Day #10: Wrapping it up
As we end this class it’s important to note some key theories about the role of media in its relation to society. It’s time to start wrapping things up and bringing things to a conclusion. I hope that you have found this class valuable in introducing you to ideas and theories that can help you understand how media interacts and affects society. This class is a starting point for many of these topics, and I encourage you to continue to think about these issues in the future.
This is the last discussion assignment for this class. Tomorrow will be a final, individual assignment about how your worldview may have developed during this class.
So, in conclusion, all the theories you have learned about in this class so far fit into five overall theory categories. Over the period of the last 60 years or so, academics have tried to map the different types of communication theories, and this is it: the mapping out of mass communication, and finally lifting the veil. Here are the five major types of theories….
1. Semiotic theories
These are theories that deal with the relationships among the sign, the referent, and the human mind—looking at how signs and symbols are used and what they mean. These theories look at language and how it has developed in its usage over a period of time. Semiotics is also concerned with how language has been affected by the technology we use and the impact that media has had upon the way we communicate. See here for more: https://signsalad.com/our-thoughts/what-is-semiotics/
2. Sociocultural theories
These are theories looking at how the media responds to social and cultural developments and in turn influences those very developments. This is where McLuhan lives (remember the ‘medium is the message’?) As well as Agenda-Setting Theory, Gate Keeping Theory, and Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent. A lot of this class has been focused in this theoretical area. See more here: https://www.communicationtheory.org/sociocultural-theory/
3. Sociopsychological theories
These are theories that investigate how individuals react to media messages, especially the psychological effects that the media has. A classic example of this are the many Media Effects theories that look at how we change psychologically because of what we are exposed too and what media content we consume. The connection between violence on television and children’s violent behavior is an excellent example. Uses and Gratifications theory also fits in here, as well as cultivation theory. We have touched upon this a bit in this class. See more here: https://torajoypatrick.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/socio-psychological-tradition/
4. Cybernetic theories
Cybernetic theories look at communication as a system, with different types of people in the population each playing a part in the system. One great illustrative theory is Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence theory. In short, the spiral of silence occurs when individuals who perceive that their opinion is popular freely express it, whereas those who do not think their opinion is popular remain quiet. This process occurs in a spiral so that one side of an issue ends up with much publicity and the other side very little. By not speaking, people enable those who do speak to have much more control over what message is clearly heard. Obviously, politics and group discussion and communication is concerned with such theories! See more here: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Systems_Theory/Cybernetics
5. Critical theories
Critical theories are concerned with ideology. Clearly, the media are a major player in the dissemination of ideology. Most critical communication theories are concerned with mass media primarily because of the media’s potential for expressing alternative and oppositional ones. For some critical theorists, the media are part of a culture industry that literally creates symbols and images that can oppress marginalized groups. Such theories include Marxism, Hegemonic Theory, and Political-Economic Media Theory to name just a few. See more here: https://vimeo.com/187128375
That’s it. As a society, we have come a long way since the origins of humanity who were pre-literate and pre-technology. We have achieved a lot in terms of the development of communication, but not without some cost and some uncertainty about where we are heading.
So, your posting/discussion question: with all of those types of theory available to you, which type of theory interests you the most out of the five areas here? Why? You are welcome to do some further research if you wish on these types of theories.
(400) words minimum, please. , Thank you
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