Communication Theory

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1468-2885
Publications
Article
PIP Dedicated to helping the poorest of the poor obtain the financial means to become productively self-employed, the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh is founded upon the belief that credit is a fundamental human right and that development should be measured according to the per capita income of the bottom 50% of the population. The bank provides collateral-free loans and social services for the poor, charging 20% interest on capital, all the while maintaining a 99% loan recovery rate. The bank has 1.9 million members, 94% of whom are women, and has successfully organized grassroots microenterprises for productive self-employment and social change. The authors use the coorientation, concertive control, and critical feminist theories to analyze the bank's programs in an effort to explain the dialectic between control and emancipation in organizing for social change. Examining the bank's organizational processes from multiple theoretical perspectives allows insights to be drawn about theory and praxis in organizing for social change. The Grameen Bank has effectively demonstrated that development is an organized process of education, environmentally sound productivity, and improvement in the quality of life for the poorest of the poor.
 
Article
This essay explores the role that race plays in rhetorical theorizing. Linking the literature in critical race theory (CRT), critical rhetoric, and vernacular criticism, the essay examines the case of Proposition 187 for the ways in which race was deployed and occluded. The essay demonstrates that rhetoricians can and should systematically assess racial dimensions in communicative practices. Such a rhetorical turn emphasizes race as part of historical, legal, political, and cultural discourses. The authors build a case for a racialized critical rhetorical theorizing (RCRT).
 
Article
Peirce's notion of abductive reasoning provides a theoretical framework in which to analyze visual interpretation, that is, how viewers understand a visual and interpret its meaning. This paper demonstrates that a different kind of interpretive logic operates for visual communication processes than for language-based communication processes, and this logic is best articulated in the semiotic literature where the notion of interpretation is more carefully conceptualized.
 
Article
Given the range of destruction wrought by persistent employee abuse, it is crucial to understand how employee-abusive organizations (EAOs) come into being and persist. It is also essential to look beyond individualistic "bad apple" explanations to understand the phenomenon's complexity but, to date, little scholarship does so. Indeed, there is insufficient theorizing about the phenomenon. To address this issue, we theorize how EAOs come into being, persist, and change though a confluence of communication flows. This article takes as a starting point and builds upon a message-flows typology from which we create a new theory that explains how EAOs develop and change. The theory identifies abusive message types and underscores how organizing occurs in confluences or synergies among the communication flows in which specific messages occur. We present a case study that drives the theory and illustrates the dynamism among communication flows. The case also illustrates change and the impact of worker resistance.
 
Article
Although a growing body of research documents important links between parent-child interaction and child physical abuse, these studies are being conducted primarily by scholars from outside the field of communication. This commentary explores how theories of plans and planning might help explain patterns of parent-child interaction that typify physically abusive families. I consider 4 potential links between plans-planning processes and child physical abuse, specifically, differences between physically abusive and nonabusive parents' plan complexity, plan confidence, on-line planning, and plan modification. By extending current theories of plans and planning to analyze child physical abuse, communication scholars interested in message production can contribute to interdisciplinary efforts aimed at understanding, and responding to, a major societal problem.
 
Article
In an exploration of the life-space between the visceral experience of living as a social being and the rational experience of scholarship in a social discipline, this autoethnography presents descriptions of events in my life when I was consciously aware of my existence as simultaneous subject and object as a woman academic. The key criteria for describing the events for presentation was the experience of the event as consciously enchanting me to or disenchanting me from academia and the connection of the event to my relationship with the gender and feminist literature. In the social disciplines, tension in the woman academic's “dual” existence as subject and object is exacerbated by this literature. The essay seeks to come to some insight about the human experience of this dual existence. The essay develops arguments for further exploration of the academic life in the social disciplines as a way of coming to a better understanding of the subject-object dilemma by reconceptualizing “dilemma ” as “human data-source”; reconceptualizing dualism as wholism; and simultaneously conceptualizing the academy as a situated organizational context that functions as a site for micropractices of power, domination, and human oppression.
 
Article
This epistolary essay features 6 letters portraying mentoring relationships among 4 women in the academy. Interrogating both genderless and gendered models of mentoring, this essay argues for “entrustment,” a symbolic mother-daughter relationship between women is a better account of women's power and desire than traditional frameworks of male power and female mutuality. Second, these letters put academic labor in the background to foreground the multiple contexts-career, family, heterosexual relationship-from which women of different ages, races, and status approach work and relationship in the academy. Third, these letters pay debts to specific women, as well as paint portraits of past and future generations of women, in the creation and inheritance of legacies of cultural work. This project takes the risk of strategic separatism to create and to enact women-centered spaces in the academy where academic and relational labor thrives.
 
Article
Conducting scholarship and teaching about socially constructed aspects of identity (e.g., race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and class) often presents challenges to communication scholars. Within this article, we discuss some of those challenges by disclosing aspects of our lived experiences as “outsiders within” the academy. Through analyzing e-mail messages that we exchanged with one another, we explore complexities of our emotions (and ensuing tears) as we experience both enchantment and disenchantment with how members of the academy deal with difference matters. We rely upon feminist standpoint epistemology as our theoretical framework, and we specify dialogic theory and ontology as a promising means by which we can transform the academy.
 
Article
One of the current topics informing a sense of academic disenchantment is the lack of community apparent in many academic settings. This personal narrative recounts my experiences searching for community in the academy and focuses on the central role of writing and speaking in that process. Five lessons about the concept of community are derived from these accumulated experiences and are offered here as a way of reformulating a narrative theory of community that is not symbolically or practically tied to commonplace ideals of place, stability, or order.
 
Article
The absence of any written mainstream valuation of African American theories and historical relevancies presents a significant commentary and dilemma within the field of human communication studies and other disciplines as well. It forces committed African American intellectuals to ask ourselves if we have created a large enough arsenal of quality theories or if we have simply recycled theories produced by “observers” to describe our communicative behavior. If African American theories have been created, tested, and verified, then where are they, and why are they not being recognized by the academy? African American scholars must define what it means to be central to critical scholarship, determine whether this position has been achieved, and finally decide to continue to push the margins. This essay is to be read as an initial exploration that examines the sociopolitical factors of race and gender as contributing variables to the success of African American intellectualism.
 
Article
This autoethnographic story highlights the eruption of dialogic moments in everyday encounters. It is a story of the spontaneous uprising of dialogic spirit in everyday life. It is a story of the transformation of ordinary time and space into extraordinary, ecstatic "turning points" that redefine relational connections. "Accidental dialogue" is invoked and defined as a special convergence - born of openness to possibility and happenstance - of dialogic imagination, dialogic courage, and narrative conscience.
 
Article
Practical theory, as distinct from applied theory, is based on the notion of inquiry developed in human systems research and pragmatism. It rejects the practitioner-theorist dualism and treats theory as formalizations aiding inquirers' efforts to join with human systems to improve them, rather than as propositional maps of social reality. This article offers criteria for evaluating such theories and discusses the way practical theory establishes reliability, validity, and generality.
 
Article
Participatory research has often been advanced as a counter to academic studies, particularly to objectivist social science. This article argues that such a dichotomization is not necessary, that a strict division between normative and empirical research is not productive, and that pragmatism offers a basis upon which a rapprochement between participatory and academic research can be built. While other approaches to participatory research are possible, the value of pragmatism is that it recognizes the central role of values in constituting knowledge while committing to no single nonnative position, thus creating the opportunity to negotiate normative frameworks as appropriate in various research settings. Craig's proposal for treating communication research as a “practical discipline” is used to assess the potential status of participatory research as a scholarly, as well as a practical, endeavor.
 
Article
Issues of comparative theory are addressed through direct examination of acknowledgment tokens (e.g. Eh, Mm, Mmmm, Uh heh?) in American and Swedish conversations. Findings yield grounds for claiming universality across cultural members’placement and usage of acknowledgment tokens. This is especially evident in the ways interactants organize stories and topics by (a) working to preserve rights and privileges of tellers, and (b) moving toward more active speakership. A substairtiwe (i.e., reinspectable) basis for rendering comparative judgments about cross-cultural similarities and differences is thus offered. Attention is then given to the impact of research methods on understanding communication and culture. Contrasts are made with anecdotal and self-report findings depicting Swedes as conversationally inept, lacking the necessary skills in such activities as “offering feedback.” Explanations of findings indicating conversational universals and particulars are offered, and implications for comparative theory development are elaborated.
 
Article
A growing number of studies suggest that technological change and organizational change must be closely linked at the microsocial level of analysis. This is because technologies become constitutive features of the organizing process when they are marshaled in communicative interaction and the organizing process becomes a constitutive feature of technologies when it shapes the form and function of newly developed artifacts. However, most extant research has explicitly linked technological change to activities surrounding a technology's development and organizational change to activities surrounding a technology's use. This paper suggests that when researchers view technological and organizational change as discontinuous events separated by the act of implementation they discredit the important role that organizations play in the development of technologies and that the material features of technologies play in the process of organizing. To overcome this empirically inaccurate tendency we must cross the artificial empirical and theoretical divide, which I term the implementation line, existing between our studies of technology development and use. In so doing, I outline a framework that treats technological and organizational change as mutually constitutive in nature. I conclude by suggesting that organizational communication researchers are uniquely positioned to study the mutual constitution of technology and organizing and suggest several avenues for investigating the interrelations between these phenomena.
 
Article
Contemporary communication researchers do not incorporate a life-span perspective in their theories of message production. A case is made here for including life-span perspectives. In addition, we describe and explain numerous age-related changes in a person's ability to produce competent messages. We present two theories of successful aging, along with a brief review of research related to the aging process and message production in order to illustrate the importance of incorporating the life-span perspective into message-production theorizing.
 
Article
In persuasion and message effects research, involvement is simultaneously one of the most theoretically and empirically useful concepts, and among the most problematic. Involvement is typically invoked to characterize audience members' relationship to the content of a message as well as to explain how that relationship influences their processing of that message, thereby determining message effects. The problem of audience members' relationship to message content and its processing consequences is here recast in terms of the active audience. Audience members are assumed to be goal-directed in exposing themselves to and in processing messages. Six typical goals and associated message-processing strategies —patterns of response to various elements of message presentation and content, source attributes, and persuasive intent—are described, and their implications for predicting message effects and persuasion outcomes are illustrated. The utility of this approach for integrating audience-centered perspectives with empirical persuasion and message effects research and for integrating persuasion research with other message and media effects research contexts is discussed.
 
Article
Previous research in crisis and risk communication has suggested differences across demographic groups in informational needs and response, including the presence of knowledge gaps. In the wake of Hurricane Ike, the current study surveyed 691 Houston area residents to investigate these differences and contrast them with similar data collected following Hurricane Katrina. The results suggest narrowing knowledge gaps, as socioeconomic status did not predict informational needs or preparations for the storm. Differences in these needs were still detected across sex and ethnicity.
 
Article
The present article investigates a communication, education, and training intervention program intended to initiate a sense of empowerment among women dairy farmers in India. A conceptualization of communication and empowerment is offered. The empowering and disempowering dimensions of women's communication are highlighted through the participants' own words and experiences. Our analysis of the communicative dimensions of women's empowerment yields 3 important insights. First, women's empowerment is displayed through different forms of communication and feminist action, particularly when women organize to accomplish social change within their families and communities. Second, empowerment is embedded in democratic practices, especially when women discuss issues and make decisions that improve their quality of life. Third, paradox and contradiction are an important part of the empowerment process.
 
Four-stage planning and action model  
Re- constructive planning and action model Consequences (Outcomes)  
Article
A practical-critical approach to communication contends that critical analysis should have practical consequences, specifically to extend participation and to introduce innovative forms of communication. Planning and action process models in public relations illustrate the approach. The practical-critical position develops out of a reconstructive revision of existing, instrumental models. The emphases are (a) variabilities and contingencies in communication, (b) temporal sequencing of cooperative activity, (c) conditions of uncertainty that are part of pursuing a shared focus through joint activity, and (d) the interdependent relations among material, symbolic, and relational dimensions of process planning and action. The practical-critical framework provides for continuous, dialectical analysis of a central focus of activity, while deriving benefits from the sequencing of cooperative effort.
 
Article
Many critics have called Jurgen Habermas's concepts of communicative action theoretically interesting but not practically viable. Traditional conflict management in the form of negotiation and state diplomacy leaves little room for Habermasian communication theory and could count as another example of the inapplicability of his ideas. However, with the advent of new conflict resolution practices in the form of second-track diplomacy, Habermasian communication theories seem to be applied in new ways, which this article will analyze.
 
Article
Jurgen Habermas’ theoretically generated normative recommendations for deliberative democracies prompt a number of questions that are symptomatic of a mode of theorizing that has given short shrift to an empirical is that asserts itself either as constraints upon emancipatory potentials of public sphere communication or as the emancipatory potentials themselves as expressed concretely within empirically situated communicative practices. This limitation is apparent in the relative neglect of subaltern groups that remain walled off from effective participation in the public sphere. Consideration of the rhetorical practices of subalterns, I argue, invites critical reappraisal of Habermas’ discourse-based theory of the public sphere which, in turn, suggests that some modification of his normative recommendations for deliberative democracies may be in order.
 
Article
The paradox of deliberative democracy is that the prerequisites of deliberation must be produced through deliberation itself. This essay, thus, proposes that deliberative democracy requires two levels of deliberation: One is instrumental deliberation, a procedural tool, through which people negotiate and make decisions; the other is dialogic deliberation, or dialogue, through which people construct the concept of the self and other, the sense of community, and public reason. Relying on Habermas’s theory of communicative action, Buber’s concept of dialogue, and Giddens’s theory of structuration, we propose that informal and nonpurposive everyday political talk, the practical form of dialogic deliberation, is the fundamental underpinning of deliberative democracy. Through everyday political talk, citizens construct their identities, achieve mutual understanding, produce public reason, form considered opinions, and produce rules and resources for deliberative democracy.
 
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This article argues that “health activism” as a concept has been overlooked as an important element of health communication and situates the concept in relation to key areas of research in the field, including health citizenship and community organizing. The author presents theoretical frameworks for comparing and contrasting health-related social action based on issue focus and political orientation that facilitate communication-based contributions to multidisciplinary research. This contribution is discussed in more detail by theorizing communicative processes associated with health activism. It is then argued that the study of health activism can benefit from adopting critical perspectives that focus on issues of power and conflict and on multisectoral views of health that examine activist efforts related to a broad array of the determinants of health, including political, economic, and environmental issues.
 
Article
Media scholars claiming a “social action” perspective advance their work on the grounds of hermeneutic/interpretive empiricism that privileges ethnographic methods. Such scholarship tends only to allude to its theoretical influences (e.g., symbolic interactionism, phenomenology). In an effort to extrapolate principles by which social action media approaches (or their critiques) can be analyzed, this paper turns to a broad base of philosophical writings in the social action tradition that social action media scholars have identified as seminal influences. Six premises extrapolated from these works direct social science researchers to examine forms of collective signifying behaviors—or routines—through which media content is subsumed and interpreted. How signifying action gets interpreted and performed (and, hence, how “reality” is constructed and sustained) determines the “effects” associated with media content.
 
Article
This article reexamines the complexities of the reception of meaning by audience members who experience media texts. It argues for the articulation model of meaning, which asserts that meaning is a momentaty event, denies that meaning is a transfer process, and characterizes media experiences as intertwined and blurred fantasy and reality experiences that serve to confirm identity for the receiver. The articulation model resolves key issues in the cultural studies debates. Framed by an articulation analysis, an empirical study of adolescent romance readers demonstrates the articulation model's power to yield additional and “corrective” insights into meaning.
 
Article
This study uses the Diffusion of Innovations Theory to examine the role of mass media–generated interpersonal communication in the adoption of antitobacco norms among opinion leaders in California. Data were collected from 503 key community opinion leaders within 18 California counties in 1997 as part of the Independent Evaluation of the California Tobacco Control Program. Results provide support for the proposition that tobacco control policies and behaviors of opinion leaders can be categorized according to stages in the innovation decision process. As hypothesized, the level of mass media–generated interpersonal communication was dependent upon an individual's stage of adoption such that the frequency of ad discussion increased with advancing stages on the continuum. Regression analyses also confirmed a strong positive associative trend between ad discussion and stage of adoption. Further analysis provided evidence that the impact of campaign exposure on adoption of antitobacco norms was mediated through discussion of the ads, highlighting the importance of social diffusion processes. This study provides evidence regarding the importance of using a stage-based framework to understand the role of communication channels at distinct stages of innovation adoption and among various community opinion leaders.
 
Article
Interaction patterns of reciprocity and compensation have received extensive consideration in the literature on mutual influence processes. Unfortunately, conflicting and ambiguous definitions of these concepts, along with inadequate differentiation from other patterns such as matching, convergence, divergence, and complementarity have hindered theoretical and empirical progress. This article is dedicated to sorting out the differences among the various accommodation processes and offering appropriate constitutive definitions and operationalizations. It is proposed that definitions of reciprocity and compensation be distinguished from matching and complementarity in that the former incorporate principles of(1) directedness, (2) contingency, (3) both unidirectional and mutual influence, (4) change rather than maintenance, (5) directionality rather than magnitude of change, (6) intentional and automatic processes, and (7) functional equivalence of behaviors. Operationally, these criteria imply a focus on designs demonstrating causality or strong association between partner behaviors, concatenous and lagged responses, within-dyad and longitudinal analyses, and, for many purposes, a more molar perspective. Issues of macro versus micro measurement, perceived versus actual reciprocity and compensation, and reliance on observer versus participant perspectives are also considered.
 
Average number of unique self-aspects by 10-hour television viewing increments for adolescents in Study 1.
Article
Identity complexity has been associated with resilience, such that people with multidimensional self-concepts appear to suffer fewer emotional and physical health problems in response to stress. Adolescence is a time to build identities and manage new stressors; therefore, self-complexity is an important topic for research concerning adolescents. Studies have explored media effects on the content of the self-concept but have largely ignored its structural properties, one of which is self-complexity. Existing communication theories, moreover, have limited applicability to self-complexity as an outcome of media exposure. Thus, theory building is needed. This article presents cross-sectional data from two studies with adolescents, the first diverse in gender, the second diverse in race. Although television viewing was linked with different self-descriptors for different gender and racial groups, it predicted decreased self-complexity for all groups except African American females. In both studies, the downturn in self-complexity occurred at about 20 hours per week. Based on these findings, the development of a new model of television’s effects on self-complexity, the Scope of Self model, is proposed. Discussion focuses on key assumptions, constructs, and processes within the model, along with its predicted applicability to different groups.
 
Article
This article proposes a theoretical explanation for the popularity of violent video games among adolescent male gamers. The author uses theories about media and emotion as well as theories about emotion as a process to develop a model for the unfolding of emotion in violent video games. It is argued that violent video games provide a gratifying context for the experience of emotions. The fact that gamers are largely in control of the game implies that they can voluntarily select the emotional situations they confront. This freedom is attractive for adolescents who are in the midst of constructing an identity. For them, the violent game is a safe, private laboratory where they can experience different emotions, including those that are controversial in ordinary life. Gamers may deliberately select emotions that sustain dominant masculine identity (e.g., anger), as well as emotions that are at odds with dominant masculinity (e.g., fear).
 
Correlations and Descriptive Statistics for Key Outcome Variables
Means and Standard Deviations of Key Outcome Variables by Chat and Argument Strength Conditions
Mean Comments Said per Person by Three Way Split on Outcomes in Chat Condition
Article
One route to influence in mass communication campaigns to reduce risky behavior is through interpersonal discussion of the content of the campaign and other behaviors pertinent to those targeted by the campaign. The goal of this study was to test the effects of online group interaction among adolescents about antimarijuana advertisements on relevant attitudes and behaviors. A between-subjects post-only experimental design was used to test two crossed factors, online chat and strength of arguments in antidrug ads. A sample of 535 students was randomly assigned to one of four conditions: chat and strong-argument ads, chat and weak-argument ads, no chat and strong-argument ads, and no chat and weak-argument ads. The group interactions about antidrug ads lead to negative effects such that those who chatted reported more promarijuana attitudes and subjective normative beliefs than those who just viewed the ads. No support was found for the hypothesis that strong-argument ads would result in more antidrug beliefs relative to weak-argument ads in either the chat or the no-chat conditions. Overall, these findings suggest that viewing antidrug ads and discussing them with peers may result in deleterious effects in adolescents.
 
Article
We propose the theory that subjective (injunctive) social norms are shaped through two intertwined processes: positive and negative signaling communication by the personal social network and construal of the communicated social norm. Construal is evoked by the strength of the relation between a tie and the individual. With strong ties, individuals conform to the communicated injunctive norm, while with weak ties individuals do not conform to the communicated injunctive norm. We assessed the validity of the theoretical framework in a study on condom-use norms among 98 adolescents from different cultural backgrounds in South Africa. Parent injunctive norms were significantly related to positive and negative signaling about condoms of strong ties but not to positive and negative signaling of weak ties.
 
Article
In the evolving research arena of mediated communication technology adoption and uses, one of the most valuable developments involves the increased integration of distinct communication research traditions. This emerging fusion presents an unprecedented opportunity for communication researchers to share, confer, and challenge the “native” tradition that each has followed. This article proposes an integrated research model and explains how it can serve as the basis for mediated communication technology adoption research. In particular, this proposed model is intended to provide a research framework for studying the factors that help shape adoption decisions of various communication technologies and the potential impact of technology adoption on the social system, audiences, and use patterns.
 
Integral view of basic and applied research.
Article
Applied research, especially in the communication discipline, has been met with resistance and criticism by some who advocate adherence to theoretically-based research. This dilemma is exacerbated by ongoing debates among applied scholars about how to define applied research and how to conceptualize its relationship to theory development. Definitions emerging from these discussions yield two explanations—dialectical tension and interdependent—for how applied and theory research are connected. We join the conversation by proposing an integral perspective whereby applied scholarship can become more clearly situated and helpful to the creation, extension, and challenge of theoretical explanations for communication.
 
Article
Efforts aimed at increasing civic-mindedness must consider both what encourages and what discourages political engagement. Procedural justice argues that individuals care about the fairness of decision-making or deliberative procedures beyond whether the outcome of any future decision goes in their preferred direction. In turn, perceptions of procedural fairness influence participant satisfaction, commitment to the organization, perceived legitimacy of authorities, and willingness to volunteer on an organization's behalf. The concept of procedural justice holds significant promise for addressing questions in political communication research, particularly those examining the impacts of public engagement. Thus, we offer a synthesis of procedural justice research to support a model for studying procedural justice as a type of framing to which individuals are exposed during participation in civic life and, in so doing, try to make more explicit the previously implicit communicative aspects of procedural justice.
 
Theorized model of campaign communication and participation.
Testing campaign communication and participation.Note: Standardized path coefficients are reported; *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
Article
Recent communication research concerning participatory politics has found that the effects of media, especially campaign ads, conventional news, and online political resources, are largely mediated through interpersonal discussion about politics. This article extends this line of theorizing about the role of political conversation in citizen competence by testing an O-S-R-O-R model of campaign communication mediation, a modification and extension of the longstanding O-S-O-R model of communication effects. This model combines insights from iterations of the communication mediation model (McLeod et al., 2001; Shah et al., 2007) and cognitive mediation model (Eveland, 2001; Eveland, Shah, & Kwak, 2003) to theorize a set of the interrelated reasoning (R) processes that channel the influences of campaign exposure and news consumption on political engagement. Three key mediators of campaign and news influence are postulated: face-to-face political conversation, online political messaging, and cognitive reflection. We provide empirical evidence to test this model by merging two datasets: (1) tracking of the content and placement of campaign messages in the 2000 and 2004 election cycles, and (2) surveys of traditional and digital media consumption and levels of campaign participation during these same elections. Findings reveal that political conversation, political messaging, and cognitive reflection mediate the effects of campaign advertising exposure and news consumption on political participation and knowledge, providing considerable support for our theory. This O-S-R-O-R model helps organize a large body of theorizing and research on campaigns and conversation in the communication sciences.
 
Article
Entertainment-education (E-E) has been widely and successfully implemented in developing countries around the world, but it is much harder to utilize in media-saturated countries. However, talk shows can be a niche market for E-E campaigns. As evidence, The Rosie O'Donnell Show has made a significant contribution to the television industry and to entertainment-education research by redefining how advocacy, education, and entertainment can work through a variety talk show format. An extemporaneous talk show can implement E-E campaigns through four main strategies to target its viewers: (1) Variability, or using a variety of forms to provide campaign information, (2) using multimediated synergistic avenues and online connections, (3) creating audience proactivity by using a small group elements to promote self and collective efficacy, and host appeal to bridge the local to national gap, and (4) the host's use of instinctive intentionality in aggregating campaign messages. As executive producer and host of her show, Rosie O'Donnell affected awareness, disseminated educational information, and encouraged proactive behavior with social, political, and philanthropic agendas through repetitive, positive, and proactive entertainment-education messages.
 
Article
Critical theory and cultural studies have articulated a substantial and vital challenge to the very foundations of traditional scholarship, which remains rigidly scientistic in its orientation. One outcome of this challenge is that claims of subjectivity on the part of the critic are accommodated. The stylistic dimensions of critical scholarship, however, also are noteworthy, and their political implications are perhaps no less significant. The aforementioned relative latitude in content has not been accompanied by a concurrent loosening of aesthetic mores. In this article engaging critical rhetoric as a case study, I argue that the aesthetic conventions of scholarship, as imposed upon the unique, ideologically overt character of critical scholarship, constrain and even undermine the critical project.
 
Article
This article takes up the ethical meaning of Herbert Marcuse's aesthetics, especially as espoused in his last book, The Aesthetic Dimension (1978). In it, Marcuse responds at both an ethical and aesthetic level to three versions of Marxist/Frankfurt school theory of art: realism, negation theory, and formalism. The first part of my article situates The Aesthetic Dimension in a tradition; the second part lets it speak for itself as a synthesis of the three ethical/aesthetic traditions; and the third part queries and develops Marcuse's synthetic efforts.
 
Article
This paper argues that in all areas of communication theory, we should give greater consideration to the possibility of expression affecting the expresser. A general model of the effects of messages on both senders and receivers is introduced, organizing and resolving contradictions in past research by distinguishing between effects of the expectation of expression, effects of message composition, and effects of a message being released to others. When applied to deliberation, the model results in several experimentally testable explanations of causal mechanisms involved in deliberation's predicted effects, a stronger basis for the distinction between deliberative and argumentative discussion, and several tentative practical recommendations for encouraging open-mindedness in deliberation.
 
Article
To further understanding of how individuals experience media and political systems, this article compares a project in the Chicago sociology tradition to concepts from Bourdieu's field theory and practical reason. Limited life history documents from Chicago working-class and more-advantaged young adults illustrate two interactionist concepts, subjective posture, one's stance toward media and politics, and subjective affluence, the range of empowerment the postures reveal. A stance as individual consumer, primarily in pursuit of entertainment, crossed over class lines, but elite participants had higher subjective affluence, with agency as political actors influencing others. The similarities illustrate an aspect of Bourdieu's habitus, and their class differences illustrate distinctions in symbolic power. The results advance theory in the midrange between macrolevel structures and microlevel subjectivity.
 
Article
This work presents an analytical approach to assessing the negotiation of interaction through a key cultural symbol. Six distinct dimensions are proposed to explain how the term freier (roughly glossed as “sucker”) functions in Israeli society and what impact it has on communication: the freier concept as a frame for interaction; its centrality as a key cultural concept within cultural discourse; its prevalence in several social realms; the terms of negotiation delimited by the frame; the dynamics of the freier frame as a scale; and the duality of its function in interaction as both means and end. Critical analysis based on these dimensions shows that the freier frame is detrimental to communication and social interaction and has the potential to threaten the cohesion of an entire society.
 
Article
Racial incorporation of immigrant identities has not been extensively theorized in communication. We theorize immigrant identity formation as translation between the cultural and political expressions of different racial regionalisms. As communication studies have begun to address the global dimensions of whiteness, there is a need to address particular cultural inflections that maintain its power. We situate a critical and postcolonial notion of translation within the framework of a discourse theory to explain how Polish immigrant identities are strategically articulated within the changing narratives of South African whiteness. The findings demonstrate that Polish immigrants negotiated their identity and belonging in postapartheid South Africa through strategies of exoneration to deny their implication in apartheid and its legacy. The analysis highlights particularized, contextual, and ongoing inflections of whiteness and argues for understanding racial incorporation of immigrant identity as an intercultural communication process. The paper develops the concepts of translation gap and anchoring to elucidate the discursive character of immigrant racial identity formation.
 
Article
Recent theories of telepresence or spatial presence in a virtual environment argue that it is a subjective experience of being in the virtual environment, and that it is the outcome of constructing a mental model of the self as being located in the virtual environment. However, current theories fail to explain how the subjective experience of spatial presence emerges from the unconscious spatial cognition processes. To fill this gap, spatial presence is conceptualized here as a cognitive feeling. From this perspective, spatial presence is a feedback from unconscious cognitive processes that informs conscious thought about the state of the spatial cognitive system. Current theorizing on the origins and properties of cognitive feelings is reviewed and applied to spatial presence. This new conception of presence draws attention to the functionality of spatial presence for judgments, decisions, and behavior. By highlighting the distinction between spatial cognitive processes and the subjective feeling of spatial presence, the use of questionnaires is theoretically grounded and legitimized as a method of presence research. Finally, embodied cognition theories are reviewed to identify cues that give rise to spatial presence.
 
Top-cited authors
Michael D Slater
  • The Ohio State University
Rajiv N. Rimal
  • Johns Hopkins University
Judee K Burgoon
  • The University of Arizona
Maria Knight Lapinski
  • Michigan State University
David B Buller
  • Klein Buendel, Inc.