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Communication Theories in Action An Introduction (with InfoTrac)



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Cengage Learning
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This text introduces students to a select set of leading theories in the communication field and demonstrates how these theories apply to their lives. Chapters group theories coherently so that students can compare and contrast different approaches to particular interests in the field (for example: relationships, performance, language and mass communication).

Author Biography

Julia T. Wood is Professor of Communication at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xvi
Thinking About Communication and Theory
Openingp. 1
Values of Studying Communication Theoriesp. 2
Knowledge of the Fieldp. 2
Practical Valuep. 2
The Focus of Communication Theories in Actionp. 4
Selective Focus on Theoriesp. 4
Attention to the Process of Theorizingp. 4
Tensions Among Theoriesp. 4
Communication as a Field of Studyp. 7
A Definition of Communicationp. 9
Values of Communicationp. 11
Personal Impactp. 11
Relationship Impactp. 12
Professional Impactp. 13
Cultural Impactp. 14
Breadth of the Communication Fieldp. 15
Intrapersonal Communicationp. 15
Interpersonal Communicationp. 17
Group and Team Communicationp. 17
Public Communicationp. 18
Performancep. 19
Media and New Technologies for Communicationp. 19
Organizational Communicationp. 21
Intercultural Communicationp. 23
The Heart of Communication Researchp. 24
Symbolic Activitiesp. 25
Meaningp. 27
Careers in Communicationp. 28
Researchp. 28
Public Relations and Advertisingp. 28
Educationp. 29
Consultingp. 30
Human Relations and Managementp. 30
Summaryp. 31
Key Conceptsp. 31
Understanding Communication Theoriesp. 32
The Goals of Theoryp. 33
Description: What Is It?p. 34
Explanationp. 36
Understanding, Prediction, and Controlp. 37
Reformp. 39
Standards for Evaluating Theoriesp. 41
Scope: How Much Does the Theory Describe and Explain?p. 41
Testability: Is It Testable?p. 44
Parsimony: Is It Appropriately Simple?p. 45
Utility: Is It Useful?p. 46
Heurism: Does It Generate New Thought or Insights?p. 46
Balancing Criteria for Evaluating Theoriesp. 47
A Perspective for Studying Theoriesp. 48
Theories Reflect Points of Viewp. 48
Different Theories Are Not Necessarily Incompatiblep. 49
Theories Have Limited Focus and Scopep. 51
Summaryp. 51
Key Conceptsp. 53
Building and Testing Theoryp. 54
Building Blocks of Theoryp. 54
Views of Human Naturep. 65
Ways of Knowingp. 60
Purposes of Theoryp. 63
Focus of Theorizingp. 65
Testing Theoriesp. 68
Hypotheses and Research Questionsp. 68
Quantitative Researchp. 70
Qualitative Analysisp. 73
Critical Scholarshipp. 76
Assessing Researchp. 77
Summaryp. 79
Key Conceptsp. 79
Communication Theories
An Early Communication Theoryp. 81
General Semanticsp. 81
The Special Character of Symbolsp. 82
Symbols Are Arbitraryp. 82
Symbols Are Abstractp. 83
Symbols Are Ambiguousp. 84
Meanings Are Contextualp. 84
Remedies for Misunderstandingp. 88
Etc.p. 89
Indexingp. 89
Feedforwardp. 90
Critical Assessment of General Semanticsp. 92
Too Simplisticp. 92
Misrepresents the Character of Symbols and Languagep. 92
Lacks Applied Valuep. 93
Summaryp. 94
Key Conceptp. 95
Theories About Symbolic Activityp. 96
Symbolic Interactionismp. 96
Mindp. 97
Selfp. 98
I and MEp. 98
Role Takingp. 99
Critical Assessment of Symbolic Interactionismp. 102
Dramatismp. 103
Identificationp. 105
Guiltp. 106
The Dramatistic Pentad (Hexad)p. 108
Critical Appraisal of Dramatismp. 109
Narrative Theoryp. 111
The Narrative Paradigmp. 112
Good Reasonsp. 113
Narrative Rationalityp. 114
Critical Assessment of Narrative Theoryp. 118
Summaryp. 120
Key Conceptsp. 121
Theories About Performancep. 122
Dramaturgical Theory (Performance in Everyday Life)p. 123
Dramaturgical Modelp. 124
Impression Managementp. 126
Front Stage/Back Stagep. 127
Critical Assessment of Dramaturgical Theoryp. 128
Performance Ethnographyp. 130
Ethnographyp. 130
Direct, Bodily Experiencep. 131
The Hermeneutic Circlep. 132
Personal Narrativep. 133
Responsibilityp. 135
Critical Assessment of Performance Ethnographyp. 137
Performance as Political Actionp. 139
Performativityp. 139
Cultural, Political Critiquep. 141
Critical Assessment of Political Performance Theoryp. 143
Summaryp. 144
Key Conceptsp. 145
Theories About How Individuals Construct Meaningp. 146
Rules Theory or the Coordinated Management of Meaningp. 147
Hierarchy of Meaningsp. 147
Rulesp. 151
Logical Forcep. 154
Critical Assessment of CMM Theoryp. 157
Constructivismp. 158
Cognitive Schematap. 158
Cognitive Complexityp. 161
Person-Centerednessp. 163
Critical Assessment of Constructivist Theoryp. 164
Summaryp. 166
Key Conceptsp. 166
Theories of Communication Dynamicsp. 167
Interactional Theoryp. 167
Communication Systemsp. 168
Levels of Meaningp. 173
Punctuationp. 174
Communication and Powerp. 175
Critical Assessment of Interactioanl Theoryp. 177
Dialectical Theoryp. 179
Root Termsp. 179
Relational Dialecticsp. 182
Responses to Dialecticsp. 185
Critical Assessment of Dialectical Theoryp. 187
Summaryp. 189
Key Conceptsp. 190
Theories About Communication and Relational Evolutionp. 191
Uncertainty Reduction Theoryp. 192
Laws of Behaviorp. 192
Theoretical Axiomsp. 193
Beyond Personal Relationshipsp. 194
Critical Assessment of Uncertainty Reduction Theoryp. 196
Social Exchange Theoryp. 198
Evaluation of Relationshipsp. 199
Standards of Comparisonp. 200
Equity and Inequityp. 202
Critical Assessment of Social Exchange Theoryp. 204
Developmental Theoriesp. 207
Viewing Relationships Developmentallyp. 207
First-Generation Developmental Theoriesp. 208
Second-Generation Developmental Theoriesp. 210
Relationship Trajectoriesp. 210
Critical Assessment of Developmental Theoriesp. 214
Summaryp. 215
Key Conceptsp. 216
Theories About Communication Culturesp. 217
Communication and Culturep. 218
Standpoint Theoryp. 219
Locations in Cultural Lifep. 220
Situated Knowledgesp. 221
Accuracy of Different Standpointsp. 222
Standpoint's Relation to Communicationp. 223
Critical Assessment of Standpoint Theoryp. 225
Speech Communitiesp. 227
Speech Community Theoryp. 227
Rules of Communicationp. 228
Misunderstandingsp. 230
Critical Assessment of Speech Community Theoryp. 232
Organizational Culturep. 233
Organizations as Culturesp. 233
Communication and Organizational Culturep. 234
Thick Descriptionp. 239
Critical Assessment of Organizational Culture Theoryp. 240
Summaryp. 241
Key Conceptsp. 242
Theories of Mass Communicationp. 243
Technological Determinismp. 244
Media History of Human Civilizationp. 245
The Medium Is the Message/Massagep. 247
Hot and Cool Mediap. 249
Critical Assessment of Technological Determinismp. 249
Cultivation Theoryp. 251
Cultivationp. 252
The Power of Synthetic Realityp. 254
Assumptions of Cultivation Theoryp. 256
Critical Assessment of Cultivation Theoryp. 259
Summaryp. 264
Key Conceptsp. 266
Critical Communication Theoriesp. 267
Feminist Theoriesp. 268
Genderp. 269
Patriarchyp. 269
Patriarchal Universe of Discoursep. 270
Multiple Ways of Knowingp. 271
Critical Assessment of Feminist Theoriesp. 273
Muted Group Theoryp. 275
Masculine Biasp. 275
Muted Language/Muted Experiencep. 276
The Power to Namep. 277
Resistance to Dominant Discoursesp. 278
Critical Assessment of Muted Group Theoryp. 280
Cultural Studies Theoriesp. 281
Culturep. 283
Ideological Dominationp. 284
The "Theatre of Struggle"p. 286
Overdeterminationp. 287
Response to Dominant Ideologiesp. 288
Critical Assessment of Cultural Studies Theoriesp. 289
Summaryp. 291
Key Conceptsp. 293
Communication Theories in Action: A Final Lookp. 294
An Integrating Perspective on Communication Theoriesp. 294
The Process of Theorizingp. 295
Communication Theories in Reviewp. 299
The Value of Theoretical Pluralityp. 302
Putting Theories into Practicep. 303
Theories Cultivate Understandingp. 303
Multiple Theories Promote Social Progressp. 306
Communication Theories in Social Contextsp. 307
The Frontiers of Communication Theoryp. 308
The Critical Edge in Theorizingp. 308
Postmodern Puzzlingsp. 309
Postmodern-Poststructural Communication Theoriesp. 311
Summaryp. 315
Key Conceptsp. 316
Glossaryp. 317
Referencesp. 331
Name Indexp. 355
Subject Indexp. 359
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