Thursday, April 15, 2010

Theories in action

Gradschool, Communication Theory class: we were grilled on the application of theories in everything at every turn. When trouble erupted in Thailand's Muslim south, we were required to analyze it using a communication theory. A major newspaper editor was fired and we set about combing pages for a theory that would best explain the circumstances around the sacking. Thank God Bangkok U has already released me or I will have been wondering which theory would explain the ongoing Red Shirt protests. I remember some of these theories (#3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12), and as I'm drafting a theoretical framework this week I have to consult texts which makes it easy for me to come up with my T13 today. Which ones are relevant to your experiences?

1. Critical theories a group of theories that seek to produce change in oppressive and otherwise undesirable practices and structures in society

2. Critical race theory examines how laws and legal institutions construct race and uses race as a critical perspective for questioning cultural views of justice and fairness

3. Dialectical theory the point of view that certain tensions between contradictory desires are inherent in personal relationships (this partly helped me understand my divorce better)

4. Dramaturgical theory describes, explains and predicts human behavior in terms of dramatic actions and settings

5. General systems theory claims that all living organisms are dynamic wholes that function as a result of organized interaction among parts

6. Muted group theory a feminist theory that claims that women have been silenced because men have had the power to name the world and thus to constitute experience and meaning

7. Narrative paradigm the point of view that humans are natural storytellers and that most, if not all, communication is storytelling

8. Rules theory the point of view that socially constructed and learned rules guide communication

9. Social exchange theory the point of view that in relationships people try to minimize costs, maximize rewards and ensure equity

10. Standpoint theory the view that the material, social, and symbolic circumstances of a social group shape what members of that group experience as well as how they think, act and feel

11. Uncertainty reduction theory the point of view that uncertainty motivates communication and that certainty reduces the motivation to communicate

12. Cultivation theory the point of view that television promotes a view of social reality that may be inaccurate but that viewers nonetheless assume reflects real life

13. Speech community theory the point of view that explains the communication styles of particular social groups with reference to the cultures in which members of the group are socialized

Source: Wood, Julia T. (2004). Communication theories in action, 3rd ed. Canada: Thomson Wadsworth.

Megan and Janet host Thursday Thirteen


  1. Wow that is a lot of theories I tell you. I like the Rules Theory myself. :) I tend to disagree with the Muted group theory. Maybe years and years ago that was true but no longer. :)

  2. Thom, MGT could be the other way around now lol!

  3. This was VERY interesting. But I for one don't 'believe' theories. For instance, scientists theorize that animals [the four legged kind] don't 'enjoy' sex...when yet they also say the urge is there. Huh? There are so many theories that it's hard to construct any criticisms on any of them.

    My 13 is posted, I do hope you can stop by sometime if you have time today. It's 13 catch phrases I really like. Have a glorious Thursday!!

  4. I thought I would pick a favorite but they're all interesting in a makes you think kind of way.

  5. Anni, in an over dinner discussion I listened to a friend saying that humans are the only beings who copulate for pleasure. That probably is a supporting link to the theory that animals don't enjoy sex; but the urge exists because it's part of their biological set up. I did see dogs having sex and their faces look the same as they're patiently waiting for dinner, lol!

    jill, they are, aren't they? :D

  6. Whoa. I learned a lot reading this post. Almost had a little light bulb go off over my head a few times. Thanks so much for sharing this; I might have to look deeper into a few of those theories.

  7. CountryDew, it could be interesting for you if you did; I'm still learning them myself

  8. Kind of makes me want to get our my index cards to start memorizing :)

    Have a great Thursday!

  9. Harriet, I remember those index card days... and these days we have cut and paste lol!

  10. #12 is most definitely something I see in some of my sons. Their perception of life is often influenced falsely by the media.

  11. I tend to see the world through a dramaturgical perspective, though I don't subscribe to a narrative paradigm. I'm funny that way. :)

  12. Kristen, media influence is indeed quite strong; the effects could last a lifetime

  13. The General Systems theory speaks to me most. It explains religion and science. http://looseleafnotes.colm

  14. Alice, narrative - no, you don't :) ... because you're brilliant that way.

    Joe Klein, now that is some combination!

  15. Waaa my head hurts! So many theories!!!

  16. Jewel, don't read them lol! they're gonna complicate excitement of the forensics you were spending time on :D

  17. Those are making my eyes cross and my brain do back flips. I never was any good at theory!

  18. Susan, I hope the back-flippin brain put the crossed eyes to rights....:D



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