MCOM227: 5th Blog Post – Communication as Culture

Chapter 1 – Cultural  Approach to Communication

By James Carey

    In this essay, James Carey discusses the two alternative concepts of communication that exist in american culture, including how they came to be and their effects. The two conceptions are: the transmission view of communication and a ritual view of communication. According to Carey both derive from religious origins and each alludes to a different part of religion or came to be because of a  different part of religion. The most important part of communicating with other people was to spread political or religious ideas. Communication is a common / mundane word and an unconscious action (alluding to Mcluhan’s “fish in Water”).


The Transmission view of Communication:


    This view is the most common between the two. It is defined by terms such as “impaffing” “sending” “transmitting” “giving information to others”;  hence, the transmission view of communication is a process where messages are transmitted and distributed / spread in space ( in an area)  for the control of distance and people. It also derives from the human desire to speed up the process of communication. Back then communication and transportation were linked (transportation was considered a form of communication) due to the fact that you had to literally / physically go somewhere, for example, to see someone and “communicate” with them.


    After science and technology began to emerge (and people started to lose interest in religion) communication was not linked to transportation or physical availability anymore (example; The invention of the Telegraph  in the C19th).


The Ritual View of Communication:


This view is older and might be referred to in an “archaic” manner. This view can be summarized by saying that its about the society / community / etc. coming together and engaging with one another (that’s how information is shared. Example: plays, concerts, dinners, galas, gathering etc. ). It is defined by terms such as “sharing,” “participation,” “association,” “fellowship,” “possession of common faith,” “communion,” and “community.” This view is not an extension of the messages in space but rather it’s used in a way to  maintenance society and represent shared beliefs. Communication with respect to the ritual view is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed.


Final Thoughts:


Ritual View: To not just provide information but to communicate (not linked and views language as a tool)


Transmission View: To provide information is to communicate(linked and emphasizes on language)


I know this was supposed to be a 250 word summary….. but….. yeah.





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