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L. David Ritchie

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  • Communication Concepts

    This series reviews enduring concepts that have guided scholarly inquiry in communication, including their intellectual evolution and their uses in current research. Each book is designed to provide organized background reading for those who intend further study of the subject.

    EDITOR

    StevenH.Chaffee, Stanford University

    ASSOCIATE EDITORS

    CharlesR.Berger, University of California, Davis
    JosephN.Cappella, University of Pennsylvania
    RobertP.Hawkins, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    MarkR.Levy, University of Maryland, College Park
    NeilM.Malamuth, University of California, Los Angeles
    JackMcLeod, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    PeterMonge, University of Southern California
    ByronReeves, Stanford University
    MichaelSchudson, University of California, San Diego
    EllenWartella, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

    CarolineSchooler, Stanford University

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    Foreword

    Each volume in the Communication Concepts series deals at length with an idea of enduring importance to the study of human communication. Through analysis and interpretation of the scholarly literature, specialists in each area explore the uses to which a major concept has been put, and point to promising directions for future work.

    Information is clearly a—perhaps the—central concept in the study of communication. We asked L. David Ritchie to range across several levels of conceptual usage in this one small book: information's technical meaning in engineering; the complex meanings of information and various pseudonyms—uncertainty, structure, entropy, redundancy—in specialized academic studies; and its metaphorical usage by communication theorists. He has, with our encouragement, concentrated largely on the middle of this list, developing the academic and theoretical meanings that are most applicable to the human side of communication. His examples cover a wide range, including such domains as interpersonal communication, group dynamics, mass media, social structure, social influence, decision making, organizational communication, and the history of technology. This book offers a synthesis that is relevant to the interests of virtually every student of communication processes.

    Far from having an agreed-upon, self-evident meaning, information is a challenging topic for conceptualization that has occupied many of the best minds in the field of communication for half a century. Professor Ritchie deserves our thanks for summarizing and resolving many difficult issues with this book. This volume should help focus the thinking of the next generation of scholars, who, we are certain, will find further stimulation in the concept of information.

    StevenH.Chaffee, Series Editor
    JosephCappella, Associate Editor

    Preface

    The ideas presented in this monograph began to take shape while I was a graduate student at Stanford University; the first drafts of several chapters were written at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. I am deeply indebted, for my general approach to concept explication and theory development, to the inspiration and teaching of Steven H. Chaffee, Donald F. Roberts, and Richard F. Carter. Both Peter Monge and Joseph Cappella were kind enough to read the manuscript in considerable detail and spare me thereby from at least some of my most embarrassing mistakes. The ideas presented herein have also benefited from extensive discussions with many colleagues and friends, including Klaus Krippendorff, Vincent Price, John Peters, David Mortensen, James Dillard, Isabelle Bauman, and Eugene Buder. My wife, LaJean Humphries, has been a consistent source of advice and encouragement. I hope the product will prove to be worthy of their trust and friendship.

  • References

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    Author Index

    • Abbott, E. W., 4, 68
    • Adelman, M. B., 71
    • Arbib, M. A., 68
    • Ball-Rokeach, S., 3, 69
    • Baxter, L. A., 3, 68
    • Beniger, J. R., 4, 48, 49, 68
    • Berger, C. R., 55, 56, 68
    • Bittner, J. R., 4, 68
    • Borman, E. G., 4, 68
    • Braman, S., 4, 68
    • Bransford, J. D., 68
    • Brooks, W. D., 4, 68
    • Busby, R. E., 3, 68
    • Calabrese, R. J., 55, 56, 68
    • Chaffee, S. H., 8, 66, 68
    • Cherry, C, 4, 68
    • Couch, C, 4, 68
    • Daft, R. D., 60, 68
    • Daft, R. L., 55, 57, 69
    • Darnell, D. K., 8, 69
    • DeFleur, M. L., 3, 4, 69
    • Dennis, E. E., 3, 4, 69
    • DeVito, J. A., 3, 69
    • Dewart, L., 69
    • Dewey, J., 7, 69
    • Dickens, M., 8, 69
    • Doelger, J. A., 3, 70
    • Douglas, W., 3, 69
    • Dretske, F. I., 52, 69
    • Eisenberg, E. M., 56, 59, 68
    • Feldman, M. S., 69
    • Finn, S., 8, 69
    • Frick, F. C., 69
    • Gandy, Oscar H., Jr., 4, 69
    • Gardner, H., 6, 69
    • Gardner, R. R., 68
    • Garner, W. R., 8, 52, 69
    • Giddens, A., 47, 69
    • Goffman, E., 60, 69
    • Golding, P., 4, 70
    • Graham, M. L., 3, 70
    • Grice, H. P., 16, 69
    • Griffith, B. C., 4, 69
    • Hartley, R. V. L., 5, 69
    • Heath, R. W., 4, 68
    • Heider, F., 70
    • Hesse, M. B., 68
    • Hewes, D. E., 3, 70
    • Honeycutt, J. M., 71
    • Hsia, H., 8, 70
    • Hybels, S., 3, 70
    • Jester, R. E., 8, 70
    • Johnson, M., 9, 16, 70
    • Kellermann, K., 3, 70
    • Krippendorff, K., 32, 50, 70
    • Krull, R. J., 8, 70, 72
    • Kurke, L. B., 4, 70
    • Lakoff, g., 9, 16, 70
    • Lee, P., 49, 71
    • Lengel, R. H., 60, 68
    • Lichty, L. W., 8, 70
    • Littlejohn, S. W., 4, 70
    • Lowry, D. T., 8, 70
    • Lynch, F. D., 8, 70
    • Machlup, F., 70
    • Majors, R. E., 3, 68
    • Mansfield, U., 70
    • March, J. G., 69
    • Marr, J. T., 8, 70
    • McCarrell, N. S., 68
    • Miller, G. R., 68
    • Moles, A., 52, 70
    • Monsour, M., 3, 70
    • Moss, J., 3, 72
    • Murdock, G., 4, 70
    • Nass, C. I., 49, 71
    • Nelson, P. E., 3, 71
    • Noll, A. M., 8, 71
    • Osgood, C. E., 71
    • Pagels, H., 37, 71
    • Paisley, W. J., 8, 71
    • Parks, M. R., 68, 71
    • Pearson, J. C., 3, 71
    • Peters, J. D., 71
    • Piatelli-Palmarini, M., 71
    • Pierce, J. R., 8, 71
    • Planalp, S., 71
    • Premack, D., 71
    • Ravlin, E. C., 4, 70
    • Richards, I. A., 16, 71
    • Ritchie, L. D., 55, 61, 71
    • Roberts, D. F., 8, 69
    • Schiller, D., 4, 71
    • Schramm, W., 4, 71
    • Schulman, L., 68
    • Seiler, W. J., 3, 71
    • Severin, W. J., 4, 71
    • Shannon, C, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 36, 50, 53, 66, 71, 72
    • Slater, M., 3, 72
    • Smith, A. G., 8, 72
    • Sperber, D., 16, 17, 72
    • Stubbs, M., 38, 72
    • Suci, G. J., 71
    • Tankard, J. W., 4, 71
    • Tannenbaum, P. H., 71
    • Taylor, W. L., 8, 72
    • Terwilliger, R. F., 16, 72
    • Tubbs, S. L., 3, 72
    • Watt, J. H., 8, 70, 72
    • Weaver, R. L., II, 3, 70
    • Weaver, W., 4, 7, 53, 54, 55, 72
    • Weick, K. E., 4, 56, 57, 69, 70
    • Welch, A. J., 8, 72
    • Wiener, N., 7, 72
    • Williams, F., 8, 69
    • Wilmot, W. W., 3, 68
    • Wilson, D. G., 8, 16, 17, 66, 68, 72
    • Wilson, E. O., 18, 72

    About the Author

    L. David Ritchie (Ph.D., Stanford University, 1987) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon. He has also taught at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and at the University of Puget Sound. His research interests include information and society, family communication, and media effects. He has published articles in Communication Research and Journal of Communication. He has coedited a special issue of Communication Research on “micro-macro issues in communication research” devoted to articles focusing on research and theory building across levels of analysis.

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