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DEEPEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE THEORIES IN THE 10TH EDITION

 

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New to Theory Resources?
Find out more in this
short video overview (3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter 33—Muted Group Theory

  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.
  2. Muted groups: Black holes in someone else’s universe.
    1. Anthropologist 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. Mutedness doesn’t mean that low-power groups are completely silent. The issue is whether people can say what they want to say when and where they want to say it.
    5. He claimed that muted groups are “black holes” because they are overlooked, muffled, and rendered invisible.
    6. Kramarae argues that the ever-prevalent public/private distinction in language is a convenient way to exaggerate gender differences and pose separate sexual spheres of activity.
  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 speech.
    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 experiences and the legitimacy of their feelings.
  4. Men as the gatekeepers of communication.
    1. 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. Kramarae points out that both the law and the conventions of proper etiquette have served men well.
      2. Kramarae observes that most gatekeepers are men—a “good ole boys” cultural establishment that historically has excluded women’s art, poetry, plays, film scripts, public address, and scholarly essays.
      3. 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. Many women have suppressed their feminine identity to satisfy the demands of a male gatekeeper.
    4. To some extent, Kramarae thinks advances in technology create new spaces where women can make their voices heard.
    5. But tech executive Eli Pariser notes that these programs are likely to “simply reflect the social mores of the culture they’re processing.”
    6. Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg believes technology won’t reflect the interests of female users until we have more women in technology fields.
  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.
    3. According to Kramarae, women have to choose their words carefully in a public forum.
  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 including challenging sexist dictionaries.
    2. Traditional dictionaries pose as authoritative guides to proper language use, but because of their reliance on male literary sources, lexicographers systematically exclude words coined by women.
    3. Kramarae and Paula Treichler have compiled a feminist dictionary that offers definitions for women’s words that don’t appear in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and presents alternative feminine readings of words that do.
  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.
      1. Communication professor Ann Burnett (North Dakota State University) identifies similar confusion and powerlessness regarding date rape—an acute form of sexual harassment often directed at college women.
      2. Uncertainty favors men—and mutes women—before, during, and after date rape.
  9. Critique: Do men mean to mute?
    1. Feminist scholars insist that “the key communication activities of women’s experiences—their rituals, vocabularies, metaphors, and stories—are an important part of the data for study.”
    2. The theory has inspired many scholars to take the voices of women and other muted groups seriously.
    3. Few other interpretive theories in this book can claim such wide-ranging support and enthusiasm.
    4. Steeped in the critical tradition, muted group theory is exceedingly candid about trying to clarify values.
    5. So, can men be members of a muted group? Kramarae’s answer is yes, especially if those men identify with another marginalized group, such as the economically disadvantaged or an ethnic minority.
    6. Kramarae acknowledges that oppression is more complex than identification with any one group.
    7. Her perspective on men’s motives is contested by scholars such as Tannen.
    8. Kramarae thinks Tannen’s apology for men’s abuse of power is too simple.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

Back to top



Resources
by Type




 OUTLINES


 VIDEOS


 ESSAY


 LINKS





Instructors can get
additional resources.
Read more

New to Theory
Resources?

Find out more
in this short
video overview
(3:01).

Chapter Outlines
10th Edition

From the Instructors Manual


List mode: Normal (click on theory name to show detail) | Show All details | Clear details

Chapter 33—Muted Group Theory

  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.
  2. Muted groups: Black holes in someone else’s universe.
    1. Anthropologist 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. Mutedness doesn’t mean that low-power groups are completely silent. The issue is whether people can say what they want to say when and where they want to say it.
    5. He claimed that muted groups are “black holes” because they are overlooked, muffled, and rendered invisible.
    6. Kramarae argues that the ever-prevalent public/private distinction in language is a convenient way to exaggerate gender differences and pose separate sexual spheres of activity.
  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 speech.
    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 experiences and the legitimacy of their feelings.
  4. Men as the gatekeepers of communication.
    1. 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. Kramarae points out that both the law and the conventions of proper etiquette have served men well.
      2. Kramarae observes that most gatekeepers are men—a “good ole boys” cultural establishment that historically has excluded women’s art, poetry, plays, film scripts, public address, and scholarly essays.
      3. 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. Many women have suppressed their feminine identity to satisfy the demands of a male gatekeeper.
    4. To some extent, Kramarae thinks advances in technology create new spaces where women can make their voices heard.
    5. But tech executive Eli Pariser notes that these programs are likely to “simply reflect the social mores of the culture they’re processing.”
    6. Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg believes technology won’t reflect the interests of female users until we have more women in technology fields.
  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.
    3. According to Kramarae, women have to choose their words carefully in a public forum.
  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 including challenging sexist dictionaries.
    2. Traditional dictionaries pose as authoritative guides to proper language use, but because of their reliance on male literary sources, lexicographers systematically exclude words coined by women.
    3. Kramarae and Paula Treichler have compiled a feminist dictionary that offers definitions for women’s words that don’t appear in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and presents alternative feminine readings of words that do.
  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.
      1. Communication professor Ann Burnett (North Dakota State University) identifies similar confusion and powerlessness regarding date rape—an acute form of sexual harassment often directed at college women.
      2. Uncertainty favors men—and mutes women—before, during, and after date rape.
  9. Critique: Do men mean to mute?
    1. Feminist scholars insist that “the key communication activities of women’s experiences—their rituals, vocabularies, metaphors, and stories—are an important part of the data for study.”
    2. The theory has inspired many scholars to take the voices of women and other muted groups seriously.
    3. Few other interpretive theories in this book can claim such wide-ranging support and enthusiasm.
    4. Steeped in the critical tradition, muted group theory is exceedingly candid about trying to clarify values.
    5. So, can men be members of a muted group? Kramarae’s answer is yes, especially if those men identify with another marginalized group, such as the economically disadvantaged or an ethnic minority.
    6. Kramarae acknowledges that oppression is more complex than identification with any one group.
    7. Her perspective on men’s motives is contested by scholars such as Tannen.
    8. Kramarae thinks Tannen’s apology for men’s abuse of power is too simple.

You can access the Outline for a particular chapter in several ways:

  • Switch to View by Theory, then select the desired theory/chapter from the drop-down list at the top of the page. Look in the list of available resources.
  • To quickly find a theory by chapter number, use the Table of Contents and link from there. It will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.
  • You can also use the Theory List, which will take you directly to the theory with available options highlighted.

Back to top



The screen on this device is not wide enough to display Theory Resources. Try rotating the device to landscape orientation to see if more options become available.
Resources available to all users:

  • Theory Overview—abstract of each chapter
  • Self-Help Quizzes—for student preparation
  • Chapter Outlines
  • Key Names—important names and terms in each chapter
  • Conversation Videos—interviews with theorists
  • Application Logs—student application of theories
  • Essay Questions—for student prepatation
  • Suggested Movie Clips—tie-in movie scenese to theories
  • Links—web resources related to each chapter
  • Primary Sources—for each theory with full chapter coverage
  • Further Resources—bibliographic and other suggestions
  • Changes—for each theory, since the previous edition
  • Theory Archive—PDF copies from the last edition in which a theory appeared

Resources available only to registered instructors who are logged in:

  • Discussion Suggestions
  • Exercises & Activities
  • PowerPoint® presentations you can use
  • Short Answer Quizzes—suggested questions and answers
  • Compare Texts—comparison of theories covered in A First Look and ten other textbooks

Information for Instructors. Read more


 

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