Communication Theory

Topics: Marshall McLuhan, Communication theory, Communication Pages: 7 (2380 words) Published: March 30, 2007
The purpose of this paper is to examine two theoretical approaches from communication theory. Two theories I have selected to inform the reader are Technological Determinism and Genderlect Styles Theories. To my knowledge the reader has no idea of how these two communication theories operate. I will use the knowledge from class lectures and materials such as scholarly articles and online research to inform the reader of how these two theories can be effective in their communication skills. To gain a better understanding of technological determinism and genderlect styles theories it is appropriate to include examples from my research topic of Women and Information Technology However, Women and Information Technology. I will include a description of what makes a good objective/interpretive theory and the seven communication theory traditions, as well (this material will be included at end of the paper). The aim of this paper is to provide the reader with a better understanding in the area of communication theory.

I will begin by offering the reader a brief description of what theory is. Theory: a working definition-an approach to a given phenomenon or set of phenomena that aims to: describe, explain, predict, or prescribe (Kelshaw, 2004, notes from class). Most people do not stop and think about how we communicate with each other (groups included too) and its meaning, as well. The average person views communication theories as useless, dull, boring, and insignificant in their everyday lives. Communication theory is pragmatic and is hard to describe by many scholars. However, according to the textbook, A First Look at Communication Theory, Em Griffin, (2003) "we cannot avoid using theories in our lives and theories do make our lives better (Griffin, 2003, p. 2)." Another example that describes communication theory comes from the textbook, Communication Theories: Origins · Methods · Uses, Werner J. Severin and James W. Tankard (1979). "Communication theories realistically puts into perspective the pragmatic uses to which communication theory and research can be put and the methods by which it can be applied" (Severin and Tankard, 1979). The aim of communication theory is to improve the quality of communication between humanity.

In our efforts to improve the quality of communication in society we can first take a look at the theory of technological determinism. What is the meaning of technological determinism and how does this theory improve the quality of communication between humanity? The theory of technological determinism was presented by Marshall McLuhan, director of the Center for Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto. "Marshall McLuhan, is considered by many to be the first father and leading prophet of the electronic age. A Canadian born in 1911, McLuhan became a Christian through the influence of G.K. Chesterton in 1937. He wrote his monumental work, one of twelve books and hundreds of articles, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, in 1964. The subject that would occupy most of McLuhan's career was the task of understanding the effects of technology as it related to popular culture, and how this in turn affected human beings and their relations with one another in communities" (Kappelman, 2001).

Marshall McLuhan, divided human communication inventions into four periods, a tribal age, a literate age, a print age, and an electronic age. McLuhan, recognized that we were entering the electronic age and electronic media alters the way people feel, act, and think. "According to McLuhan, the crucial inventions that changed life on this planet were the phonetic alphabet, the printing press, and the telegraph" (Griffin, 2003, p. 343). It is significant to realize in Marshall McLuhan's theory of technological determinism, inventions in technology cause cultural change. "McLuhan concluded that it is specifically changes in modes of communication that shape human existence" (Griffin, 2003, p. 343)....

References: Bilton, J. (1996). Technological Determinism. The UK Technology Education Centre. Retrieved December 9, 2004, from
Griffin, E.A. (2003). A First look at communication theory (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Holmes, J., & Meyerhoff, M. (Eds.). (2003). The handbook of language and gender. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Kappelman, Todd. (2001). Marshall McLuhan: "The medium is the message". Probe Ministries. Retrieved December 6, 2004, from
Severin, W., J. & Tankard, J., W. (1979). Communication theories: Origins, methods, uses. New York, NY: Hastings House, Publishers.
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