Chapter 2: Talk about Theory Two Communication Scholars View a Diehard Fan The following two subpoints analyze Marty (rhetorical critic) and Glenn?s (social scientist) approaches on the Peyton Manning MasterCard commercials Glenn: An Objective Approach Was Peyton Manning?s celebrity appeal MasterCard?s main reasoning to choosing him to do these commercials? Was it successful? Look at the source credibility theory for possible explanations: Source credibility theory: proposed by Carl Hovland and Walter Weiss and they suggest that expertise and trustworthiness are the two main ingredients of perceived credibility Objective approach: assumption that truth is singular and is accessible through unbiased sensory observation: committed to uncovering cause-and-effect relationships Source credibility: perceived competence and trustworthiness of a speaker or writer that affects how the message is received Herbert Kelman?s theory of opinion change says that people forge a bond of identification with a highly attractive figure like Manning, they?ll gladly embrace his persuasive pitch Identification: a perceived role relationship that affects self-image and attitudes; based on attractiveness of the role model and sustained if the relationship remains silent Concludes that this theory of Manning?s celebrity appeal can not be proved until tested through methods such as the affect of the commercials on people who know Manning versus those who don?t or collecting data on the number of credit card applications before, during, and after Manning?s commercial, to see if Manning truly had an effect on the number of people who opened MasterCards Marty: An Interpretive Approach Sees this commercial as an attempt t identify manliness with money For example, Marty says the ad invites views to become apart of the ?team? and be instructed by ?Coach Manning,? but in order to become apart of the team the potential players have to adopt the attitudes and ways of ?Coach Manning? Interpretative approach: the linguistic work of assigning meaning or value to communication texts; assumes that multiple meanings or truths are possible Burke?s dramatistic pentad: a five-pronged method of rhetorical criticism to analyze a speaker?s persuasive strategy?act, scene, agent, agency, purpose Ex: Manning is the coach or agent, the scene portion contains everyday activities like eating brunch or moving furniture; coaching people to do the right thing is the act part; the jargon and gestures of a football coach is the agency portion; finally, the goal is the acquistion and use of a MasterCard or the purpose What is important to look at is the symbolic transformation that has taken place throughout the commercial; Johnny is the masculine coach throughout the commercial and all these separate dramatic situations happen, but till the very end he represents masculinity. When he adopts the right action (getting a MasterCard), with a thumbs up he is putting the pieces together and equating manly and being in the money (with the MasterCard) The message of this ad is clear. To be a man is to have the right attitude about the little trials of life; it is to be a part of the home team. Objective or Interpretive: A Difference That Matters Glenn and Marty?s approaches clearly differ from starting point, method, and conclusion Glenn is a social scientist and has to work hard to be objective Marty is a rhetorical critic who does interpersonal study While it?s true that all rhetorical critics do interpretive analysis, not all interpretive scholars are rhetoricians Humanistic scholarship: study of what it?s like to be another person, in a specific time and place; assumes there are few important panhuman similarities All of these scholars, like Marty, do interpretive analysis, scholarship concerned with meaning The separate worldviews of interpretive scholars and scientists reflect contrasting assumptions about ways of arriving at knowledge, the core of human nature, questions of value, the very purpose of theory, and methods of research The distinction between objective and interpretive worldviews is a difference that makes a difference Ways of Knowing: Discovering Truth or Creating Multiple Realities? Epistemology: the study of the origin nature, method, and limits of knowledge Of course, of one person can know it all, so individual researchers pool their findings and build a collective body of knowledge about how the world works Scientists consider good theories to be faithful representations of an underlying reality, or mirrors of nature. They are successful when they get others to view a text through their interpretive lens They are confident that once a principle is discovered and validated, it will continue to hold true as long as conditions remain relatively the same Interpretive scholars seek truth like scientists, but they regard truth as socially constructed through communication. They are convinced that meaning is in the mind rather than in the verbal sign and are comfortable with the notion of multiple meanings Texts never interpret themselves. Most of these scholars believe truth is largely subject, meaning it?s highly interpretive Human Nature: Determinism or Free Will? Determinism: the assumption that behavior is caused by heredity and environment Hard line determinists claim that every move we make is the result of heredity (?biology is destiny?) and environment (?pleasure stamps in, pain stamps out?)?more of the scientist approach Free will purists are on the other side of the spectrum and believe that every human is ultimately voluntary (?I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul?)?more of the interpretive scholar approach Behavioral scientists use phrases like ?because of? to describe forces outside the individual?s awareness because of their views of human nature Interpretive scholars tend to use ?order to? or ?so that? for explanatory phrases because they attribute a person?s action to conscious interest Human choice is therefore problematic for the behavioral scientist because as individual freedom goes up, predictability of behavior goes down? The Highest Value: Objectivity or Emancipation? When we talk about values, we are discussing priorities, questions of relative worth Science most social scientists hold to a distinction between the ?knower? and the ?known,? they place a high value on an objectivity that?s not biased by idelogical commitments Empirical evidence: data collected through direct observation Interpretive scholars like Marty are not afraid to verbalize their opinions and believe that researchers cannot avoid the power structure Emancipation: liberation from any form of political, economic, racial, religious, or sexual oppression; empowerment Every general communication theory has two priorities: effectiveness and participation Effectiveness?concerned with successfully communication information, ideas, and meaning to others Participation?concerned with increasing the possibility that all points of view will affect collective decisions and individuals being open to new ideas Purpose of Theory: Universal Laws or Interpretive Guides? Behavioral scientists are working to pin down universal laws of human behavior that cover a variety of situations?adopt theories then test them to see if it covers everyone Rhetoric critics strive to interpret a particular communication text in a specific context?use theories to make sense of unique communication events Research Methods: Quantitative or Qualitative? Quantitative research: research in which the data is record in numerical form Qualitative research: research in which the data is recorded in linguistic (non-numeric) form Four Research methods for the study of communication: Experiments Experiment: a research method that manipulates a variable in a tightly controlled situation in order to find out if it has the predicted effect Control group: subjects in an experiment who experience no form of the independent variable: a no-treatment comparison group Fitting questions for experimental research: What is the relationship between perceived similarity and interpersonal attraction? What conditions are necessary for small groups to make high-quality decisions? When does a violation of another person?s nonverbal expectations cause? Surveys A research method that uses questionnaires and interviews to collect self-reported data that reflects what respondents think, feel, or intend to do Survery research can also help social scientists validate theory Fitting questions for survey research: How much do people differ in their need for cognitive clarity? Do people who watch a high amount of dramatic violence on TV hold exaggerated belief in a mean and scary world? To what extent does media news coverage set the agenda for what people think about and believe? Textual Analysis A research method that describes and interprets the characteristics of any text Critical theorists: scholars who use theory to reveal unjust communication practices that create or perpetuate an imbalance of power Fitting questions for textual analysis: What does the speaker?s choice of language reveal about her strategic intent? How did the metaphors that MLK Jr. used in his ?I Have a Dream? speech reflect the historical context of that time and place? In what way is this text an example of the ideology of corporately controlled media? Ethnography A method of participant observation designed to help a researcher experience a culture?s complex web of meaning Fitting questions for ethnographic research What significance does the CEO?s open door have for middle managers within the company? How does the standpoint of women affect the value they place on care giving? When a teenage and an elderly person interact, how do they typically alter their communication behavior to accommodate the style of the other? Plotting Theories on an Objective-Interpretive Scale Look at chart on page 22?Classification of Communication Theories According to Objective/Interpretive Worldview
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