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 2: Communication as Ritual
Communication as Ritual
The reality-constituting effects of ritual and ceremony are well known. Saying “I do” in the right circumstances at the right moment, to take a familiar example, makes it done and it cannot be undone without a different ceremony in a different time and place. The effective mechanism of such rituals is formal communication—people performing symbols according to normative forms to achieve social ends. This structure, familiar from special communication in special events, is also ubiquitously present in routine communication. The nod, the handshake, and the greeting are all small rituals; conversation, television watching, and news reading also have their underlying ritual structures. In this sense, communication is ritual. In all the small ways that form has consequences and propriety ...