Communication Models Essay Example

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Communication is defined as a methodical process, where individuals interact with one another using symbols or words to develop and interpret meanings (Meng 2002, p. 3). Shannon and Weaver are the proponents of the transmission model
of communication. According to their theory, the power of controlling communication is held by the initiator of the message. Another theory is the cultural context, which proposes that the power of controlling interpretations of texts is held by the users of culture within their particular cultural contexts (Corner & Hawthorn 1980, p.5). Both schools of thoughts are powerful but they also portray their respective weaknesses.

In my opinion, the transmission model of communication is truer than the cultural context. The reason is that it is more effective in developing communication between the receiver and the sender. This model deals with several concepts such as the source of information, noise, the transmitter, channel, message, information destination, receiver, encoding, and decoding (Meng 2002, p. 3). The aim of this model is communication purposes. The transmission model is effective because its various steps can lead to more understanding between the sender and receiver. Usually, the process commences from the sender then proceeds to the encoder, which changes the information into signals (Cunningham & Turner 1993, p. 7). The message from the sender is converted into signals that are then decoded into a message and finally a message is received on the other side. According to Blumler (1974, p. 98), some concepts of the transmission model relate with those of the cultural context; both of their points of view are deterministic. Thus, the power of developing control in the meaning is dependent on the source of the message.

The transmission model is more sensible because in such a scenario, the origin of the message can easily create understanding by eliminating factors such as noise. In the cultural context, deriving meaning from texts can be impeded by more serious problems inherent in the culture of the communicators. The transmission model is accurate due to its simplicity as a theoretical aspect. Therefore, information can be easily understood, hence it is applicable in many contexts than the cultural orientation theory (Corner & Hawthorn 1980, p.16). Furthermore, this model of communication is linear. This suggests that individuals simply receive messages in a manner that it is sent, but they derive their interpretation of the message through bringing their personal comprehension to them. The model holds water because in most cases receivers of messages do not merely absorb information, rather information is analyzed in line with what is seen or heard in order to make sense out of it. For this model of communication, there exists no particular meaning for certain messages as opposed to the cultural context, which requires harmonization in the interpretation of texts in order to create meaning (Blumler 1974, p. 108). In such a case, what the sender may imply might be different from the comprehension by the receiver. This is because people create meaning in line with their individual understanding and personal experiences. Therefore, a similar message may imply dissimilar things to unlike people. Usually, there are many different ways of interpreting messages, after which the receivers decide upon the appropriate messages according to the prevailing situation (Cunningham & Turner 1993, p. 17).

The transmission model constitutes the theories of propaganda and social determinism. The propaganda theory is a communication form where the sender of the message seeks to influence the attitude of the receivers of the message towards a particular position or cause (Jowett 1987, p. 97). In this case, the sender creates impartial connotations in their messages in order to further an agenda by primarily influencing a given audience. This might as well entail the use of loaded messages in order to generate emotive rather than sensiblereaction to the message presented (Jowett 1987, p. 100).

The social determinism theory proposes that social constructs and interactions can determine the reception of messages (Shotter 1978, p. 32). In the communication, the socially determined activities of the sender can influence the flow of information or messages. According to Leach (1972, p. 480), by developing an ideology in society, the actions of individuals can be influenced by messages generated because of the stimuli that are predetermined and considered as morally correct (Mattelart & Matterlart 1998, p. 63). This form of communication favors individuals who can advance messages that will be widely accepted as the best and thus, the receivers of the messages will be greatly influenced (Chandler 2011, p. 480).

On the other side, the cultural context model of communication proposes that deriving meaning always happen within a given cultural context. Therefore, cultural literacy is critical to deriving meaning (Carey 1989, p. 8). This school of thought was initiated in response to the past set of concepts. The cultural context’s perspective of the universe observes that creating meaning has to occur within a given cultural context, as opposed to the transmission model that proposes that communication is dependent on the receiver’s interpretation (Hall 1997, p. 5). Critics posit that receivers of the message have to literate culturally in order to make meaning. In this model of communication, reception of messages usually occurs within a discursive framework (Real1996, p. 33). According to Sardar and Van Loon (1998, p. 67), the method differs from the transmission model because the generation of meaning usually arises from the interaction between the context, the text and the activity of reception (Storey 1994, p. 27). This theory is not as sensible as the transmission model because communication markers are usually read and examined in varied ways by different individuals (Storey 1996, p.111).

In the cultural context model, there are major distinctions between the discursive and the semiotic approaches. One significant distinction is that the semiotic approach that deals with the question of “how” in the representation of the way languageproduces meaning. This is commonly referred to as ‘poetics’ (Carry & Radway 1997, p. 37). On the other hand, the discursive approach deals with the consequences and effects of the representation of language (the ‘politics’ of language) (Straw 1993, p. 43). It analyses how representation and languageproduce meaning as well as how the understandingthat a given discourse regulates conduct, connectswith the power, constructs or makes up subjectivities and identities,and states the manner in which certain things are signified, mentioned, studied and practised. In this scenario, the comprehension of the way societies form ladders to encompass or omit certain categories of people is significantly relevant (McQuail 1997, p. 98).

The cultural context encompasses the gratification and reception analysis theories. According to Hilda Herzog, the gratification theory suggests that audiences of particular messages use them to gratify their own necessities and not those of the source. For instance, soap opera audiences use them for emotive release. The soap operas give the audiences an opportunity for fulfilling their fantasy through wishful thinking. They therefore, seek advice and information from them (Straw 1993, p. 63). Studies have portrayed the use of focus groups for audience studies in the readership of newspapers within a given cultural setting. The analyses showed that varied sets of reading dependedon whether an individual were from the local area and therefore, raised within the community, or if the individuals were from the cosmopolitan (McQuail 2010, p. 10). The gratification theory can be used in many different ways. This is because there are broader similar manners in which a given audience can use texts (Moores 1995, p. 22). These ways include, Diversion: Here audiences use texts to avoid their routines or challenges. The texts give emotional release. Personal relationships: texts are used for providing company as a way of parochial relations (Blumler 1974, p. 36). They are thus used for social utility such as the provision of things to talk about like shared experience and subjects for conversation. Personal Identity: texts are usedas self-orientationin comparing with one’s own actual life (Radway 1991, p. 69). The texts are used to explore reality and in assisting the audience to understand their own lives. Additionally, the texts are used as a reinforcement of different forms of value. This demonstrates the expectations that people have towards life for instance the operations within their families. Surveillance: the texts are used as a technique or form of seeking information (Meng 2002, p. 40).

Reception analysis is a theory of the cultural context model of communication. Gudykunst, et al. (1996, p. 510) summarizes the major traits of the approach of reception analysis as applied in cultural studies. The texts in the approach have to be ‘read’ via the audience’s perceptions, who thereafter derive pleasures and meanings from the provided texts. These texts are never predictable or fixed (Gudykunst et al. 1996, p. 533). The audiences for genres comprise of the interpretive communities that share much a similar forms of discourse, experiences and structures for making sense from texts.

In conclusion, these schools of thoughts are true, but they also have their own weaknesses. I believe that the transmission model holds more water than the cultural context model. This is because it is operational in developing communication between the receiver and the sender and is dependent on the understanding of the receiver. The cultural context model of communication proposes that deriving meaning always happens within a given cultural context.

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