Week 1 Response

The major thing that I am responding to today is the paradigm situation in the communication world. Having read Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and several responses to Kuhn, I understand the importance and problems of paradigms especially when they are applied to the social sciences. The problem that I see in the communication field is that the dominant paradigm and the opposing paradigm both have very good upshots and effective parts but neither alone is an optimal paradigm. True, paradigms are rarely fully optimal or completely encompass everything but normally the paradigms are different enough that it is easier to make a decision which camp someone is in. For instance, I enjoy the non-deterministic side of the non-dominant paradigm but I don’t like the socio-Marxist tinges that parts of that paradigm have. The determinism scares me away because then if are fully deterministic models of human behavior with technology then we could forcibly put people into cubbyholes without leaving room for much else. Also, there seems to be so much that these paradigms are relying on without giving much thought to it. So they assume that a)people are rational, b)information from technology is not created with intended malice, c)there are inherent problems that media creates. I will instantly grant people c) though one could argue that it is more other systems cause problems with media due to the upshots of newer technology, but I will just let that be for right now. A) is contentious enough as it is in the social sciences so I will just leave that too. B) is what I find most interesting. One could argue with me and say that the information’s intent is not a big deal behind the communication studies but I must disagree. There should be a worry of what kind of information is being transmitted and it’s intent. Intentionality is left out of a lot of theories even though it is the most important part of communication.

Another thing I have to disagree with is the linear transmission model. It was the case that traditional media was the only way to get information beyond gossip and hearsay. Now, information is packaged and sent off but not necessarily directly to the consumer. It is packaged then unpackaged by someone else then repackaged, sometimes with a different spin, then sent off to the audience for consumption. Communications have evolved past simply informing the public and now I must always question the intent behind what I am hearing. /rant.

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