Analyzing Media: Communication Technologies as Symbolic and Cognitive Systems

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Guilford Press, Oct 1, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 228 pages
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For the past 25 years, critics of communication have focused on the content and form of verbal and nonverbal communication, while for the most part neglecting what traditionally has been considered a technical rather than a critical issue - the impact of how messages are produced or formatted in the various media. Topics such as the sexual and violent content of television and films, the meaning of pornography, and the persuasive efforts of advertisers largely have been examined with the use of social science methodologies that ignore the behavioral and message-generating implications of specific media systems themselves. Filling a significant void in the literature, this volume eschews the notion of communication technologies as neutral conduits, and instead depicts them as active and creative determinants of meaning. In doing so, it offers an illuminating examination of the dynamic relationships among communication, cognition, and social organization. Providing a framework for the chapters that follow, the first section of the book presents a history of human communication from a technological perspective, explores the integral role of communication technologies in everyday life, and isolates the ways in which criticism can function as an assessment system. Three specific technological cultures that define human communication are identified: the oral, the literate, and the electronic. The authors identify structural features and discuss the social implications of each. They also provide descriptions, interpretations, and evaluations of these technological cultures, and show how criticism changes when the media of transmission is taken into account. The book concludes with a cogentdiscussion of a range of topics surrounding media criticism, such as its pedagogical implications, how multiple selves can exist in a world of varied communication technologies, the integration of communication technologies, and how media studies should be incorporated into the disc
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
A History of Human Communication
3
A World of Communication Technologies and the Human Response
30
The Critical Moment and the Critics Method
47
The Critical Process
49
Media Cultures
81
The Oral Culture
83
The Literate Culture
108
The Electronic Culture
134
A Future Perspective
161
Analyzing Media Comparatively Comparative Media Criticism and the Future of Media Criticism
163
Glossary
177
References
189
Index
218
About the Authors
227
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About the author (1998)

James W. Chesebro, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Communication at Indiana State University, Terre Haute. A past President of the Speech Communication Association, he also has served as Director of Educational Services in the Association's National Office in Annandale, Virginia, as Chair of its Publications Board, and as a member of its Administrative Committee and Legislative Council. Widely published, he was the Editor of Communication Quarterly from 1985 through 1987, and his articles have appeared in such publications as the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Communication Monographs, Communication Education, Text and Performance Quarterly, and Critical Studies in Mass Communication. He has also received a number of awards, including the Speech Communication Association's "Golden Anniversary Award" for the outstanding monograph of the year, the "Everett Lee Hunt Scholarship Award," and the "Distinguished Service Award" from the Eastern Communication Association.

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