50 Ways to Understand Communication: A Guided Tour of Key Ideas and Theorists in Communication, Media, and Culture / Edition 1

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In 50 Ways to Understand Communication, Arthur Asa Berger familiarizes readers with important concepts written by communication and cultural theorists, such as Saussure, Levi-Strauss, de Certeau, Lasswell, McLuhan, Postman, and many others. Organized in fifty short segments, this concise guide covers a wide range of important ideas from psychoanalysis and semiology to humor, "otherness," and nonverbal communication. Berger's clear explanations and examples surround this assortment of influential writing, walking the uninitiated through these sometimes dense theoretical works. His selections and commentary will challenge readers to reconsider the role of communication in our culture. This book is essential for students of communication and anyone interested in how we communicate in a world of rapidly changing media.
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Editorial Reviews

A Michael Noll
Arthur Asa Berger's choice of 50 prominent thinkers about communication is an intellectual journey from Aristotle to McLuhan with stops along the way at such road posts as Freud, Jung, and many of today's eminent communication scholars. Berger has selected a key writing from each and includes his own analysis and perspective of their work. The book includes exercises for students and is a clear requisite for any introductory course on communication.
Marie Garland
I have been waiting for a book like this for eight to ten years! Finally, a text that is accessible to undergraduates who are new to the emerging discipline of culture and communication and yet honors the complexity of that discipline's roots, central questions, and broad reach.
Howard Rheingold
Communication theory is an ideal subject for Arthur Asa Berger, because—as any reader will soon discover—he is a genius at communicating complex ideas simply, directly, and with a unique sense of humor.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742541085
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/16/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : how you can use this book
1 Words and communication 1
2 Signs and semiotics 5
3 When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said ... 8
4 Antithetical meaning of words 11
5 Society precedes the individual 14
6 Language codes 17
7 The structuralist perspective 20
8 Culture and the unconscious 23
9 The importance of metaphor 25
10 A model of communication process 28
11 The Lasswell formula 31
12 Art and society : a model 34
13 Dialogic aspects of communication 37
14 Conversation as narrative 39
15 Men and women use language differently 42
16 Black speech 45
17 People of color and the media 47
18 Nonverbal communication 49
19 Facial expressions 52
20 Fashion as communication 54
21 Symbolism and religion 57
22 The meaning of symbols 60
23 The house as a symbol of femininity 62
24 Miss America's mythic significance 65
25 Images of women in advertising 68
26 The power of advertising in capitalist societies 71
27 Myths and society 73
28 Robinson Crusoe as myth 76
29 Fairy tales and the psyche 79
30 Hot and cool media 82
31 The impact of postmodernism 86
32 The postmodern eye 89
33 Mind and media 91
34 Cybertexts and video games 94
35 Digital media 97
36 Smart mobs 100
37 How crowds think 103
38 Television and art 106
39 Amusing ourselves to death 109
40 Narratives in the media 111
41 Television is a dramatic medium 114
42 The power of rock music 117
43 Artistic texts 120
44 Psychoanalysis and literature 123
45 Humor and communication 126
46 On comedy 129
47 What does art do? 133
48 Interpretation and art 136
49 The society of spectacle 138
50 Representation and difference 141
App Learning games and activities 145
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