nots” of life.
    2. Burke uses guilt as his catchall term to cover every form of tension, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, disgust, and other noxious feelings he believed inherent in human symbol-using activity.
    3. Burke reiterates that it’s only through man-made language that the possibility of choice comes into being.
    4. The final phrase, “rotten with perfection,” is an example of what Burke called perspective by incongruity.
    5. Our  greatest strength is also our greatest weakness.
  4. The guilt-redemption cycle: A universal motive for rhetoric
    1. The ultimate motivation of all public speaking is to purge ourselves of guilt.
    2. Rhetoric is the public search for a perfect scapegoat.
    3. Burke said that the speaker or author has two possible ways of offloading guilt.
      1. Described theologically as mortification, this route requires confession of sin and a request for forgiveness.
      2. Since self-blame (or mortification) is difficult to admit publicly, it’s easier to blame someone else.
      3. Victimage is the process of designating an external enemy as the source of all our ills.
      4. Burke was not an advocate of redemption through victimage, but he recognized its prevalence.
  5. Identification: without it, there is no persuasion.
    1. Identification is the common ground that exists between speaker and audience.
      1. Substance encompasses a person’s physical characteristics, talents, occupation, background, personality, beliefs, and values.
      2. The more overlap between the substance of the speaker and the substance of the audience, the greater the identification.
      3. Although social scientists use the term homophily to describe perceived similarity between speaker and listener, Burke preferred religious allusions—identification is consubstantiation.
    2. Identification is established through style and content.
    3. Identification flows both ways between speaker and audience.
    4. Identification is never complete; division is a part of human existence.  But without some kind of division, there’s no need for identification, and consequently, for persuasion.
  6. Critique: evaluating the critic’s analysis.
    1. Burke may have been the foremost twentieth-century rhetorician.
    2. His presentation is often confusing and obscure.
      1. He employed multiple vocabularies and copious literary allusions.
      2. Burke enthusiasts enjoy the challenge of reading his work because he celebrates the life-giving quality of language.
    3. The dramatistic pentad is the most popular feature of Burke’s approach.
    4. The concept of rhetoric as identification is a major advance.
    5. Of Burke’s motivational principles, his strategies of redemption are the most controversial.
      1. Many find his religious imagery problematic.
      2. His assumption that guilt underlies all public address is questionable.
    6. Burke’s commitment to an ethical stance is commendable.

Narrative Paradigm (Chapter 24)

  1. Introduction.
    1. For Walter Fisher, storytelling epitomizes human nature.
    2. All forms of human communication that appeal to our reason are stories.
    3. Offering good reasons has more to do with telling a compelling story than it does with piling up evidence or constructing a tight argument.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm emphasizes that no communication is purely descriptive or didactic.
  2. Narration and paradigm: defining the terms.
    1. Fisher defines narration as symbolic actions—words and/or deeds—that have sequence and meaning for those who live, create, and interpret them.
    2. Fisher’s definition is broad.
      1. Narration is rooted in time and space.
      2. It covers every aspect of life with regard to character, motive, and action.
      3. It refers to verbal and nonverbal messages.
      4. Even abstract communication is included.
    3. A paradigm is a conceptual framework.
    4. Fisher’s narrative paradigm is offered as the foundation on which a complete rhetoric needs to be built.
  3. Paradigm shift: from a rational-world paradigm to a narrative one.
    1. The mind-set of the reigning technical experts is the rational-world paradigm.
      1. People are essentially rational.
      2. We make decisions on the basis of arguments.
      3. The type of speaking situation (legal, scientific, legislative) determines the course of our argument.
      4. Rationality is determined by how much we know and how well we argue.
      5. The world is a set of logical puzzles that we can solve through rational analysis.
    2. The narrative paradigm is built on parallel, yet contrasting, premises.
      1. People are essentially storytellers.
      2. We make decisions on the basis of good reason, which vary depending on the communication situation, media, and genre (philosophical, technical, rhetorical, or artistic).
      3. History, biography, culture, and character determine what we consider good reasons.
      4. Narrative rationality is determined by the coherence and fidelity of our stories.
      5. The world is a set of stories from which we choose, and thus constantly re-create, our lives.
    3. Unlike the rational-world paradigm, the narrative paradigm privileges values, aesthetic criteria, and commonsense interpretation.
    4. We judge stories based on narrative rationality.
  4. Narrative rationality: coherence and fidelity.
    1. Fisher believes that everyone applies the same standards of narrative rationality to stories.
    2. The twin tests of a story are narrative coherence and narrative fidelity.
    3. Narrative coherence:  does the story hang together?
      1. How probable is the story to the hearer?
      2. Narrative consistency parallels lines of argument in the rational-world paradigm. 
      3. The test of reason, however, is only one factor affecting narrative coherence.
      4. Coherence can be assessed by comparing a story to others with a similar theme. 
      5. The ultimate test of narrative coherence is whether or not we can count on the characters to act in a reliable manner.
    4. Narrative fidelity: does the story ring true and humane?
      1. Does the story square with the hearer’s experiences?
      2. A story has fidelity when it provides good reasons to guide our future actions.
      3. Values set the narrative paradigm’s logic of good reasons apart from the rational-world paradigm’s logic of reasons.
      4. The logic of good reasons centers on five value-related issues. 
        1. The values embedded in the message.
        2. The relevance of those values to decisions made.
        3. The consequence of adhering to those values.
        4. The overlap with the worldview of the audience.
        5. Conformity with what audience members believe is an ideal basis of conduct.
      5. People tend to prefer accounts that fit with what they view as truthful and humane.
      6. There is an ideal audience that identifies the humane values that a good story embodies.
      7. These stories include the timeless values of truth, the good, beauty, health, wisdom, courage, temperance, justice, harmony, order, communion, friendship, and oneness with the Cosmos.
      8. Communities not based on humane virtues are possible, but Fisher believes these less idealistic value systems lack true coherence.
      9. Judging a story to have fidelity means we believe shared values can influence belief and action.
      10. Almost all communication is narrative, and we evaluate it on that basis.
  5. Critique: does Fisher’s story have coherence and fidelity?
    1. Fisher’s narrative paradigm offers a fresh reworking to Aristotelian analysis.
    2. Fisher’s principles of narrative coherence and fidelity can be used to analyze various types of communication, which provides strong evidence of their validity.
    3. Critics charge that Fisher is overly optimistic.
    4. Critics charge that the logic of good reason denies the chance to be swayed by something unfamiliar or radically different, and that Fisher’s understanding of probability and fidelity are too tightly linked with normative concepts of rationality.

Mass Communication: Media and Culture

Media Ecolgy (Chapter 25)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Marshall McLuhan believed that media should be understood ecologically
    2. Media ecologists study media environments seeking to understand how people interact with media and how those interactions shape our culture and our daily experiences.
    3. Changes in technology alter the symbolic environment—the socially constructed, sensory world of meanings that in turn shapes our perceptions, experiences, attitudes, and behavior.
  2. The medium is the message.
    1. We’ve accustomed to thinking of the message as separate from the medium itself.
    2. McLuhan blurred the distinction between the message and the medium.
    3. When McLuhan said, "the medium is the message," he wanted us to see that media—regardless of content—reshape human experience and exert far more change in our world than the sum total of all the messages they contain.
    4. We focus on the content and overlook the medium—even though content doesn’t exist outside of the way it’s mediated.
  3. The challenge of media ecology.
    1. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments.
    2. All environments are inherently intangible and interrelated.
    3. An environment is not a thing; it is the intricate association of many things.
      1.  Invisibility of environments
        1. We have trouble recognizing “the way media work as environments’ because we’re so immersed in them.
        2. We need to focus on our everyday experience of technology.
        3. A medium shapes us because we partake of it over and over until it becomes an extension of ourselves.
        4. It’s the ordinariness of media that makes them invisible.
      2. Complexity of environments
        1. Research on media ecology is rather sparse because it takes up the challenge of trying to understand the interplay between all of these things in a culture that changes at blazing speed.  
        2. McLuhan believed that it took a special ability to be able to stand back from the action and take in the big picture. 
  4. A media analysis of human history.
    1. The tribal age: An acoustic place in history
      1. The senses of hearing, touch, taste, and smell were more advanced than visualization.
      2. “Primitive” people lived richer lives than their literate descendants because the ear does not select.
      3. People acted with more passion and spontaneity.
    2. The age of literacy: A visual point of view.
      1. Literacy moved people from collective tribal involvement to private detachment.
      2. Literacy encouraged logical, linear thinking, and fostered mathematics, science, and philosophy.
    3. The print age: Prototype of the industrial revolution.
      1. The printing press made visual dependence widespread.
      2. The development of fixed national languages produced nationalism.
      3. McLuhan regarded the fragmentation of society as the most significant outcome of print.
    4. The electronic age: The rise of the global village.
      1. McLuhan believed that the electronic media are retribalizing humanity.
      2. In an electronic age, privacy is a luxury or a curse of the past.
      3. Linear logic is useless in the electronic society; we focus on what we feel.
    5. The digital age? Rewiring the global village
      1. The digital age is wholly electronic.
      2. The mass age of electronic media is becoming increasingly personalized.
  5. Ethical reflection: Postman’s Faustian bargain.
    1. Neil Postman believed that the forms of media regulate and even dictate what kind of content the form of a given medium can carry.
    2. Unlike McLuhan, Postman believed that the primary task of media ecology is to make moral judgments.
    3. New technology always presents us with a Faustian bargain—a potential deal with the devil.
    4. As for television, Postman argued that society lost more than it gained.
    5. Postman thought three questions should asked of any new technology.
      1. What is the problem to which this technology is a solution?
      2. Whose problem is it, actually?
      3. Is there is a legitimate problem here to be solved, what other problems will be created by my using this technology?
  6. Critique: How could he be right?  But what if he was?
    1. McLuhan did not adequately support his claims.
    2. His prose is very difficult to understand.
    3. Some lament that McLuhan was too private in his Christian faith and merely explored rather than openly deplored the effects that electronic media have had on public morals.
    4. Deterministic theories have difficulty with the criterion of falsifiability.
    5. Tom Wolfe suggests that McLuhan may be one of the great geniuses of our era.
    6. McLuhan used his perspective to shed light on all sorts of cultural phenomena that, while easy to observe, were no less bewildering.

Semiotics (Chapter 26)

  1. Introduction.
    1. The goal of semiotics is interpreting both verbal and nonverbal signs.
    2. Roland Barthes held the Chair of Literary Semiology at the College of France.
    3. In Mythologies, he sought to decipher the coltural meaning of visual signs, particolarly those perpetuating dominant social values.
    4. Semiology is concerned with anything that can stand for something else.
    5. Barthes is interested in signs that are seemingly straightforward, but subtly communicate ideological or connotative meaning.
    6. Barthes had an unusual style for an academic and was extremely influential.
  2. Wrestling with signs.
    1. Barthes’ true concern was with connotation—the ideological baggage that signs carry wherever they go.
    2. The structure of signs is key to Barthes’ theory.
    3. Ferdinand de Saussure coined the term semiology to refer to the study of signs.
    4. A sign is the combination of its signifier and signified.
      1. The signifier is the image; the signified is the concept.
      2. In Barthes’ terms, the signifier isn’t the sign of the signified—rather the sign is the combination of signifier and signified, which are united in an inseparable bond.
      3. These distinctions come from Saussure.
      4. The relationship between the signifier and the signified in a verbal sign is arbitrary.
      5. The relationship between the signifier and the signified in a nonverbal sign is based on affinity and is therefore quasi-arbitrary.
    5. A sign does not stand on its own:  it is part of a system.
      1. A structural analysis of features common to all semiotic systems is called taxonomy.
      2. Barthes believed semiotic systems function the same way despite their apparent diversity.
      3. Significant semiotic systems create myths that affirm the status quo as natural, inevitable, and eternal.
  3. The yellow ribbon transformation: from forgiveness to pride. 
    1. Not all semiological systems are mythic.
    2. Mythic or connotative systems are second-order semiological systems built off of preexisting sign systems.
    3. Within mythic systems, the sign of the first system becomes the signifier of the second.
  4. The making of myth: stripping the sign of its history.
    1. Every ideological sign is the resolt of two interconnected sign systems.
    2. The first system is strictly descriptive as the signifier image and the signified concept combine to produce the denotative sign.
    3. The second system appropriates the sign of the denotative system and makes it the signifier of the connotative system. 
    4. This lateral shift transforms a neutral sign into an ideological tool.
    5. The original denotative sign is not lost, but it is impoverished.
      1. The mythic sign carries the crust of falsity.
      2. The mythic communication is unable to imagine anything alien, novel, or other.
  5. Unmasking the myth of a homogeneous society.
    1. Only those who understand semiotics can detect the hollowness of connotative signs.
    2. Mythic signs don’t explain, defend, or raise questions.
    3. Mythic signs always reinforce dominant coltural values.
    4. They naturalize the current order of things.
  6. The semiotics of mass communication: “I’d like to be like Mike.”
    1. Because signs are integral to mass communication, Barthes’ semiotic analysis has become an essential media theory.
    2. Kyong Kim argues that the mass signification arising in a response to signs is an artificial effect calcolated to achieve something else.
    3. Advertisements on television create layers of connotation that reaffirm the status quo.
  7. Semiotics goes to the movies
    1. More than one hundred years ago when Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure was describing a sign as the combination of the signifier and signified, American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce was independently developing his own model of how signs work.
    2. Peirce included nonverbal signs in his semiotic theorizing right from the start.
      1. Symbolic signs show no resemblance to the objects they reference.
      2. Iconic signs have a perceived resemblance with the objects they portray.
      3. Indexical signs are directly connected with their referents spatially, temporally, or by cause-and-effect.
  8. Critique: do mythic signs always reaffirm the status quo?
    1. There is question over whether the theory has a community of agreement—some students of signification disagree with Barthes’ view that all connotative systems uphold the values of the dominant class.
    2. Scholars such as Anne Norton and Douglass Kellner expand Barthes’ semiotic approach to argue that signs can subvert the status quo or exemplify a countercoltural connotative system.
    3. Barthes’ semiotic approach to imagery remains a core theoretical perspective for communication scholars, particolarly those who emphasize media and colture.

Cultural Studies (Chapter 27)

  1. Introduction - Critical theorists such as Stuart Hall question the scientific focus of mainstream communication research on media influence.
  2. Cultural studies versus media studies: An ideological difference.
    1. Hall believes that the media function to maintain the dominance of the powerful and to exploit the poor and powerless.
    2. Ideology is defined as “the mental frameworks – the languages, the concepts, categories, imagery of thought, and the representation – which different classes and social groups deploy in order to make sense of, define, figure out and render intelligible the way society works.”
    3. Mainstream U.S. mass communication research serves the myth of democratic pluralism and ignores the power struggle that the media mask.
    4. To avoid academic compartmentalization, Hall prefers cultural studies over media studies.
    5. Articulate means both speaking out against oppression and linking that subjugation with the communication media.
    6. Cultural studies is closely related to critical theory, but places more emphasis on resistance than rationality.
    7. Hall believes the purpose of theory and research is to empower people who are marginalized in order to change the world.
  3. Hegemony: Marxism without guarantees.
    1. Hall is strongly influenced by Marxist thought, though he sees the hard line of economic determinism as an oversimplification.
    2. Hall uses the term hegemony to refer to already accepted interpretations of reality that keep society’s haves in power over its have-nots.
  4. Making meaning through discourse.
    1. Hall contends that the primary function of discourse is to make meaning.
      1. Words and signs have no intrinsic meaning.
      2. We learn what signs mean through discourse—through communication and culture.
    2. Hall believes we must examine the sources of discourse.
      1. People with power create “discursive formations” that become naturalized.
      2. Those ways of interpreting the world are perpetuated through further discourse and keep the dominant in power.
  5. Corporate control of mass communication.
    1. Hall believes the focus of the study of communication should be on how human culture influences the media and on power relations and social structures.
    2. Hall and other advocates of cultural studies believe that media representations of culture reproduce social inequalities and keep the average person powerless.
    3. At least in the U.S., corporations produce and distribute the vast majority of information we receive.
    4. Corporate control of information prevents many stories from being told.
    5. The ultimate issue for cultural studies is not what information is presented, but whose information it is.
  6. Cultural factors that affect the selection of news
    1. Hall sees corporate clout as only one reason broadcast and print journalism support the status quo.
    2. Over an eight year period, Herbert Gans of Northwestern University’s McDill School of Journalism conducted a content analysis of newscasts at CBS and NBC  along with the coverage of two news magazines—Newsweek and Time.
    3. He discovered multiple values, procedures, and publishing realities that ensure their stories favor people who already have power, fame, and fortune. Those factors include ethnocentrism, source of news, objectivity, individualism, and the democratic process.
  7. Extreme makeover: The ideological work of reality TV.
    1.  Luke Winsolw claims that ordinary people are offered more explicit guidelines for living in reality TV than other genres or formats.
    2. On Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, episodes chronicle the transformation of a deserving family’s desperate living quarters.
    3. Each episode is a mini morality play.
  8. An obstinate audience.
    1. Audiences may not accept the source’s ideology.
    2. There are three ways to decode a message.
      1. Operate inside the dominant code.
      2. Apply a negotiable code.
      3. Substitute an oppositional code.
    3. Although Hall has trouble believing the powerless can change the system, he respects the ability of people to resist the dominant code.
    4. He is unable to predict, though, when and where resistance will spring up.
    5. James Anderson (Urbana-Champaign campus) and Amie Kincaid (Springfield campus) point out the paradox of satire that is used by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on their television shows.
    6. Their very exposure and reiteration of the dominant ideology may make it more acceptable.
  9.  Ethical reflection: West’s prophetic pragmatism
    1. Cornel West wants to overcome institutional oppression of the disadvantaged, degraded and dejected people who struggle on the margins of society.
    2. Evils exist not just because of ignorance or apathy, but are the result of pervasive human sin.
    3. As a prophetic pragmatist, West applauds an action-oriented approach to empower, rather than exploit, those excluded from the decision-making processes.
  10. Critique: Your judgment will depend on your ideology.
    1. The strong ideological component inherent in cultural studies limits its credibility.
    2. Hall’s work is relatively silent in regards to women as equal victims of hegemony with ethnic minorities and the poor.
    3. Hall doesn’t offer specific remedies for the problems he identifies.
    4. Hall’s great contribution is his insistence that one cannot talk about meaning without considering power.
    5. Samuel Becker notes that although Hall knocks the dominant ideology of communication studies, he has become the most dominant figure in the field.

Mass Communication: Media Effects

Uses and Gratifications (Chapter 28)

  1. Introduction.
    1. People make daily choices to consume different types of media.
    2. The theory attempts to make sense of the fact that people consume an array of media messages for all sorts of reasons, and the effect of a given message is unlikely the same for everyone.
    3. The driving mechanism is need-gratification.
    4. Understanding the need helps to explain the reasons and the effects of media usage.
  2. People use media for their own particular purposes.
    1. The study of how media affect people must take account of the fact that people deliberately use media for particular purposes; this is Katz’s fundamental assumption.
    2. Audiences are not passive.
    3. Uses and grats emphasizes that media choices are personal.
    4. Exposure to media messages do not affect everyone in the same way, but fulfill different purposes at different times.
  3. People seek to gratify needs.
    1. The deliberate choices people make in using media are presumably based on the gratifications they seek from those media.
    2. There is not a straight-line effect where a specific effect on behavior can be predicted from media content alone, with no consideration of the consumer.
    3. The key to understanding media depends on which needs a person satisfies when selecting a media message.
  4. Media compete for your attention and time.
    1. Media competes with each other for your time as well as other activities that don’t involve media exposure.
    2. The need that motivates media consumption must be identified in an effort to understand why people make the choices they do.
  5. Media affect different people differently.
    1. Audiences are made up of people who are not identical.
    2. These differences determine the outcome or gratification a consumer receives.
  6. People can accurately report their media use and motivation.
    1. To discover why people consume media, they must be asked.
    2. Scholars have attempted to show that people’s reports of the reasons for their media consumption can be trusted, but this continues to be debated.
  7. A typology of uses and gratifications.
    1. Rubin’s typology of eight motivations can account for why most people watch TV.
      1. Passing time
      2. Companionship
      3. Escape
      4. Enjoyment
      5. Social interaction
      6. Relaxation
      7. Information
      8. Excitement
    2. Each category is relatively simplistic but can be further subdivided.
  8. Parasocial relationships: Using media to have a fantasy friend.
    1. Consumers develop a sense of friendship or emotional attachment with media personalities.
    2. Parasocial relationships can help predict how media will affect different viewers in different ways.
    3. In the same way uses & grats could be used to study TV-viewing, it also holds potential for studying social media. 
  9. Critique: Heavy on description and light on prediction?
    1. Uses and gratification describes the typology of media uses and gratifications, but its lack of explanation and prediction is a serious weakness.
    2. Jiyeon So notes that uses & gratifications theory was never intended to be merely descriptive; it was originally designed to offer specific predictions about media effects.
    3. Scholars question the testability based on whether or not people can accurately report the reasons for their media use.
    4. Uses and grats does not offer much practical utility, whether users are active participants or not.
    5. Instead of staying with the simple assertion that media audiences were uniformly active and making conscious choices, Rubin modified the theory by claiming that activity was actually a variable in the theory.
    6. It’s now clear that uses and grats has generated a large body of quantitative research.
    7. Future studies need to focus on making testable predictions about media effects based on how media are used for this theory to be a stronger theory.

Cultivation Theory (Chapter 29)

  1. Introduction.
    1. George Gerbner argued that heavy television viewing creates an exaggerated belief in a mean and scary world.
    2. Gerbner emphasized the symbolic content of television drama.
    3. Television has surpassed religion as the key storyteller in our culture.
    4. Violence is television’s principal message, and particularly for devoted viewers.  
    5. Gerbner was concerned that violence affects viewers’ beliefs about the world around them and the feelings connected to those beliefs, more than it affects viewers’ behavior.
    6. Cultivation theory is not limited to TV violence, but it can help people theorize about other TV affects and the affects of how people view social reality.
  2. Institutional process analysis: The first prong.
    1. Research that addresses scholars’ concern for the reasons why media produce the message they do is called institutional process analysis.
    2. Scholars in this research attempt to understand what policies or practices might be lurking behind the scenes of media organizations.
  3. Message system analysis: The second prong.
    1. Message system analysis uses content analysis to study what exactly are the messages that TV projects.
    2. Gerbner studied violence, but this method can be used to focus on any type of TV content.
    3. An index of violence
      1. Gerbner definition of dramatic violence rules out verbal abuse, idle threats, and pie-in-the-face slapstick.
      2. Gerbner found that the annual index of violence is both high and stable.
    4. Equal violence, unequal risk
      1. The cumulative portrayal of violence varies little from year to year.
      2. Minority groups are often the recipients of violence on TV, despite their underrepresentation.
  4. Cultivation analysis: The third prong.
    1. Cultivation analysis deals with how TV’s content might affect viewers.
    2. Television viewing cultivates ways of seeing the world, based on the images, values, portrayals, and ideologies shown on TV.
  5. Cultivation works like a magnetic or gravitational field.
    1. The cultivation process is similar to the pull of a gravitational field.
    2. Although the magnitude of TV’s influence is not the same for every viewer, everyone is affected by it.
    3. Professor L.J. Shrum believes that people make judgments about the world around them based on what comes to mind most quickly – the information that is most accessible.
  6. Mainstreaming: Blurring, blending, and bending of viewer attitudes.
    1. Mainstreaming is the process by which heavy viewers develop a commonality of outlook through constant exposure to the same images and labels.
    2. TV homogenizes its audience so that heavy viewing habits share the same orientations, perspectives, and meanings with each other causing people to share common perceptions of reality that resembles the TV world.
    3. The television answer is the mainstream.
    4. Gerbner illustrates the mainstream effect by showing how television types blur economic and political distinctions.
      1. They assume that they are middle class.
      2. They believe they are political moderates.
      3. In fact, heavy viewers tend to be conservative.
    5. Traditional differences diminish among people with heavy viewing habits.
  7. Resonance: The TV world looks like my world, so it must be true.
    1. The resonance process causes the power of TV’s messages to be stronger.
    2. Viewers perceive the world depicted on TV as a world very much like their own based on resonance assumptions.
  8. Research on cultivation analysis.
    1. Cultivation takes time.
    2. Cultivation analysis relies on surveys instead of experiments.
    3. Gerbner’s basic prediction was that heavy TV viewers would be more likely than light viewers to see the social world as resembling the world depicted on TV.
  9. The major findings of cultivation analysis.
    1. Positive correlation between TV viewing and fear of criminal victimization – as TV viewing increases, so does the tendency for fear of victimization.
    2. Perceived activity of police – people with heavy viewing habits believe that five percent of society is involved in law enforcement.
    3. General mistrust of people – heavy viewers are more suspicious of people’s motives.
  10. Critique: How strong is the evidence in favor of the theory?
    1. Critics are not convinced that cultivation research establishes the causal claim that heavy TV viewing leads a person to perceive the world as mean and scary.
    2. Testability is seen as low because there is a lack of longitudinal studies.
    3. Cultivation effects tend to be statistically small.
    4. The theory must adapt to the new media environment of cable and satellite.

Agenda-Setting Theory (Chapter 30)

  1. The original agenda: not what to think, but what to think about.
    1. Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw regard Watergate as a perfect example of the agenda-setting function of the mass media.
    2. They believe that the mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of items on their news agendas to the public agenda.
    3. The basic theoretical issue had been addressed earlier by Walter Lippman, Bernard Cohen, and Theodore White.
  2. A theory whose time had come.
    1. Agenda-setting theory contrasted with the prevailing selective exposure hypothesis, reaffirming the power of the press while maintaining individual freedom.
    2. It represented a back-to-the-basics approach to mass communication research, with a focus on election campaigns.
    3. The hypothesis predicts a cause-and-effect relationship between media content and voter perception, particularly a match between the media’s agenda and the public’s agenda later on.
  3. Media agenda and public agenda: a close match.
    1. In their groundbreaking study, McCombs and Shaw first measured the media agenda.
    2. They established the position and length of story as the primary criteria of prominence.
    3. They disregarded articles about matters extrinsic to the issues.
    4. The remaining stories were divided into five major issues and ranked in order of importance.
    5. Rankings provided by uncommitted voters aligned closely with the media’s agenda.
  4. What causes what?
    1. McCombs and Shaw believe that the hypothesized agenda-setting function of the media causes the correlation between the media and public ordering of priorities.
    2. However, correlation does not prove causation.
    3. To examine whether the media agenda and the public agenda might just reflect current events, Ray Funkhouser documented a situation in which there was a strong relationship between media and public agendas.  The twin agendas did not merely mirror reality, but Funkhouser failed to establish a chain of influence from the media to the public.
    4. Shanto Iyengar, Mark Peters, and Donald Kinder’s experimental study confirmed a cause-and-effect relationship between the media’s agenda and the public’s agenda.
  5. Who is most affected by the media agenda?
    1. Those susceptible have a high need for orientation or index of curiosity.
    2. Need for orientation arises from high relevance and uncertainty. 
  6. Framing: transferring the salience of attributes.
    1. Throughout the last decade, McCombs has emphasized that the media influence the way we think.
    2. This process is called framing.
      1. A media frame is the central organizing idea for news content that supplies a context and suggests what the issue is through the use of selection, emphasis, exclusion, and elaboration.
      2. This definition suggests that media not only set an agenda, but also transfer the salience of specific attributes to issues, events, or candidates.
    3. There are two levels of agenda setting.
      1. The transfer of salience of an attitude object in the mass media’s pictures of the world to a prominent place among the pictures in our heads.
      2. The transfer of salience of a bundle of attributes the media associate with an attitude object to the specific features of the image in our minds.
  7. Not just what to think about, but how to think about it.
    1. Two national election studies suggest that framing works by altering pictures in the minds of people, and through the construction of an agenda with a cluster of related attributes, creating a coherent image.
    2. Salma Ghanem’s study of Texans tracked the second level of agenda setting and suggested that attribute frames have a compelling effect on the public.
    3. Framing is inevitable.
    4. McCombs and Shaw now contend that the media may not only tell us what to think about, they also may tell us who and what to think about it, and perhaps even what to do about it.
  8. Beyond opinion: the behavioral effect of the media’s agenda.
    1. Some findings suggest that media priorities affect people’s behavior.
    2. Nowhere is the behavioral effect of the media agenda more apparent than in the business of professional sports.
    3. McCombs claims that “Agenda setting the theory can also be agenda setting the business plan.”
  9. Who sets the agenda for the agenda setters?
    1. Some scholars target major news editors or “gatekeepers.”
    2. Others point to politicians and their spin doctors.
    3. Current thinking focuses on public relations professionals.
    4. “Interest aggregations” are becoming extremely important.
    5. The news in any one newspaper is partially influenced by the stories being covered by other news media, called intermedia agenda-setting.
  10. Will new media still shape the agenda, opinions, and behaviors?
    1. The power of agenda setting that McCombs and Shaw describe may be on the wane.
    2. The media may not have as much power to transfer the salience of issues or attributes as it does now as a result of users’ expanded content choices and control over exposure.
    3. Renita Coleman found that while the younger generation relies on the Internet, baby boomers favor TV, and the civic generation preferred newspapers.
    4. While these researchers discovered that the size of the agenda-setting effect is shrinking as people rely more on a variety of on-line news outlets, it certainly hasn’t vanished.
  11. Ethical reflections: Christians’ communitarian ethics.
    1. Christians believes that discovering the truth is still possible if we are willing to examine the nature of our humanity.
    2. Mutuality is the essence of humanness.
    3. His communitarian ethics establish civic transformation rather than objective information as the primary goal of the press.
    4. He insists that media criticism must be willing to reestablish the idea of moral right and wrong.
    5. Journalists have a social responsibility to promote the sacredness of life.
  12. Critique: are the effects too limited, the scope too wide?
    1. McCombs has considered agenda setting a theory of limited media effects.
    2. Framing reopens the possibility of a powerful effects model.
    3. Gerald Kosicki questions whether framing is relevant to agenda-setting research.
    4. Although it has a straightforward definition within agenda-setting theory, the popularity of framing as a construct in media studies has led to diverse and perhaps contradictory uses of the term.
    5. Agenda setting fares well according to the evaluation criteria for empirical research.

Cultural Context: Intercultural Communication

Communication Accommodation Theory (Chapter 31)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Giles claimed that when two people from different ethic or cultural groups interact, they tend to accommodate each other in the way they speak in order to gain the other’s approval.
    2. He focused on nonverbal adjustments.
    3. Speech accommodation is a frequently used strategy to gain the appreciation of people who are different from us.
  2. A simple notion becomes a comprehensive theory.
    1. The scope expanded to answer relevant questions raised by the theory.
    2. Communication accommodation theory is a theory of intercultural communication that actually attends to communication.
    3. One emphasis in the last two decades has been intergenerational communication between those less than 65 and folks past 65.
  3. Communication accommodation strategies.
    1. Giles contrasts convergence and divergence, two strategic forms of communication used to interact with diverse others.
    2. Convergence
      1. Convergence is a strategy by which you adapt your communication behavior in such a way as to become more similar to the other person.
      2. It is a form of audience adaption to reduce nonverbal differences.
      3. Discourse management, another way of adapting, is the sensitive selection of topics to discuss.
    3. Divergence
      1. Divergence is a communication strategy of accentuating the differences between yourself and another.
      2. Divergence is counter-accommodation, direct ways of maximizing the differences between speakers.
      3. Speakers may also persist in their original communication style regardless of the other person or overaccomodate, creating a feeling of patronization.
  4. Different motivations for convergence and divergence.
    1. The theorists have always maintained that desire for approval was the main motivation for convergence
    2. But this doesn’t account for divergence nor for when speakers act as representatives of a group.
    3. Social identity theory
      1. We often communicate not as individuals but as representatives of groups that define us.
      2. Communication may be used to reinforce and defend ties to reference groups.
      3. Divergence is the result if communicators feel the need for distinctiveness.
    4. Initial orientation
      1. Initial orientation is the predisposition a person has toward focusing on either individual identity or group identity.
      2. Five factors impact the perception of a conversation as an intergroup encounter.
        1. Collective cultural context
        2. Distressing history of interaction
        3. Stereotypes
        4. Norms or expectations for treatment
        5. High group solidarity and high group dependence
    5. No single factor determines a person’s initial orientation, yet if five factors line up in the direction or public identity, they make it almost certain that a communicator will approach it as an intergroup encounter.
  5. Recipient evaluation of convergence and divergence.
    1. Giles and his colleagues still believe that listeners regard convergence as positive and divergence as negative.
    2. Convergent speakers are evaluated as more competent, attractive, warm, and cooperative compared to divergent communicators who are seen as insulting, impolite, and hostile.
    3. What is ultimately important is how the communicator is perceived
      1. Objective versus subjective accommodation
        1. A disconnect may exist between what is actually happening and what a listener perceives is happening.
        2. Speakers who converge may also misperceive the other’s style.
      2. Attribution theory
        1. Heider and Kelley suggest that we attribute an internal disposition to the behavior we see another enact.
        2. Our default assumption is that people who do things like that are like that.
        3. Listeners’ evaluation is based on ability, constraints, and effort.
  6. Applying CAT to police officer- citizen interaction.
    1. CAT can be applied to any intercultural or intergroup situation.
    2. Giles has employed CAT to analyze routine traffic stops for issues of accommodation and race.
  7. Critique: Enormous scope at the cost of clarity.
    1. CAT can be evaluated using the six criteria for good social science.
    2. CAT, which as been a joint effort of Giles and others, both describes and explains behavior.
    3. The theory has consistently predicted what will happen in specific situations.
    4. The structure and underlying terminology are not always represented consistently with even the meaning of “accommodation” slippery.
    5. Falsifiable it isn’t as testing the whole theory is not possible.
    6. Tests of the theory have admirably used a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods.
    7. CAT can be beneficially applied to any situation where people from different groups or cultures come in contact.

Face-Negotiation Theory (Chapter 32)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Stella Ting-Toomey’s face-negotiation theory helps to explain cultural differences in response to conflict.
    2. A basic assumption is that all people negotiate “face.”
      1. Face is a metaphor for our public self-image.
      2. Facework refers to specific verbal and nonverbal messages that help to maintain and restore face loss, and to uphold and honor face gain.
    3. Our identity can always be called into question, which inevitably leads to conflict and vulnerability.
    4. Facework and corresponding styles of handling conflict vary from culture to culture.
    5. Ting-Toomey suggests that face maintenance is the crucial intervening variable that ties culture to people’s ways of handling conflict. 
  2. Collectivistic and individualistic cultures.
    1. Harry Triandis says that there are three important distinctions between collectivistic and individualistic cultures—the different ways members perceive self, goals, and duty.
    2. Japan and the U.S. represent collectivistic and individualistic cultures, respectively.
    3. Whereas Japanese value collective needs and goals (a we-identity), Americans value individualistic needs and goals (an I-identity).
    4. Whereas Japanese perceive others in us-them categories and attach little importance to pursuing outsiders’ attitudes or feelings, Americans assume that every person is unique and reduce uncertainty by asking questions.
  3. Self-construal: Varied self-images within a culture.
    1. Ting-Toomey recognizes that people within a culture differ on the relative emphasis they place on individual self-sufficiency or group solidarity.
    2. She discusses the dimension of self-construal (or self-image) in terms of the independent and interdependent self, or the degree to which people conceive of themselves as relatively autonomous from, or connected to, others.  Hazel Markus and Shinobu Kitayama call this dimension self construal, otherwise know as self image.
    3. The independent self is more self-face oriented and so this view of self is more prevalent within individualistic cultures, while the interdependent self is more concerned with other-face and is thus closely aligned with collectivistic cultures.
    4. However, individuals within a culture—particularly one that is ethnically diverse—differ in these images of self as well as varied views on the degree to which they give others face or restore their own face in conflict situations.
    5. Ting-Toomey built her theory around the foundational idea that people from collectivistic/high-context cultures are different in the way they manage face and conflict situations than individualistic/ low-context cultures.
    6. Ting-Toomey now believes self-construal is a better predictor of face-concerns and conflict styles than ethnic/cultural background.
  4. The multiple faces of face.
    1. Face is a universal concern because it is an extension of self-concept.
      1. Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson define face as the public self-image that every member of society wants to claim for himself/herself.
      2. Ting-Toomey defines face as the projected image of one’s self in a relational situation.
    2. The meaning of face differs depending on differences in cultural and individual identities.
    3. Face concern focuses on whose face a person wants to save.
      1. One can save one’s own face or the face of others.
      2. Those in individualistic cultures tend to be more concerned with preserving their own face, whereas people in collectivistic cultures value maintaining the face of the other party.
    4. Mutual face is where there’s an equal concern for both parties’ image, as well as the public image or their relationship.
    5. Face-restoration is the facework strategy used to stake out a unique place in life, preserve autonomy, and defend against loss of personal freedom.
      1. It is the typical face strategy across individualistic cultures.
      2. It often involves justifying one’s actions or blaming the situation.
    6. Face-giving is the facework strategy used to defend and support another’s need for inclusion.
      1. It means taking care not to embarrass or humiliate the other in public.
      2. It is the characteristic face strategy across collectivist cultures.
      3. It often involves self-effacement.
    7. Although cultural difference is not absolute, people from collectivisitic and individualistic cultures tend to privilege other-face and self-face, respectively.
  5. Predictable styles of conflict management.
    1. Based on the work of M. Afzalur Rahim, Ting-Toomey identified five distinct responses to situations in which there is an incompatibility of needs, interests, or goals.
      1. Avoiding (withdrawal)
      2. Obliging (giving in)
      3. Compromising (negotiation)
      4. integrating (problem solving)
      5. Dominating (competing)
    2. Ting-Toomey and John Oetzel identified three additional styles based on more ethnically diverse samples.
      1. Emotional expression
      2. Passive aggression
      3. Third-party help
    3. The styles vary according to their culture related face concern.
    4. They predicted that different cultures would favor different conflict management styles.
      1. Collectivistic cultures would favor avoiding, obliging, compromising, third-party, help and integrating.
      2. Individualistic cultures would favor emotional expression, passive aggression, and dominating.
    5. Avoiding is now rated almost as high as obliging on concern for other person face.
    6. Third-party help is used differently by collectivistic cultures than by individualistic cultures.
      1. In collectivistic cultures, parties voluntarily go to an admired person with whom they already have a relationship.
      2. In individualistic cultures, parties go to an independent mediator.
    7. The model assumes that people from a given culture construe their self-image consistent with the collectivistic or individualistic nature of their society.
    8. Integrating, when adopted by collectivistists, focuses on relational-level collaboration; whereas individualists concentrate on solving the task and bringing closure. 
  6. Complicating factors: Power distance and perceived threat.
    1. Ting-Toomey suggests that power differences complicate the situation
    2. Power distance is the way a culture deals with status differences.
    3. Power differences and individualistic/collectivistic values tend to go together, but there are exceptions.
    4. Additionally, not all face threats are the same and various factors may affect how a face threat is perceived.
    5. Those raised in an individualistic culture usually turn aggressive in a face-defending situation while collectivists typically go for avoidance.
  7. Application: Competent intercultural facework.
    1. Ting-Toomey believes there are three requirements for effectively communicating across cultures.
      1. Knowledge—one must be culturally sensitive.
      2. Mindfulness—one must choose to seek multiple perspectives on the same event.
      3. Interaction skill—one must be able to communicate appropriately, effectively, and adaptively in a given situation.
  8. Critique: Passing the test with a good grade.
    1. Ting-Toomey and Oetzel are committed to objective social science research agenda that looks for measurable commonalities across cultures.
    2. Oetzel and Ting-Toomey tested the core of the theory in four nations using only the three primary conflict styles—dominating, integrating, and avoiding—with largely positive results.
    3. Results suggest that culture-self-construal- face-concern- conflict style was a better predictor path than culture-conflict style directly.
    4. Their results should be interpreted with caution, as it is they are based on self-reports that are often self-serving.
    5. Specific survey items may not tap into corresponding concepts as described in the theory.

Speech Codes Theory (Chapter 33)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Gerry Philipsen was influenced by linguist and anthropologist Dell Hymes.
    2. He spent three years analyzing the speech code of “Teamsterville.”
    3. A speech code is a system of socially constructed symbols and meanings, premises, and rules, pertaining to communicative conduct.
    4. He conducted a second multi-year study while teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Washington. 
      1. This study focused on the “Nacirema,” whose speech code is intelligible to, and practiced by, a majority of Americans.
      2. Its characteristic feature is a preoccupation with metacommunication.
    5. Philipsen’s ultimate goal was to develop a general theory that would capture the relationship between communication and culture.
      1. To indicate that his theory has moved from description to explanation and prediction, he labels his work speech codes theory.
      2. He has developed six general propositions.
  2.  The distinctiveness of speech codes.
    1. Proposition 1: Wherever there is a distinctive culture, there is to be found a distinctive speech code.
    2. For those within the culture, speech codes have a taken-for-granted quality.
  3. The multiplicity of speech codes.
    1. Proposition 2: In any given speech community, multiple speech codes are deployed.
    2. People may be affected by other codes or employ more than one code.
    3. Ethnographer Erving Goffman referred to this code switching as backstage behavior and documented the discrepancies in restaurants, schools, and mental institutions
  4. The substance of speech codes.
    1. Proposition 3:  A speech code involves a culturally distinct psychology, sociology, and rhetoric.
    2. Whatever the culture, the speech code reveals structures of self, society, and strategic action.
      1. Psychology: Every speech code thematizes the nature of individuals in a particular way.
      2. Sociology:  Every speech code provides a system of answers about what linkages between self and others can properly be sought, and what symbolic resources can properly and efficaciously be employed in seeking those linkages.
      3. Rhetoric: Every speech code involves ways to discover truth and create persuasive appeals.
  5. The interpretation of speech codes.
    1. Proposition 4: The significance of speaking depends on the speech codes used by speakers and listeners to create and interpret their communication.
    2. People in a culture decide what their prominent speech practices mean.
  6. The site of speech codes.
    1. Proposition 5: The terms, rules, and premises of a speech code are inextricably woven into speaking itself.
    2. The process of discovery takes time and a person with patience that is willing to listen and watch without preconceived notions.
    3. Philipsen is not a fan of assuming a culture is either individualistic or collectivistic.
    4. Highly structured cultural forms often display the cultural significance of symbols and meanings, premises, and rules that might not be accessible through normal conversation.
      1. Social dramas are public confrontations in which one party invokes a moral rule to challenge the conduct of another.
      2. Totemizing rituals involve careful performances of structured sequences of actions that pay homage to sacred objects.
  7. The force of speech codes in discussions.
    1. Proposition 6: The artful use of a shared speech code is a sufficient condition for predicting, explaining, and controlling the form of discourse about the intelligibility, prudence, and morality of communication conduct.
    2. Proposition 6 suggests that by a thoughtful use of shared speech codes, participants can guide metacommunication.
  8. Performative ethnography.
    1. Some researchers favor the concept of performing ethnography over doing ethnography.
    2. Performative ethnography is grounded in several theoretical principles
      1. Performance is both the subject and method of performance ethnography.
        1. All social interactions are performance because speech not only reflects but also alters the world.
        2. Metaperformance—actions participants recognize as symbolic—serve as reminders that performance defines and permeates life.
      2. Researchers consider their work performative; they do not just observe performance but are co-performers.
      3. Performance ethnographers are also concerned about performance when they report their fieldwork.
        1. They wish to create actable ethnographies.
        2. Through performances, ethnographers can recognize the limitations of, and   
          uncover the cultural bias in his or her written work.
    3. Performance ethnography almost always takes place among marginalized groups.
  9. Critique: Different speech codes in communication theory.
    1. Most interpretive scholars applaud Philipsen’s commitment to long-term participant observation.
    2. However, they criticize his efforts to generalize across cultures and his scientific goals of explanation, prediction, and control.
    3. Theorists from feminist, critical, or cultural studies perspectives charge that he is silent—even naïve—about power relationships.
    4. Empiricists wish that Philipsen backed his generalizations with more scientific rigor.
    5. As for the theory’s scope or coverage, researchers trained in speech code theory and methodologies haves published ethnographies conducted in  Columbia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Spain, as well as in the U.S. and other countries.
    6. Philipsen does offer a reminder, however, that the scope of his theory is limited to communication behavior.

Cultural Context: Gender and Communication

Genderlect Styles (Chapter 34)

  1. Introduction.
    1. Deborah Tannen argues that male-female communication is cross-cultural.
    2. Miscommunication between men and women is both common and insidious because the parties usually don’t realize that the encounters are cross-cultural.
    3. Tannen’s writing underscores the mutually alien nature of male and female conversation styles.
    4. Tannen’s approach departs from much feminist scholarship that claims that conversations between men and women reflect male domination.
      1. She assumes that male and female conversational styles are equally valid.
      2. The term genderlect suggests that masculine and feminine styles of discourse are best viewed as two distinct cultural dialects rather than as inferior or superior ways of speaking.
    5. At the risk of reinforcing a reductive biological determinism, Tannen insists that there are gender differences in the ways we speak.
  2. Women’s desire for connection versus men’s desire for status.
    1. More than anything else, women seek human connection.
    2. Men are concerned mainly with status.
    3. Tannen does not believe that men and women seek only status and connection, respectively, but these are their primary goals.
  3. Rapport talk versus report talk.
    1. Julia Wood thinks that Tannen’s observations have merit and that the connection-status distinction is evident even in childhood.
    2. Public speaking versus private speaking.
      1. Women talk more than men in private conversations.
      2. In the public arena, men vie for ascendancy and speak much more than women.
      3. Men assume a lecture style to establish a “one-up” position, command attention, convey information, and insist on agreement.
      4. Men’s monologue style is appropriate for report, but not for rapport.
      5. Girls learn to involve others in conversations while boys learn to use communication to assert their own ideas and draw attention to themselves.
    3. Telling a story.
      1. Men tell more stories and jokes than do women.
      2. Telling jokes is a masculine way to negotiate status.
      3. Men are the heroes in their own stories.
      4. When women tell stories, they downplay themselves.
    4. Listening.
      1. Women show attentiveness through verbal and nonverbal cues.
      2. Men may avoid these cues to keep from appearing “one-down.”
      3. A woman interrupts to show agreement, to give support, or to supply what she thinks the speaker will say (a cooperative overlap).
      4. Men regard any interruption as a power move.
    5. Asking questions.
      1. Tannen thinks that men and women also annoy each other with their different ways of asking questions—or of not asking them.
      2. Men don’t ask for help because it exposes their ignorance.
      3. Women ask questions to establish a connection with others.
      4. When women state their opinions, they often use tag questions to soften the sting of potential disagreement and to invite participation in open, friendly dialogue.
    6. Conflict.
      1. Men usually initiate and are more comfortable with conflict.
      2. To women, conflict is a threat to connection to be avoided at all costs.
      3. Men are extremely wary about being told what to do.
  4. Nonverbal communication.
    1. Curiously, Tannen doesn’t extend the connection-status distinction to the ways in which men and women communicate nonverbally. 
    2. Susan Pease Gadoua, a licensed marriage counselor with a column in Psychology Today magazine, finds it difficult to analyze the way men and women talk to each other without also including the nonverbal component. 
  5. Men and women grow up in different speech communities
    1. Tannen concluded that the origins of speaking in genderlect must be traced back to early childhood.
    2. Linguists and communication scholars refer to the segregated groups to which boys and girls belong as speech communities.
    3. The differences that Tannen sees between the speech between adult males and females have their roots in the early socialization of children.
  6. “Now you’re beginning to understand.”
    1. Tannen believes that both men and women need to learn how to adopt the other’s voice.
    2. However, she expresses only guarded hope that men and women will alter their linguistic styles.
    3. She has more confidence in the benefits of multicultural understanding between men and women.
  7. Ethical reflection: Gilligan’s different voice.
    1. Gilligan claims that women tend to think and speak in an ethical voice different from men.
    2. She believes men seek autonomy and think in terms of justice; women desire linkage and think in terms of care.
    3. Men’s justice is impersonal; women’s is contextual.
    4. Though more descriptive than prescriptive, the underlying assumption is that the way things are reflects the way things ought to be.
    5. Gilligan’s theory suggests different ethics for different groups.
  8. Critique: Is Tannen soft on research and men?
    1. Tannen suggests we use the “aha factor”—a subjective standard of validity—to test her truth claims.
    2. Tannen’s analysis of common misunderstandings between men and women has struck a chord with millions of readers and mental health care professionals.
    3. Critics suggest that selective data may be the only way to support a reductionist claim that women are one way and men another.
    4. Tannen’s intimacy/independence dichotomy echoes one of Baxter and Montgomery’s tensions, but it suggests none of the ongoing complexity of human existence that relational dialectics describes.
    5. Tannen’s assertions about male and female styles run the risk of becoming self-fulfilling prophecy.
    6. Adrianne Kunkel and Brant Burleson challenge the different cultures perspective that is at the heart of Tannen’s genderlect theory, citing their work on comforting as equally valuable to both sexes.
    7. Senta Troemel-Ploetz accuses Tannen of ignoring issues of male dominance, control, power, sexism, discrimination, sexual harassment, and verbal insults.
      1. You cannot omit issues of power from communication.
      2. Men understand what women want but give it only when it suits them.
      3. Tannen’s theory should be tested to see if men who read her book talk more empathetically with their wives.

Standpoint Theory (Chapter 35)

  1. Introduction.
    1. A standpoint is a place from which to view the world that determines what we focus on as well as what is obscured from us.
    2. Sandra Harding and Julia Wood claim that the social groups to which we belong shape what we know and how we communicate.
    3. Standpoint theorists suggest that societal inequalities generate distinctive accounts of nature and social relationships.
    4. According to Harding, the perspective from the lives of the less powerful can provide a more objective view than the perspective from the lives of the more powerful.
    5. For Wood, a feminist standpoint is achievement rather than automatically inherited.
  2. A feminist standpoint rooted in philosophies.
    1. Georg Hegel revealed that what people “know” depends upon which group they are in and that the powerful control received knowledge.
    2. Early feminist standpoint theorists were influenced by Marx and Engels’ idea that the poor can be society’s “ideal knowers.”
    3. Standpoint theory is also influenced by symbolic interactionism, which suggests that gender is socially constructed, and by the postmodernism of theorists such as Jean-Francois Lyotard, which suggests a critique of male-centered epistemologies.
    4. However, standpoint theorists reject postmodernism’s absolute relativism.
    5. Although Harding and Wood draw from these somewhat conflicting influences, their theory is held together by the central tenet that all scholarly inquiry should start from the lives of women and others who are marginalized.
  3. Women as a marginalized group.
    1. Standpoint theorists see important differences between men and women that affect their communication.
      1. These differences are a result of cultural expectations and the treatment that each group receives from the other.
      2. Culture is not experienced identically by all members of society because of inequities.
      3. Women are underadvantaged; men are overadvantaged.
    2. Harding and Wood point out that women are not a monolithic group, and thus they do not all share the same standpoint.
      1. Economic condition, race, and sexual orientation also contribute to a woman’s position in society.
      2. Yet Wood feels that a sense of solidarity is politically necessary if women are to effectively challenge male domination and gain full participation in public life.
    3. People at the top of the societal hierarchy have the power to define others.
  4. Knowledge from nowhere versus local knowledge.
    1. Standpoint theorists believe that those who define a field shape the picture of the world that emerges from that field.
    2. This view contrasts sharply with the claim that “truth” is value-free and accessible to any objective observer.
    3. Harding believes that each person can achieve only a partial view of reality from the perspective of his or her own position in the social hierarchy.
    4. She does not want to abandon the search for reality; she simply believes that the search should begin from the lives of those in the underclass.
      1. Like all knowledge, the perspectives arising from the standpoint of women or any other minority are partial or situated knowledge.
      2. However, standpoint theorists believe that the perspectives of subordinate groups are more complete and thus better than those of privileged groups in a society.
  5. Strong objectivity: less partial views from the standpoint of women.
    1. Harding emphasizes that it’s the perspective generalized from women’s lives that provides a preferred standpoint from which to begin research.
      1. She calls this approach “strong objectivity.”
      2. By contrast, knowledge generated from the standpoint of dominant groups offers only “weak objectivity.”
    2. Wood offers two reasons why the standpoints of women and other marginalized groups are less partial, distorted, and false than those of men in dominant positions.
      1. Marginalized people have more motivation to understand the perspective of the powerful than vice versa.
      2. Marginalized people have little reason to defend the status quo.
    3. Harding and Wood emphasize that a woman’s location on the margin of society is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to attain a feminist standpoint.
    4. A feminist standpoint is an achievement rather than a piece of territory automatically inherited by virtue of being a woman.
  6. Theory to practice: communication research based on women’s lives.
    1. Wood’s study of caregiving in the United States exemplifies research that starts from the lives of women.
    2. Woods suggest that a standpoint approach is practical to the extent that it generates an effective critique of unjust practices.
  7. The standpoint of black feminist thought.
    1. Patricia Collins claims that “intersecting oppressions” puts black women in a different marginalized place in society than either white women or black men.
    2. The different social location means that black women’s way of knowing is different from Harding and Wood’s standpoint epistemology.
    3. Four ways that black women validate knowledge.
      1. Lived experience as a criterion of meaning.
      2. The use of dialogue in assessing knowledge claims.
      3. The ethic of caring.
      4. The ethic of personal accountability.
  8. Ethical reflection: Benhabib’s interactive universalism
    1. Seyla Benhabib maintains that a universal ethical standard is a viable possibility, one that values diversity of belief without thinking that every difference is ethically significant.
    2. She holds out the possibility that instead of reaching a consensus on how everyone should act, interacting individuals can align themselves with a common good.
    3. Benhabib insists that any panhuman ethic be achieved through interaction with collective concrete others rather than imposed on them by the rational elite.
    4. Interactive universalism would avoid privatizing women’s experience.
  9. Critique: Do standpoints on the margins give a less false view?
    1. Julia Wood says the concept of women as a single group is politically useful to bring about needed reform, but is this core idea a reality or just a fiction?
    2. Some feminist scholars contend that Harding’s version of standpoint theory underestimates the role of language, which is influenced by society and culture and which cannot be separated from standpoint.
    3. Other critics see the concept of strong objectivity as inherently contradictory, since it seems to appeal to universal standards of judgment.
    4. Wood acknowledges that it may be difficult to determine which social groups are more marginalized than others.

Muted Group Theory (Chapter 36)

  1. Introduction.
    1. To Cheris Kramarae, language is a man-made construction.
    2. Women’s words and thoughts are discounted in our society.
    3. When women try to overcome this inequity, the masculine control of communication places them at a disadvantage.
    4. Women are a muted group because man-made language aids in defining, depreciating, and excluding them.
    5. Kramarae began her research studying gender bias in cartoons.
  2. Muted groups: Black holes in someone else’s universe.
    1. Edwin Ardener first proposed that women are a muted group.
    2. He noted that many ethnographers claimed to have “cracked the code” of a culture without referencing female speech.
    3. He and Shirley Ardener discovered that mutedness is caused by the lack of power that besets any group of low status.
    4. He claimed that muted groups are “black holes” because they are overlooked, muffled, and rendered invisible.
    5. Shirley Ardener argues that the key issue is whether people can say what they want to say when and where they want to say it, or must they re-encode their thoughts to make them understood in the public domain?
    6. Kramarae’s extension of the Ardeners’ initial concept explores why women are muted and how to free them.
    7. She argues that the public-private distinction in language exaggerates gender differences, poses separate sexual spheres of activity, and devalues private communication.
  3. The masculine power to name experience.
    1. Kramarae’s basic assumption is that women perceive the world differently from men because of women’s and men’s different experiences and activities rooted in the division of labor.
    2. Kramarae argues that because of their political dominance, men’s system of perception is dominant, impeding the free expression of women’s alternative models of the world.
    3. Men’s control of the dominant mode of expression has produced a vast stock of derogatory, gender-specific terms to refer to women’s talking.
    4. There are also more words to describe sexually promiscuous women than men.
    5. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis suggests that muted women may come to doubt the validity of their experience and the legitimacy of their feelings.
  4. Men as the gatekeepers of communication.
    1. Kramarae believes that even if the public mode of expression contained a rich vocabulary to describe feminine experience, women would still be muted if their modes of expression were ignored or ridiculed.
      1. The cultural establishment virtually excludes women’s art, poetry, plays, film, and so forth.
      2. Mainstream communication is “malestream” expression.
    2. Authors such as Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Smith have argued that women have not been given their rightful place in history. 
    3. Kramarae cites the politics surrounding her change of name as an example of male control.
  5. Speaking women’s truth in men’s talk: The problem of translation.
    1. Kramarae believes that in order to participate in society, women must transform their own models in terms of the received male system of expression.
    2. This translation process requires constant effort and leaves women wondering if they said it right.
  6. Speaking out in private: Networking with women.
    1. Kramarae believes that females are likely to find ways to express themselves outside the dominant public modes of expression used by males.
    2. She labels women’s outlets the female “sub-version” that runs beneath the surface of male orthodoxy.
    3. She is convinced that males have more difficulty than females understanding what members of the other gender mean because they haven’t made the effort.
    4. Dale Spender hypothesizes that men realize that listening to women would involve a renunciation of their privileged position.
  7. Enriching the lexicon: A feminist dictionary.
    1. The ultimate goal of muted group theory is to change the man-made linguistic system that oppresses women.
    2. Such reform includes challenging sexist dictionaries.
    3. Kramarae and Paula Treichler compiled a feminist dictionary.
  8. Sexual harassment: Coining a term to label experience.
    1. The popularization of the term sexual harassment represents a great victory for feminist communication scholarship—encoding women’s experience into the received language of society.
    2. Although unwanted sexual attention is not new, until recently it went unnamed.
    3. The battle over sexual harassment is as much a struggle over language as it is over sexual conduct.
  9. Co-cultural theory: How muted groups talk to dominant groups
    1. Kramarae acknowledges that women aren’t the only muted group.
    2. Through his research with “people of color, women, gay/lesbian/bisexuals, and those from a lower socioeconomic status,” Mark Orbe discovered that how a member of muted group communicates with the dominant culture depends on their preferred outcome, or goal for the interaction. He found three common goals.
      1. One goal is assimilation, or blending in with the dominant group.
      2. A second option is separation, or minimizing any contact with the dominant group.
      3. A third approach is accommodation, or trying to persuade the dominant culture to “change the rules so that they incorporate the life experiences” of muted groups.
      4. The theory recognizes that the best choice depends on the unique circumstances of the co-culture.
  10. Critique: Do men mean to mute?
    1. Muted group theory stands up well to the criteria important for good critical scholarship: understanding people, clarifying values, and reforming society.
    2. Readers may be uncomfortable with her characterization of men as oppressors and women as oppressed yet Kramarae argues that such labels may be necessary to foster discussion.
    3. Her perspective on men’s motives is contested by scholars such as Tannen.


Common Threads in Comm Theories (Chapter 37)

  1. Introduction.
    1. This chapter seeks to integrate the material.
    2. Griffin indentifies 10 recurring principles that in one form or another appear in moltiple theories.
    3. A thread must be a significant feature in at least six different theories.
  2. Motivation.
    1. Communication is motivated by our basic social need for affiliation, achievement, and control as well as our strong desire to reduce our uncertainty and anxiety.
    2. Social exchange holds that relationships develop based upon the perceived benefits and costs of interactions.
    3. Uses and grats points out that people act to gratify their felt needs, but those needs vary from person to person.
    4. Need for affiliation:  Social penetration theory assumes a human need for affiliation and focuses on how that desire is met through self-disclosure.
    5. Need for achievement: Functional perspective on group decision-making claims that groups must accomplish the requisite functions to reach a high-quality decision. 
    6. Need for control: Excessive need for control is central to critical theories.  Hall argues that corporately controlled media shape the dominant discourse of the day.
    7. Need to reduce uncertainty: Uncertainty reduction theory suggests that the motive of most communication is to gain knowledge and create understanding.
    8. Need to reduce anxiety: Burke’s dramatism offers two ways to get rid of guilty feelings.
    9. Cause for pause: If we are driven by these forces, are we incredibly selfish and do we have any responsibility or free will?
  3. Self-image
    1. Communication affects and is affected by our sense of identity, which is strongly shaped within the context of our colture.
    2. Symbolic interactionism claims that our concept of self is formed through communication
    3. According to Aronson and Cooper’s revisions of cognitive dissonance theory , dissonance negatively impacts our self-image until we find a way to dissipate this distressing feeling.
    4. In face negotiation theory, face is defined as our public self-image.
    5. Cause for pause: humans naturally commit a fundamental attribution error by being less stringent on themselves and more judgmental of others.
  4. Credibility
    1. Our verbal and nonverbal messages are validated or discounted by others’ perception of our competence and character.
    2. Aristotle used the term ethical proof to describe the credibility of a speaker that increases the probability of a speech being persuasive.
    3. The second level of agenda-setting theory involves noting the affective tone of references to candidates made in the media.
    4. Standpoint suggests that marginalized members may have low credibility but a less false view of reality.
    5. Cause for pause: Credibility may cause us to loose sight of the intrinsic value of what’s being said.
  5. Expectation
    1. What we expect to hear or see will affect our perception, interpretation, and response during an interaction.
    2. Burgoon’s expectancy violation theory suggests that our expectations are shaped by a variety of factors.
    3. Expectation is part of the self-folfilling prophesy of Berger’s motivation to reduce uncertainty, and Walther’s hyperpersonal perspective on CMC.
    4. Coltivation theory maintains that media creates an expectation of violence.
    5. Cause for pause: Expectations are projections of those perceptions into the future we anticipate a repeat performance.
  6. Audience adaption
    1. Social judgment theory suggests influencers are most effective if they first figure out the other’s latitude of acceptance and craft their message accordingly.
    2. Petty and Cacioppo’s elaboration likelihood model suggests that the persuader fi rst assess whether the target audience is ready and able to think through issue-relevant arguments that support the advocate’s position.
    3. The entire book of Aristotle’s Rhetoric is a comprehensive analysis of how audiences respond to different types of messages and messengers.
    4. Burke’s dramatism is even more concerned with the speaker’s ability to successfolly identify with the audience.
    5. Giles’ CAT focuses on parties’ adjustment of their speech styles.
    6. Cause for pause: Too much adaptation may mean we lose the authenticity of our message or the integrity of our own beliefs.
  7. Social construction
    1. Persons-in-conversation co-construct their own social realities and are simoltaneously shaped by the worlds they create.
    2. CMM directly embodies this thread.
    3. Watzlawick sees every family as operating by its own self-constructed roles.
    4. McLuhan’s media ecology describes a more subtle construction process summed up in his statement that we shape the tools and they in turn shape us.
    5. Cause for pause: Is there a foundational reality that language can describe, however poorly?
  8. Shared meaning.
    1. Our communication is successfol to the extent that we share a common interpretation of the signs we use.
    2. Geetz and Pacanowsky describe colture as webs of significance, or systems of shared meaning.
    3. A speech code for Philipsen is a historically enacted, socially constructed system of meanings.
    4. Barthes described how this works.
    5. Cause for pause: Shared interpretation is an accomplishment of the audience rather than the clarity of the message.
  9. Narrative.
    1. We respond favorably to stories and dramatic imagery with which we can identify.
    2. According to Fisher, almost all communication is story that we judge by its narrative coherence and fidelity.
    3. Bormann’s SCT predicts then when group fantasies are shared, the resolt is symbolic convergence—a common group consciousness and often a greater cohesiveness.
    4. Gerber said that television is dominant because it tells story most of the time.
    5. Tannen sees disparity between men and women in how they tell stories.
    6. Cause for pause: There are bad stories that can effectively lead people astray or destroy others.
  10. Conflict.
    1. Unjust communication stifles needed conflict; healthy communication can make conflict productive.
    2. Deetz believes that organizations woold be well served by more conflict rather than less.
    3. Watzlawick describes a double-bind where the more powerfol person insists that the less powerfol person act as if the relationship was symmetrical.
    4. Other theories suggest that conflict must be headed off by proactively talking about the potential problem.
    5. Cause for pause: Colture considers must be made. In societies where giving face to others is the coltural norm, straight talk creates great embarrassment.
  11. Dialogue.
    1. Dialogue is transparent conversation that often creates unanticipated relational outcomes due to parties’ profound respect for disparate voices.
    2. Baxter stresses that dialogue doesn’t bring a resolution to the contradictions that parties experience in close relationships yet it provides assurance that living within tensions can be exhilarating.
    3. Pearce and Cronen think we can experience dialogue if we seek it and prepare for it.
    4. Kramarae suggests that it’s difficolt for women to take part as equal partners in a dialogue while speaking in a man-made language and where the roles are controlled by men.
    5. Cause for pause: Dialogue is hard to describe and even more difficolt to achieve.
  12. Unraveling the threads.
    1. At this point the 10 threads may be tangled together in your mind like pieces of string jumbled together in a drawer.
    2. Figure 37-1 shows each thread and the associated theories.
    3. The sense of discovery that comes from figuring out where to place additional knots can be quite satisfying and has practical benefits.
  13. A final note.
    1. Readers are encouraged to continue their investigation of communication theory. 
    2. Appendix B covers relevant movies.
    3. Since the field of communication is changing rapidly, readers shoold participate in its development.  Go to it!

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