Remodelling Communication

Remodelling Communication: From WWII to the WWW

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 172
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  • Book Info
    Remodelling Communication
    Book Description:

    Providing a dynamic, forward-looking reorientation towards a new universe of reference,Remodelling Communicationmakes a significant, productive contribution to communication theory.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9971-7
    Subjects: Sociology, Philosophy, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-28)

    Models perfuse communication studies. The most famous models bear an overt theoretical affiliation; for example, the mathematical/engineering/transmission model is based in information theory. Most models are categorized into currents of emphasis and innovation, such as those that develop our understanding of audiences of receivers. While there are dozens of mass communication models bearing upon communication processes involved in television, newspapers, radio, and similar mass media, they are not widely known, and the history of their development remains largely a concern for a small number of specialists. Only a few important and influential models are recognized by the names of their...

  6. 1 Regaining Weaver and Shannon
    (pp. 29-47)

    The account I will present in these pages runs against the received wisdom of communication theory today. There are two parts of this so-called wisdom: first, the mathematical model of communication developed by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver¹ in the Bell Labs should be transcended because it is misleading; second, it can be simply ignored. If these seem like exaggerations, think again. The first claim is a standard of Marxian scholarship on communication that stretches forward from the pioneering work of Dallas Smythe and is rehearsed again and again in the literature: the ‘transportation’ or ‘transmission’ model, as Shannon and...

  7. 2 Encoding and Decoding Stuart Hall
    (pp. 48-62)

    One of the less attractive features of the cultural studies that we have today is the publishing bonanza in which classic statements, such as the one by Stuart Hall on ‘encoding/decoding’ (shortened as if to build in familiarity and erase history by eliding the ‘in the media [sometimes “television”] discourse’ that originally followed the two code words in 1973) with which I will be concerned in this chapter, reappear in ‘Reader’ formats in slightly but significantly altered versions, deviating from the originalCentre for Contemporary Cultural Studies(CCCS)Stencilled Paper #7 that informed theCulture, Media, Languageversion of 1980...

  8. 3 Roman Jakobson and the Primacy of the Poetic
    (pp. 63-72)

    The influential Russian linguist Roman Jakobson is perhaps best known in semiotic and structuralist circles for three innovations:

    1 A sense of dynamic or open synchrony, greater than a slice of time and closer to a span with its own interwoven micro-histories;

    2 An emphasis on simultaneity and equivalence over linearity; and

    3 The placement of poetics at the heart of his theory of language and communication, elevating aesthetics over semantics and using poetics to criticize the principle of the arbitrariness of linguistic signs through an effort to regain onomatopoeia as a rule rather than an exception, which was hitherto...

  9. 4 All Models Are Simulations: Jean Baudrillard’s Critique of Communication
    (pp. 73-87)

    This chapter will focus on Jean Baudrillard’s critical remarks on modelling communication in his essay ‘Requiem for the Media.’ The ‘requiem’ of the title refers to Baudrillard’s global critique of the possibility of a media theory – ‘there is no theory of the media’ – which has remained stuck, as he states, between two failures: empirical or mystical, Marx or McLuhan.¹ My point of entry will be through Baudrillard’s criticisms of both Marx and McLuhan as the context he creates for his criticism of Jakobson’s model of communication as both ‘model’ (hence simulation) and exemplar of the manufacture of communication that Baudrillard...

  10. 5 Phatic (Dys)functions
    (pp. 88-97)

    This chapter focuses on the issue of the (dys)functionality of phatic communication, the terms of which will be familiar from chapters 3 and 4. Beyond the formalism of the Jakobsonian functions, the concept totters perilously on the edge of dysfunctionality, pushed forward by its critique. Strangely, phatic communication realizes itself in a dysfunctionality best appreciated in its application to a further dimension of contact – that is, tactility – and its fortunes in media studies of television, with particular attention to screens themselves. Again, the consequences of contact with the tactile medium of television, while full of potential for valorizing in various...

  11. 6 Umberto Eco and Guerrilla Decoding
    (pp. 98-110)

    The writings of Italian philosopher Umberto Eco crisscross studies of the Middle Ages, a wide range of issues bearing upon interpretation in its most general senses, as well as cultural criticism and best-selling novels. Early in his career in the 1950s and 1960s, Eco wrote extensively on medieval aesthetics and avant-garde artistic practices. He also wrote cultural criticism in parodic mode for journals of the Italian avant-garde and regularly contributed articles on contemporary events to mainstream publications. My focus in this chapter is, however, on an idea that has been constant in Eco’s work – the limits of decoding and how...

  12. 7 From General Modelling to Metamodelling
    (pp. 111-125)

    By the mid-1950s, communication thinkers had become disenchanted with the ‘jungle of unrelated concepts’ and ‘mass of undigested, often sterile empirical data’ of research findings.¹ Attempts to extract order from chaos took a number of preliminary forms that, without eschewing utility, took the promise and problem of modelling very seriously. The steps toward the development of a single, general model were hesitant, but those such as Bruce Westley and Malcolm MacLean were compelled to take them, while standing on the shoulders of existing modellers; they attempted to modify and adapt Theodore Newman’s triangular interpersonal ABX model by, to put it...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 126-134)

    In this book I have blended perspectives from the investigations of philosophers of science into modelling and the descriptions of modelling by semioticians in order to revisit and reassess communication modelling. This blending was necessitated by the mutual blind spots that philosophers and semioticians experience in relation to each other’s work. My approach to communication has been through detours of well-known models – and extrapolations from them – at the crossroads of communication and cultural theory. The application of the philosophical and semiotic findings to communication modelling pushed modelling beyond representation, critically and creatively redeploying the concepts and problems derived from the...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 135-156)
  15. Index
    (pp. 157-161)