About This Book
The ninth edition of this textbook for hybrid introductory communication courses provides a balanced introduction to the fundamental theories and principles of communication.
The book explores communication in a variety of contexts—including interpersonal, group, organizational, and mass media—and provides students the theoretical knowledge and the research and critical thinking skills they'll need to succeed in advanced communication courses and professions. The first section explores the history of communication study and explains basic perspectives used by scholars in the field. The second looks at how communicators decode and encode messages, while the third examines channels and contexts, from interpersonal to mass media. This edition devotes attention to how new technologies are changing the ways we think about communication, with revised and updated examples, and gives special attention to relevant critical theory. Two appendices give users the flexibility to tailor their courses to the interests and needs of their students, offering guidelines for preparing and presenting public presentations and giving examples of major research methods.
Thinking Through Communication is an ideal textbook for Introduction to Communication courses that aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the field.
Material for instructors containing PowerPoint slides, test questions, and an instructor's manual is available at https://routledge.com/9780367857011.
- How many times and in how many ways have you communicated today? How would your life be different if you weren’t able to communicate for an entire day?
- Think of a public figure you admire. Which of his or her characteristics attract you? How are these characteristics communicated?
- Who is the best communicator you know personally? What does that person do that makes him or her such a good communicator? Does his or her success lie in the originality of what is said, how ideas are arranged, language style, delivery, or some other factor?
- When you want to persuade others to agree with you, what kinds of appeals do you use? How often do you use rational argument? How often do you stress your own credibility or character? How often do you use emotional appeals? What kind of persuasive strategies work best for you?
- If you could change one thing about the way politicians communicate, what would it be?
- In what ways do you think modern communication technologies affect communication norms? In an age when a lot of communication occurs on social media platforms, what qualities do you think make someone a successful communicator?
- Think of three professions that don’t call for skill in communication. How hard was it to think of three? (And are you sure that the three you thought of don’t require communication, either with colleagues or the public?)
- What are your strengths and weaknesses as a communicator? What would you like to improve about the way you communicate?
- What would you most like to learn about in this course?
- Identify the four periods of rhetorical study.
- Describe the way in which scholars viewed communication in the classical period.
- Describe the five canons of rhetoric.
- Explain the major characteristics of communication study during the medieval period and the Renaissance.
- Outline rhetorical study during the modern period.
- Distinguish between humanistic and scientific approaches to communication study.
Chapter 1 The Communication Tradition
|Cave paintings attest to the universal human need to record and communicate experience. Written records in all ancient civilizations (Egypt, Babylon, India, China) show that communication has long been an object of study.|
|Classical Period (500 B.C.E.-400)|
|With the rise of Greek democracy, public communication became an important tool for problem solving. Rhetoric, the study of “the available means of persuasion,” was a respected discipline taught by the great philosophers. The first known communication model, the canons of rhetoric, divided rhetoric into five parts: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Classical rhetoric emphasized credibility, ways to ground arguments, and audience analysis. Major figures included Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian.|
|Medieval Period and the Renaissance (400-1600)|
|In response to the rise of monolithic Christianity, rhetoric became secondary to theology. Major rhetorical acts were letter writing and preaching. Parts of the classical paradigm were kept alive, but the focus was prescriptive, not theoretical. Rhetoricians emphasized methods of embellishing and amplifying rhetorical style. Major figures included Augustine, Cassiodorus, John of Salisbury, and Erasmus.|
|Modern Period (1600-1900)|
|Once again, public rhetoric was a major force in determining public policy. The written word became an important medium as books and newspapers became more available. Rhetoric followed four paths: classical rhetoric revived the work of the ancients; psychological/ epistemological rhetoric investigated receivers’ psychological responses to persuasive messages; belletristic rhetoric saw written and spoken communication as art and developed theories of rhetorical criticism; elocutionists focused on developing elaborate rules for delivery. Major figures were Francis Bacon, René Descartes, John Locke, Fénelon, Lord Kames, George Campbell, Joseph Priestley, and Thomas De Quincey.|
|Contemporary Period (1900-present)|
|Modern departments of communication were formed. Communication study took two paths: rhetoricians used humanistic methods to analyze rhetorical effects of public discourse; communication theorists used scientific methods to analyze communication behavior as a social science. Communication study expanded to include interpersonal and group, as well as public, communication. The rise of electronic media signaled additional changes in communication study.|