Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Cultural Approach to Communication Research Essay

James W Carey was a communications theorist and journalism instructor at the University of Illinois.  In his earlier years, Carey graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Marketing and Advertising.  He later gained his doctorate on economics of communications at the University of Illinois.  A couple years after, while teaching at the U of Illinois, Carey became the dean of the College of Communications.  In 1989, Carey wrote his first book, Communications as a Culture, which is where this article is derived from.  In his lifetime, Carey would write a total of 3 books, all on the means of communication.  Unfortunately, in 2006, Carey died at the age of 72.

One person Carey often referenced in this article was John Dewey, an American Philosopher.  Dewey initially had the ideas of the transmission and ritual views of communication, which Carey heavily elaborated on in this article.  An important aspect of communication was quoted by Dewey, and it states, “Consensus demands communication.”  Truer words could not be spoken.  No matter what we do in life, communication will always be a key factor; Communication is unavoidable.

The main topics Carey discussed were about the Transmission and Ritual views of communication, inspired by Dewey.  While the transmission view is more about a means of transporting messages from one point to another, the ritual view is about focusing on what is normal; participation being a key element.

A recurring topic throughout the article is these symbols of communication.  Carey mentions that “communication is a symbolic process.”  Today, we have things such as mobile phones, the internet, iPods, etc.  All of these devices are symbols of communication, whether we think it or not.

I think the reason why Carey wrote this article isn’t because he was educated on the topic, but wanted to help us understand the true meaning of communication.  Perhaps another reason why he wrote this article is because he “felt it was necessary to reopen the analysis (transmission view), reinvigorate it,” and explore other areas of expertise.  I would classify Carey as an academic mainly because he was an instructor of communication.  His knowledge and expertise probably had a major impact on why he wrote this article. 

Upon my research, I didn’t find many reviews, but one particularly caught my eye.  Anthony, a writer for Locky’s WordPress, talking about both the transmission and ritual views, comments, “For me, it is not that one of these models is right and the other is wrong, they are just different ways of looking at communication.”  I couldn’t agree more with this statement.  No matter which view, interaction is always present.
Having thoroughly dissected this article, I believe this is an article that we should definitely pay attention to and be confident in.  Yes, it is dated, and yes, everything may not apply today as it did years ago, but as Dewey states, “of all things communication is the most wonderful.”

James Carey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_W._Carey
Review:  http://anthonyjlockhart.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/a-cultural-approach-to-communication-james-carey/

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