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By James W. Carey

During this vintage textual content, James W. Carey continues that verbal exchange isn't really simply the transmission of knowledge; reminding the reader of the hyperlink among the phrases "communication" and "community," he broadens his definition to incorporate the drawing-together of a people who is tradition. during this context, Carey questions the yankee culture of focusing merely on mass communication's functionality as a way of social and political regulate, and makes a case for studying the content material of a communication—the that means of symbols, not just the causes that originate them or the needs they serve. He seeks to recast the target of communique reviews, changing the quest for deterministic legislation of habit with an easier, but way more not easy challenge: "to amplify the human dialog through comprehending what others are saying." This re-creation incorporates a new serious foreword through G. Stuart Adam that explains Carey's basic position in remodeling the learn of mass communique to incorporate a cultural viewpoint and connects his vintage essays with modern media concerns and developments. This variation additionally provides a brand new, entire bibliography of all of Carey's writings.

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Extra info for Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society, Revised Edition

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Perhaps, then, some of the difference between a transmission and a ritual view of communication can be grasped by briefly looking at alternative conceptions of the role of the newspaper in social life. If one examines a newspaper under a transmission view of communication, one sees the medium as an instrument for disseminating news and knowledge, sometimes divertissement, in larger and larger packages over greater distances. Questions arise as to the effects of this on audiences: news as enlightening or obscuring reality, as changing or hardening attitudes, as breeding credibility or doubt.

Communication was viewed as a process and a technology that would, sometimes for religious purposes, spread, transmit, and disseminate knowledge, ideas, and information farther and faster with the goal of controlling space and people. There were dissenters, of course, and I have already quoted Thoreau’s disenchanted remark on the telegraph. More pessimistically, John C. Calhoun saw the “subjugation of electricity to the mechanical necessities of man . . (as) the last era in human civilization” (quoted in Miller, 1965: 307).

We have not explored the ritual view of communication because the concept of culture is such a weak and evanescent notion in American social thought. We understand that other people have culture in the anthropological sense and we regularly record it—often mischievously and patronizingly. But when we turn critical attention to American culture the concept dissolves into a residual category useful only when psychological and sociological data are exhausted. We realize that the under-privileged live in a culture of poverty, use the notion of middle-class culture as an epithet, and occasionally applaud our high and generally scientific culture.

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