Is consciousness like an iceberg? Does advertising lead to the commodification of humans? What is the hidden meaning of fairy tales? In 50 Ways to Understand Communication, Arthur Asa Berger familiarizes readers with important concepts written by leading communication and cultural theorists, such as Saussure, Lévi-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 engaging, accessible book is essential for students of communication and anyone interested in how we communicate in a world of rapidly changing media.
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.
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.
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.
Chapter 1 Introduction: How You Can Use This Book Chapter 2 1 Words and Communication Chapter 3 2 Signs and Semiotics Chapter 4 3 When I Use a Word, Humpty Dumpty Said... Chapter 5 4 Antithetical Meaning of Words Chapter 6 5 Society Precedes the Individual Chapter 7 6 Language Codes Chapter 8 7 The Structuralist Perspective Chapter 9 8 Culture and the Unconscious Chapter 10 9 The Importance of Metaphor Chapter 11 10 A Model of Communication Process Chapter 12 11 The Lasswell Formula Chapter 13 12 Art and Society: A Model Chapter 14 13 Dialogic Aspects of Communication Chapter 15 14 Conversation as Narrative Chapter 16 15 Men and Women Use Language Differently Chapter 17 16 Black Speech Chapter 18 17 People of Color and the Media Chapter 19 18 Nonverbal Communication Chapter 20 19 Facial Expressions Chapter 21 20 Fashion as Communication Chapter 22 21 Symbolism and Religion Chapter 23 22 The Meaning of Symbols Chapter 24 23 The House as a Symbol of Femininity Chapter 25 24 Miss America's Mythic Significance Chapter 26 25 Images of Women in Advertising Chapter 27 26 The Power of Advertising in Capitalist Societies Chapter 28 27 Myths and Society Chapter 29 28 Robinson Crusoe as Myth Chapter 30 29 Fairy Tales and the Psyche Chapter 31 30 Hot and Cool Media Chapter 32 31 The Impact of Postmodernism Chapter 33 32 The Postmodern Eye Chapter 34 33 Mind and Media Chapter 35 34 Cybertexts and Video Games Chapter 36 35 Digital Media Chapter 37 36 Smart Mobs Chapter 38 37 How Crowds Think Chapter 39 38 Television and Art Chapter 40 39 Amusing Ourselves to Death Chapter 41 40 Narratives in the Media Chapter 42 41 Television Is a Dramatic Medium Chapter 43 42 The Power of Rock Music Chapter 44 43 Artistic Texts Chapter 45 44 Psychoanalysis and Literature Chapter 46 45 Humor and Communication Chapter 47 46 On Comedy Chapter 48 47 What Does Art Do? Chapter 49 48 Interpretation and Art Chapter 50 49 The Society of Spectacle Chapter 51 50 Representation and Difference Chapter 52 Appendix: Learning Games and Activities Chapter 53 Glossary Chapter 54 Selected Bibliography Chapter 55 Biographies of Key Text Authors