Communication Theories in Action: An Introduction / Edition 2

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Still in Shrinkwrap Multiple copies available this title. Quantity Available: 2. Category: Communications & Media; ISBN: 0534516270. ISBN/EAN: 9780534516277. Inventory No: ... ABE327529332. 2nd Edition. Read more Show Less

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Have you ever wondered whether the amount of violence in video games and films influences how people actually behave? Have you ever found yourself trapped in a destructive pattern of interaction and wished you knew how to break out of it? The theories in this book will help you understand how communication affects everyday experiences like these--and show you how to be more effective in your relationships and activities.

Julia T. Wood's Communication Theories in Action: An Introduction brings theories alive so that you see how and why they matter in everyday life. This book focuses on 23 carefully selected theories that sample the breadth of communication research--highlighting their connections so you can appreciate their similarities and differences. Wood helps you use these theories to understand your own communication, employing many examples that are relevant to your life, practical exercises, questions for reflection, and an inviting, motivational writing style that involves you in the process of theorizing.

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Editorial Reviews

An introductory communications text emphasizing 20 selected theories and de-emphasizing empty and unexplained jargon. Wood (communication studies, U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) dedicates each theory to practical application by providing students with relevant examples (often from her own experience), short student exercises using the theory, and critical evaluations that encourage critical attitudes. Besides covering such topics as interactional and dialectical theory, the volume examines new emerging feminist and cultural study approaches, making the text thorough and timely. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780534516277
  • Publisher: Wadsworth
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Series: Speech and Theater
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 7.48 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Julia T. Wood is the Lineberger Distinguished Professor of Humanities and a professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since completing her Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University) at age 24, she has conducted research and written extensively about communication in personal relationships and about gender, communication, and culture. In addition to publishing more than 90 articles and chapters, she has authored or co-authored 15 books and edited or co-edited nine others. The recipient of eleven awards for outstanding teaching and ten awards for distinguished scholarship, Professor Wood divides her professional energies between research, writing, and teaching.
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Table of Contents

Preface xvi
Part 1 Thinking About Communication and Theory
Opening 1
Values of Studying Communication Theories 2
Knowledge of the Field 2
Practical Value 2
The Focus of Communication Theories in Action 4
Selective Focus on Theories 4
Attention to the Process of Theorizing 4
Tensions Among Theories 4
Chapter 1 Communication as a Field of Study 7
A Definition of Communication 9
Values of Communication 11
Personal Impact 11
Relationship Impact 12
Professional Impact 13
Cultural Impact 14
Breadth of the Communication Field 15
Intrapersonal Communication 15
Interpersonal Communication 17
Group and Team Communication 17
Public Communication 18
Performance 19
Media and New Technologies for Communication 19
Organizational Communication 21
Intercultural Communication 23
The Heart of Communication Research 24
Symbolic Activities 25
Meaning 27
Careers in Communication 28
Research 28
Public Relations and Advertising 28
Education 29
Consulting 30
Human Relations and Management 30
Summary 31
Key Concepts 31
Chapter 2 Understanding Communication Theories 32
The Goals of Theory 33
Description: What Is It? 34
Explanation 36
Understanding, Prediction, and Control 37
Reform 39
Standards for Evaluating Theories 41
Scope: How Much Does the Theory Describe and Explain? 41
Testability: Is It Testable? 44
Parsimony: Is It Appropriately Simple? 45
Utility: Is It Useful? 46
Heurism: Does It Generate New Thought or Insights? 46
Balancing Criteria for Evaluating Theories 47
A Perspective for Studying Theories 48
Theories Reflect Points of View 48
Different Theories Are Not Necessarily Incompatible 49
Theories Have Limited Focus and Scope 51
Summary 51
Key Concepts 53
Chapter 3 Building and Testing Theory 54
Building Blocks of Theory 54
Views of Human Nature 65
Ways of Knowing 60
Purposes of Theory 63
Focus of Theorizing 65
Testing Theories 68
Hypotheses and Research Questions 68
Quantitative Research 70
Qualitative Analysis 73
Critical Scholarship 76
Assessing Research 77
Summary 79
Key Concepts 79
Part 2 Communication Theories
Chapter 4 An Early Communication Theory 81
General Semantics 81
The Special Character of Symbols 82
Symbols Are Arbitrary 82
Symbols Are Abstract 83
Symbols Are Ambiguous 84
Meanings Are Contextual 84
Remedies for Misunderstanding 88
Etc. 89
Indexing 89
Feedforward 90
Critical Assessment of General Semantics 92
Too Simplistic 92
Misrepresents the Character of Symbols and Language 92
Lacks Applied Value 93
Summary 94
Key Concept 95
Chapter 5 Theories About Symbolic Activity 96
Symbolic Interactionism 96
Mind 97
Self 98
I and ME 98
Role Taking 99
Critical Assessment of Symbolic Interactionism 102
Dramatism 103
Identification 105
Guilt 106
The Dramatistic Pentad (Hexad) 108
Critical Appraisal of Dramatism 109
Narrative Theory 111
The Narrative Paradigm 112
Good Reasons 113
Narrative Rationality 114
Critical Assessment of Narrative Theory 118
Summary 120
Key Concepts 121
Chapter 6 Theories About Performance 122
Dramaturgical Theory (Performance in Everyday Life) 123
Dramaturgical Model 124
Impression Management 126
Front Stage/Back Stage 127
Critical Assessment of Dramaturgical Theory 128
Performance Ethnography 130
Ethnography 130
Direct, Bodily Experience 131
The Hermeneutic Circle 132
Personal Narrative 133
Responsibility 135
Critical Assessment of Performance Ethnography 137
Performance as Political Action 139
Performativity 139
Cultural, Political Critique 141
Critical Assessment of Political Performance Theory 143
Summary 144
Key Concepts 145
Chapter 7 Theories About How Individuals Construct Meaning 146
Rules Theory or the Coordinated Management of Meaning 147
Hierarchy of Meanings 147
Rules 151
Logical Force 154
Critical Assessment of CMM Theory 157
Constructivism 158
Cognitive Schemata 158
Cognitive Complexity 161
Person-Centeredness 163
Critical Assessment of Constructivist Theory 164
Summary 166
Key Concepts 166
Chapter 8 Theories of Communication Dynamics 167
Interactional Theory 167
Communication Systems 168
Levels of Meaning 173
Punctuation 174
Communication and Power 175
Critical Assessment of Interactioanl Theory 177
Dialectical Theory 179
Root Terms 179
Relational Dialectics 182
Responses to Dialectics 185
Critical Assessment of Dialectical Theory 187
Summary 189
Key Concepts 190
Chapter 9 Theories About Communication and Relational Evolution 191
Uncertainty Reduction Theory 192
Laws of Behavior 192
Theoretical Axioms 193
Beyond Personal Relationships 194
Critical Assessment of Uncertainty Reduction Theory 196
Social Exchange Theory 198
Evaluation of Relationships 199
Standards of Comparison 200
Equity and Inequity 202
Critical Assessment of Social Exchange Theory 204
Developmental Theories 207
Viewing Relationships Developmentally 207
First-Generation Developmental Theories 208
Second-Generation Developmental Theories 210
Relationship Trajectories 210
Critical Assessment of Developmental Theories 214
Summary 215
Key Concepts 216
Chapter 10 Theories About Communication Cultures 217
Communication and Culture 218
Standpoint Theory 219
Locations in Cultural Life 220
Situated Knowledges 221
Accuracy of Different Standpoints 222
Standpoint's Relation to Communication 223
Critical Assessment of Standpoint Theory 225
Speech Communities 227
Speech Community Theory 227
Rules of Communication 228
Misunderstandings 230
Critical Assessment of Speech Community Theory 232
Organizational Culture 233
Organizations as Cultures 233
Communication and Organizational Culture 234
Thick Description 239
Critical Assessment of Organizational Culture Theory 240
Summary 241
Key Concepts 242
Chapter 11 Theories of Mass Communication 243
Technological Determinism 244
Media History of Human Civilization 245
The Medium Is the Message/Massage 247
Hot and Cool Media 249
Critical Assessment of Technological Determinism 249
Cultivation Theory 251
Cultivation 252
The Power of Synthetic Reality 254
Assumptions of Cultivation Theory 256
Critical Assessment of Cultivation Theory 259
Summary 264
Key Concepts 266
Chapter 12 Critical Communication Theories 267
Feminist Theories 268
Gender 269
Patriarchy 269
Patriarchal Universe of Discourse 270
Multiple Ways of Knowing 271
Critical Assessment of Feminist Theories 273
Muted Group Theory 275
Masculine Bias 275
Muted Language/Muted Experience 276
The Power to Name 277
Resistance to Dominant Discourses 278
Critical Assessment of Muted Group Theory 280
Cultural Studies Theories 281
Culture 283
Ideological Domination 284
The "Theatre of Struggle" 286
Overdetermination 287
Response to Dominant Ideologies 288
Critical Assessment of Cultural Studies Theories 289
Summary 291
Key Concepts 293
Chapter 13 Communication Theories in Action: A Final Look 294
An Integrating Perspective on Communication Theories 294
The Process of Theorizing 295
Communication Theories in Review 299
The Value of Theoretical Plurality 302
Putting Theories into Practice 303
Theories Cultivate Understanding 303
Multiple Theories Promote Social Progress 306
Communication Theories in Social Contexts 307
The Frontiers of Communication Theory 308
The Critical Edge in Theorizing 308
Postmodern Puzzlings 309
Postmodern-Poststructural Communication Theories 311
Summary 315
Key Concepts 316
Glossary 317
References 331
Name Index 355
Subject Index 359
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