Four approaches on communication  

Posted: May 1, 2014 in Assignments

Communication is the process of exchanging of ideas, messages and information between two or more than two people with the help of any means or channel. But, just knowing the definition only is not enough, rather, the cause of defining communication in a particular way (approach) should also be known.


Earlier, communication scholars have recognized that there exists no meta-concept of communication. Different people understood communication in their own way. The Western scholars had tried to impose Western theories as the meta-theories relevant everywhere in the world irrespective of culture, religious or other differences. But these days, such approach in not valid.


The alternative conceptions of communication found in the West can be listed as:


  1. Communication as transmission
  2. Communication as ritual
  3. Communication as Publicity
  4. Communication as reception


These are also referred as four models of communications.


  1. Communication as transmission:  This approach defines communication as the process of transmission of message as intended by the source. Here, initiation of the communication is considered as an important factor for the communication to take place.  Those adopting this view define communication by various terms: imparting, sending, transmitting or giving information.


According to James W. Carey, the center of this idea of communication is the transmission of signals or messages over distance for the purpose of control.


This model is termed as engineering model because the medium plays central role in communication according to this approach and sender is highly emphasized in comparison to receiver. It is in line with linear models.


  1. Communication as Ritual: This approach defines communication as participation. The communication is defined in the terms such as sharing, participation, association, fellowship and the possession of common faith. The ritual model is referred as expressive model.


According to Carey, this view sees communication in terms of the representation of shared beliefs. He says that ritual view of communication is not directed towards the extension of message in space but the maintenance of society in time. In other words, ritual view does not confine communication to mechanistic understanding of transmission of information from one geographical point to the other.


Both sender and receiver has active role in the communication process as the culture is important in the communication. It does not exclude the process of information transmission. Rather, all engaged in communication gains something more than information.


  1. Communication as publicity: This approach defines communication as the process of influencing the mind of others through messages. It is called audience-capturing or display-attention model because it looks communication from the viewpoint of catching visual or aural attention of the users.


It acknowledges the significance of audience in the process and considers that audiences can be manipulated. Grabbing the attention is crucial in this approach.


  1. Communication as reception: This view has its root in critical theory and reception analysis where the approach has shifted the importance from technical to semiotic approach. The communication is defined from the perspective of receiver. Audience is highly emphasized because it is audience who gives meaning to the message.


Encoding and decoding are considered as the crucial moment in communication. It is not necessary that audience receive message or understand it as intended. Rather, messages are polysemic and it is receiver who draws meaning that depends upon his/her cultural and context.





Adhikary N.M. Communication, Media and Journalism An Integrated Study


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