What does it mean to argue that communication is organizing? Or ritual? Or failure? What is at stake in choosing one metaphor or stance over another? What is gained and what is lost - for the field, for the theories themselves, and especially for humans communicating in everyday contexts? In Communication as…: Perspectives on Theory, editors Gregory J. Shepherd, Jeffrey St. John, and Ted Striphas bring together a collection of 27 essays that explores the wide range of theorizing about communication, cutting across all lines of traditional division in the field.
The essays in this text are written by leading scholars in the field of communication theory, with each scholar employing a particular stance or perspective on what communication theory is and how it functions. In essays that are brief, argumentative, and forceful, the scholars propose their perspective as a primary or essential way of viewing communication with decided benefits over other views.
Compares and contrasts different metaphorical views on the theory and practice of communication, challenging students to develop their own argument about communication theory; Promotes an alternative way of examining communication problems - through the engaged interplay of a diversity of positions - encouraging readers to think through contemporary problems and questions in the field; Compels readers to confront competing theoretical positions and their consequences head-on rather than outlining theories in ways that might separate them from their real-world consequences
Communication as… is an excellent textbook for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on communication theory in the fields of Communication, Journalism, Sociology, and Psychology.
Chapter 16: Communication as Structuring
Communication as Structuring
Social institutions, including groups and organizations, are organized around members' interactional processes and practices: disseminating information, allocating resources, accomplishing tasks, making choices, managing disagreements, and the like. As Poole, Seibold, and McPhee (1996) note, “the key to understanding (these) practices is through analysis of the structures that underlie them” (p. 117; emphasis added). In turn, we contend, the key to understanding the relationship between system practices and social structures that enable and constrain them is through analysis of members' structuring interactions that create and recreate the structures. More fundamentally, we propose that communication is inherently and importantly a structuring activity: system members' appropriation of the underlying structures that enable system performance is accomplished through structuring interaction, ...