DU SOL BA 3rd Year Mass Communication Notes Chapter 1 Introduction: Mass Communication and Society
What are the problems involved defining ‘communication’ and ‘Mass communication?
What do you understand by communication? What in your opinion is the relationship between mass-communication and culture?
Communication And Mass Communication
Communication defined. Interaction, interchange, transaction, dialogue, sharing, communion and commonness are ideas that crop up in any attempt to define the term ‘communication’. According to Denis McQuail, communication is a process which increases commonality – but also requires elements of commonality for it to cccur at all. This is an ideal worth striving for, but communication by itself does not increase commonality nor does it need commonality for occurrence. A common language, for instance, does not necessarily bring people together. There are other factors too at play such as a shared culture and a common interest which bring about a sense of commonality and more significantly, a sense of community.
The Sanskrit term ‘sadharanikaran’ in Bharata’s Natya Shastra comes closest to the sense of ‘common’ or ‘commonness’ usually associated with communication. Sadharanikaran is a social process which can be achieved only among sahridayas, people with a capacity to receive messages. This is an innate ability acquired through! culture, adaptation or learning. The focus here is not on the sender but the receiver of the message. Moreover, communication according to this Sanskrit concept is a relationship based on common and mutual understanding and feeling, for sahridaya literally means ‘of one heart’. The derivation of this ancient Indian concept of communication from the aesthetic theory of ‘rasa’ will be examined in a later section.
Communication thus presupposes a shared symbolic environment, a social relationship among those who participate. What it leads to is social interaction, and in combination with a set of other factors, contributes to a sense of community. Since the world of man, bird and beast too possesses and communicates such a social relationship, the need arises to speak of ‘human communication’ rather than ‘communication’ alone in our study, though many communication researchers do not like the distinction.
Me Quail’s definition. Denis McQuail sees ‘human communication’ in linear terms as the sending of meaningful messages from one person to another. These messages could be oral or written, visual or olfactory. He also takes such things as laws, customs, practices, ways of dressing, gestures, buildings, gardens, military parades, and flags to be communication.
Montagu and Matson. Ashley Montagu and Floyd Matson go a step further. In their view ‘human communication’, as the saying goes, is a clash of symbols, and it covers a multitude of signs. But it is more than media and message, information and persuasion; it also meets a deeper need and serves a higher purpose. Whether clear or garbled, tumultuous or silent, deliberate or inadvertent, communication is the ground of meeting and the foundation of the community. It is, in short, the essential human connection.
Cardon. W.S. Cardon, a leading exponent of kinesics, the science of body language, develops the argument still further. He stresses that interaction within a culture is governed not so much by language, but by ‘body synthesizers’ set in motion almost immediately after birth and thereafter conditioned by culture. Communication, therefore, is not a matter of ‘isolated entities sending discrete messages back and forth, but a process of mutual participation in a common structure of rhythmic patterns by all members of a culture’.
‘Communication’ (together with its twin ‘information’) is perhaps one of the most hyped words in contemporary culture. It encompasses a multitude of experiences, actions and events, as well as a whole variety of happenings and meanings, and technologies too. Thus, a conference or a meeting or even a mela or procession is a ‘communication event’, newspapers, radio, video and television are ‘communication media’, phones, pagers, and email are ‘communication technologies’, and journalists, advertisers, public relations personnel, and even camera crew and news-readers are ‘communication professionals’.
Contemporary period. Further, the contemporary period has come to be labelled variously the ‘Information Age’, the ‘Communication Age’, and most recently, the Cyber or Networking Age. The uses and understanding of Communication have come a long way from its original association first with ‘means of transport’ and later with ‘transmission’. The English word ‘communication’ is derived from the Latin noun ‘communis’ and the Latin verb ‘communicare’’ which means ‘to make common’. Terms closely related to communication and with similar etymological origins include community, communion, commonality, communalism and communism. The closest Indian language equivalent to the original concept of communication is ‘sadharanikaran’.
Communication, in its simplest sense, is a human relationship, involving two or more persons who come together to share, to dialogue and to commune, or just to be together say at a festival or a time of mourning. Communication is thus not so much an act or even a process but rather social and cultural ‘togetherness’ and was one’s ancestors are also forms of communication.
Communication as a Social Science. The study of Communication in its multitudinous forms, whether in its human or technological dimensions, has how taken on the characteristics of an interdisciplinary and multi¬disciplinary social science. To begin with, Communication Science or Communication Studies was based in university departments of Sociology or Psychology or Political Science, and it borrowed heavily from these social science disciplines.
In its turn, Communication Studies has led to a re¬orientation in the disciplines themselves, a greater involvement with popular cultures, and with men and women as communicators at home and in the workaday world. Studies of propaganda by social scientists resulted in greater interest among governments and academicians in the ‘power’ of communication strategies. Government departments of defense provided generous funding for propaganda research, and business and industry promoted ^ media research so as to better exploit communication for advertising and marketing their products and services. The United States’ government departments, private companies and the media.
Problems Of Defining –
Mass Communication. Group Communication has now been extended by the tools of mass communication: books, the press, the cinema, radio, television, video and the Internet. Mass Communication is generally identified with these modem mass media, but it must be noted that these media are processes and must not be mistaken for the phenomenon of communication itself. Exaggerated claims have been made for the ‘power’ of the mass media. Daniel Lemer terms them ‘mobility multipliers’ and Wilbur Schramm considers them to be ‘magic multipliers’.
Indeed, both the terms ‘mass communication’ and ‘mass media’ are inappropriate in the context of developing societies, lone of the ‘mass media ’ reach the masses of people in these societies. So in every sense, these are ‘minority’ or ‘elite’ media, or even ‘class’ media, for only those who have the wherewithal can afford to purchase receivers for them. Where access to, and distribution of, the mass media in India is concerned, only the comparatively well-off in urban and rural areas are at an advantage.
Newspapers, transistors, films and television are still beyond the economic ‘ reach of the majority of our people. Traditional community media like the keertana and yakshagana, and the whole treasure-house of folk song, folk dance and folk theatre are the real organs of mass media in India. They are far less expensive organs, are easy of access, ‘are frequently participatory in nature ‘ and communicate much more effectively than the electronic media and at a direct and personal level. Their reach too is far and wide in the country. However, the modem mass media are produced and distributed like other consumer and industrial products on a mass scale.
‘Mass-line’ Communication. Mao Zedong, who led the Chinese Cultural Revolution, used a type of communication to talk to the masses. He termed it mass- line’ communication. Mahatma Gandhi too employed a similar type of communication, the essence of which was personal example, respect for the peasant’s knowledge, and non-manipulative information. Kusum J Singh’s comparison of the two leaders’ use of the mass-line type of communication brings out the relevance of this type of grass-root level communication even today for mobilizing the masses in developmental efforts.
Interactive Communication. Communication via the ‘new’ media such as video, cable, videotex, teletext, video-on-demand, teleshopping, computers, and the Internet is usually termed ‘interactive communication’. Telecommunication-based services such as telephones, pagers, cellular or mobile phones, electronic mail are also considered to be ‘interactive’. They are point -to-point communication systems, and can approximate to the ” interpersonal (as in the basic telephone and the value-added ’ sendees), the group (as in teleconferences and videoconferences) or the mass (as in the Internet’s World Wide Web) where companies or people with their own web¬sites can reach millions of individuals across the globe at their own convenience.
A major characteristic of interactive communication is ‘asynhronicity’, that is the sending and receding of messages is at one’s convenience, rather than at the same time, as in radio, television. Audio and video recording facilitates listening and watching at a time later than the time of transmission; voice mail, electronic mail and pager messages, can be sent and accessed at times convenient to communicators.
Mass Communication and Culture. Modes of communication and culture are not as far apart, nor as distinct from each other, as is often argued. Both communication and culture develop together, one supporting the other. ‘ Indeed, communication is an expression of a community’s culture, and culture in its turn embodies a community’s communication and information needs and practices. Communication and Culture are thus inextricably tied to each other; we cannot understand one without understanding the other; nor can we speak of one without referring to the other.
Most Indian languages do not have separate words for each; ‘Sanskriti’ for instance takes both within its compass; so does ‘sadharanikaran’. Communication, language, culture, society and civilisation, and their Indian equivalents, may have meanings of their own, but they are intimately linked to each other, and have evolved together, though the pace of evolution might differ from community to community. Moreover, changes and developments in one influence the others.
Has mass communication led to changesin the/people’s various cultures! Has the Hindi cinema – which is in every sense the most popular and the most widespread form of mass entertainment in our country – made any dent in our centuries-old cultural values and behaviour? Or, has television (which in the Indian context is nothing more-than an extension of cinema) in any way affected the culture of our city folk in any significant manner?
The reach of mass communication through the electronic media is mostly limited to the urban areas. It would, therefore, be ridiculous to suggest that the modem mass media have in any tangible way influenced Indian culture which itself is an extremely composite phenomenon, and impossible to define precisely. Indeed, the word ‘culture’ too is so comprehensive that it encompasses every facet of our lives from the most superficial to the most profound and intimate.
Mass Communication does influence (and even reflect) social, values and practices, but this influence is always in combination with a whole lot of other socio-cultural and economic and political factors. By themselves, the media have little power to influence, change or develop.
For instance, Hindi films may start new fashions for men and women in the areas of clothes, hairstyles, manner of speech (the use of ‘yaar’ for example, or the sprinkling of conversation with English expressions), manner of greeting, v or ways of socializing. We may even go to the extreme of acting out what we see or hear in the mass media, say a violent gesture or a protest, but it takes much more than film or TV to change our social and cultural values.
What are the objectives of Communication?
Objectives Of Communication
Objectives in the Societal Context. The following objectives are crucial –
1. Gives Commercial Information. Communication informs the targeted audience about new; products, services, and concepts that they can buy or use. These products, services, and concepts can be old or new for the targeted receivers. Thus, communication informs the new targeted audience about old products, services, and concepts. It also informs the targeted audience about new products, services, and concepts with equal finesse. Example: Ads of clearance sales.
2. Educates. It has to educate the members of the society through various media tools. Example: Books are used to study and enhance knowledge levels.
3. Ensures Socio-political Enlightenment: It has to keep the society abreast of the news, views, and concepts that are relevant to its immediate neighbourhood, other societies, the nation, and world. Hence, the onus of responsibility of making enlightened and elite – I individuals in a society lies mass communication. Example: News about a semester is telecast on TV and our masses learn how he has duped the public.
4. Disseminates General/Civic Information. It has to provide vital daily¬, use data through -! TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, videotext, Teletext etc that could be used by the members of the society to carry on the daily routines of their lives. Example: Teletext services provide information about the arrival and departure of trains.
5. Entertains. It has to entertain the members of a society through some mass media tools to make them relaxed and prepared for their next bouts of tough life. Example: A child plays Internet games in a Net parlour.
6. Helps in Decision Making: It has to inform the society about various phenomena or events – so that its members could take situation-specific decisions for avoiding, using cr facilitating such phenomena. Example: People cast their votes when the media urge them to do so; hence, they keep the democratic traditions of a country alive and morally upright.
7. Persuades. Communication motivates people take some actions in their own interest or in the interests of the place, society, nation, or the world.
8. Reinforces. It continuously impinges upon the minds of the audience and tells them about various products, services, concepts. These concepts need not be of a commercial nature. Certain communication exercises are executed to keep the audience informed and make them take certain actions. Such actions or behaviour patterns develop the audience and/or preserve the social, political, environmental, or intellectual norms in which these audiences thrive.
9. Transforms. Through its wide reach, communication transforms the society. It gives information to the element!! of the society; such sets of information could be related to local polity, economy, health, sports, entertainment, global polity, the sciences, IT etc. Hence, it changes their thought processes and makes them modem human beings. In this context, its I powers are incredible! Mass communication has the capability of transforming traditional non-participant societies into modem participant societies.
10. Dissuades. Communication acts, in the societal context, to dissuade the masses from doing such things, or buying such products or services as are harmful to their health or to the society in general.
Objectives Of Communication In An Organisation –
The basic objective of communication in an enterprise is to influence the actions of people towards well-defined goals or actions. It is essential at two levels, as follows –
Objectives in the Internal Environment of an Organisation. Communication is essential for the internal operations of the organisation because it integrates various activities of that organisation. Communication helps the management of a firm manage most effectively. All the three levels of management-strategic, tactical and operational-depend upon finely designed (and transferred) messages that, in turn, deliver concrete results in the organisational context. Today’s corporate world is Tout a fait dedicated to the art and science of effective communications. Every manager must learn how to communicate with the members-of the external and internal environments of his firm, lest his firm should pay the price of his ineptness in its operational gamut. Read A Kumar, 2002, Effective Business Communication, Khanna Book Publishing Co Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, ISBN 818752299-2.
The goals at this level are primary and secondary. The primary goals are as follows –
- Informs about Goals. It establishes and informs the members of the organisation about its goals.
- Helps Make Plans. It develops plans for the achievement of such goals.
- Effective Leadership Tool. It is used to lead, direct, and motivate people. It helps the top brass create a climate in which, people may like to contribute with zeal and elan. Its aim is to ensure that status and authority of every employee is accepted.
- Powerful Control Tool. It monitors’ the performances of the employees at all the levels. It also controls the working of employees by monitoring their performances and taking corrective actions.
- Ensures Job Satisfaction. It develops an attitude amongthe employees that is necessary for motivation, co-operation, and job satisfaction.
- Prepares Employees for Changes. It prepares workers for organisational changes, which are likely to be implemented in the organisation in the future.
- Ensures Feedback to Superiors. It encourages suggestions from subordinates in work conditions.
- Improves Productivity. It helps in reduction of costs, proper use of materials, time management, work study, time study, and identification of deviations from predefined norms. Thus, it ensures that the productivity of the firm improves.
- Improves Labour-management Relations. It improves labour management relations by keeping both in contact with each other.
- Creates a Fraternity. It satisfies the needs of employees for recognition and a sense of belonging.
The secondary goals are as follows –
- Checks Rumours and Grapevine. Communication helps the managers of a firm stop Or check gossips, rumours, and grapevine.
- Elicits Suggestions. It elicits suggestions from subordinates for improvement of work conditions and environment within the firm.
- Satisfies Employees. It satisfies the needs of employees of a sense of belonging to the firm. It also helps the management improve the Quality of Work Life (QWL). Hence, the employees feel that they are loved by the firm.
- Performs Auxiliary Functions. It maintains intra-organisational relations through informal communication channels.
- Entertains. It entertains ‘employees, though on rare occasions, through informal get togethers, parties, and festival celebrations.
Objectives In The External Environment Of An Organisation
The objectives in the context of the external environment are as follows:
1. Promotes. It advertises the products, services, and policies of the firm for the sake of knowledge of the customers of the firm.
2. Informs about Changes. It informs customers about changes in a product or product lines.
3. Builds Image. It builds a healthy image of the company in the media so that shareholders maintain their faith in the company and new investors are attracted to invest in it. It also creates a clean image of the company in the government and bureaucratic corridors so that financial and legal hassles are minimal for the company.
4. Informs about the Social Responsibilities of Business. It informs the society, concerned government institutions, and NGOs about the social work, charity work, and environmental issues handled by the company so that a clean and humanity-oriented image could be formed in the minds of masses and the officials of the government.
5. Manipulates the Publics, the State Organs, and NGOs. It uses propaganda, PR, and publicity for achieving the long-term and short-term goals of the firm. These goals can be achieved if it wins the publics, various ministries and/or departments of the government, and NGOs in its favour; It uses propaganda, PR, and publicity to do so; this is the latest trend in the realm of communication and seems irreversible at least for now.
Discuss Communication Functions.
Functions in the Organisational Context. Communication is one of the most basic functions of management. In fact, a manager is only communicating while he is getting work done from people. Therefore, it forms a basic framework for getting things done. It forms a bedrock foundation for management by objectives, long range strategic goal setting, strategic planning, Organisational Development (OD), organisational effectiveness, decision making, and formation of information links within and outside the firm. All the managers communicate the goals and modus operandi of actions (to achieve such goals) to their subordinates. They also indulge in communication of various types to control the activities of their juniors to achieve the desired results for the firm. The quality of information transferred would dictate whether the manager could get things done or not.
In the organisational context, the communication function is the mode by which, an organised “activity is unified. If an organisation has to operate as an integrated unit, it is important for the top management to keep the lower-level supervisors and employees informed about the ultimate objectives of the organisation. The expectations from individuals for the realisation of those objectives should also be delineated in an explicit manner.
By exchanging information freely, the management takes employees into confidence, prepares them for changes, avoids misunderstanding and removes it if it develops. Ii also makes them knowledgeable about the policies of the enterprise and the problems being faced by it.
Let us study the following facets of communication in the organisations of the new century:
1. Assists in Decision Making. Within an organisation, communication helps its executives take various types of decisions. The executives of the organisation also take decisions, through effective communications, to interact with the dynamic external environments.
2. An Essential Tool for Direction. When a manager manages his subordinates, his only tool is-the transfer of certain sets of information; his effectiveness depends upon his ability to communicate such sets of; .formation.
3. Keeps the Employees Enlightened. It fulfils desires of the workers for awareness of those variables that affect them.
4. Informs the Employees Informed About Their Obligations. It serves to make the employee aware of his obligations towards the: organisation.
5. Directs with Finesse. Direction is one of the basic functions of management. Communication is used to give directions to people work ‘ .g in an organisation; such an organisation could be a government department, small trading .house, corporate firm, social service group or an NGO. Direction cannot be done without an effective and finely designed communication system. An order can either be a direct command or an implied’directive. In the present age, ego clashes among subordinates as well as those between superiors and their subordinates are increasing in tenns of number and intensity of conflict.
Hence, if the goal, of an organisation or individual are to be achieved, superiors must order their junior without hurting their egos. Participative management is the key to success in the direction function. Communication helps the superior get work out of his junior without disturbing his ego set. MBO is another technique that helps superiors give orders and inspections in a way that is not deemed offensive by their juniors. Today’s communication is soft, clear, direct, tactful. Giving orders to a junior has no longer the allusion of a domineering character of the boss. Rather, it represents his friendly attitude toward his junior who, in turn, performs his duty due to his inner motivation, sans any rancour for his boss. The ‘bosses’ of yesterday have been replaced by the friendly, empathetic, and helpful ‘seniors’ of today, thanks to developments in the field of communication.
6. Co-ordinates Employee’s Actions. Communication of messages helps senior managers relate the activities of workers so that their efforts compliment one another rather than oppose one another.
7. Promotes Leadership Effectiveness. Leaders are managers and executives. They would be outstanding only if they were in the possession of the abilities to, communicate ideas and information sets clearly to their juniors.
8. Builds Good Employer-Employee Relations. Communication helps in developing healthy employee-employer relations. It may cement an organisation or disrupt it. It is a mechanism through which, the organisation delivers outputs. Although communication is not visible, its impact and spirit are discursively visible when the organisation acquires a reputation on account of good communication abilities of its members. The effectiveness of an organisation depends upon the effectiveness of its communication patterns.
9. Facilitates the Basic Management Process. Good communication is the foundation of sound management practices. The management succeeds in establishing links between different management functions-planning, organising, staffing, directing, and controlling-through a neatly defined communication system.
10. Interacts with the Members of the External Environment. The communication system should also be defined while dealing with the members of the external environment. Most of the organisations, especially those working under the aegis of the State, tend to ignore this vital rudiment.
11. Gives Feedback of the Lower Cadres. Communication encourages making suggestions and implementing them whenever it is feasible to do so. Grievances and complaints are heard and necessary actions are taken to eliminate the same.
12. Acts as a Basis for MBO. Communication helps in setting of departmental goals, productivity norms and individual goals in an organisation. Without effective communication in a department, the goals of juniors cannot
be set by a superior (because the junior himself sets such goals in the MBO process).
13. Evaluates Performances for Control: Within an organisation, communication helps the senior manager evaluate the performances of his juniors. For this purpose, he uses reports – verbal and written-submitted by his juniors. Hence, it is a tool for appraising the contribution of an individual to an organisation. Outside an organisation, evaluation is done through mass media research activities. Gallup polls, TRPs (of television serials), studies to calculate reach of various media, and print media circulation are some of the activities that determine how successful a particular communication exercise has been.
Naturally, the targeted audiences are required to give their responses and preferences when they are contacted by media researchers. These procedures require the tenets of communication. Individual and group interviews are also communication tools. These are carried out to evaluate the eligibility of candidates for various jobs. Effective communication ensures that there are no delays, bottlenecks, and misunderstandings in relation to work reports, sales reports, and suggestions submitted by the employees to their bosses. Thus, it acts as a tool t or controlling the performances of the employees of a firm.
14. Builds a Corporate Image. David Ogilvy’s Brand Image Theory has miraculously transformed the corporate scenario. Today, people do not buy products and services; they buy brands and images associated with them. New brands are created and carefully established in the markets. These brands help their promoters effect sales. Thus, these firms grow due to their reputed brands. Communication helps the firm build its brand. TV and the print media have taken a lead in this multi-trillion Dollar race.
The advertisements for building brand image need not sell the products/services related to those brands. Rather, the mangers of the firm wait until such communication exercises have built brand images in the targeted market niches. They are not in a hurry to generate sales volumes after just one ad campaign. Once, they establish brand image, they reap rich harvests in terms of sales revenues (and profit). Further, brand image of the firm is also important. Special methodologies are used to inform the targeted customers about the presence, “fine quality” and ‘credibility’ of the brand names previously created by the campaigns of the past. That is why, the advertising expenditures (Ad Spend) of reputed firms and MNCs are spiraling. Image building is a continuous function and communication strategies are different for different types of products and services in this context.
15. Makes and Implements the Policies of the Top Brass: Good communication in upward, lateral and downward directions is essential at all the authority levels for formulating, interpreting, and implementing the polieies of the top brass of the firm.
Functions In The Individual Context –
The following functions are vital –
(a) Gives Knowledge. It provides knowledge to individuals so that they could be take actions in various spheres of their lives. Example: A candidate reads a book to get through the UGC examination and become a lecturer.
(b) Writes Commercial Success Stories. It gives him information that can be used by him to grow in materialistic terms. Example: A businessman reads The Financial Times and uses the data given in it to earn millions on the bourses.
(c) Helps in Socialisation. It gives data and information to the individual so that he could lead a fuller life in his family, peer group, firm, and society. Example: Young people use Net cafes for making e-pals.
(d) Enforces Behavioural Patterns. It encourages the individual to v perform the predefined tasks or exhibit certain behaviour patterns. Example: A woman buys pasteurised milk because she leams from a TV ad that this milk is good for the health of her children.
(e) Creates Legends: It makes the individual a go-getter in career terms. Example: Abraham Lincoln was successful in life, though the initial years of his life were fraught with fiascoes and uncertainties. That was because he became a great communicator (orator) and later, the President of the USA.
Functions In The Context Society And Mass –
Many authors have criticised the advent of communication boom and highlighted its ill effects on the masses and society. However, we consider communication as the amorous amigo of man without which, he cannot cross the turbulent ocean of life. It has evolved from a primitive configuration (in which, traditional media had reigned supreme) into an avant-garde superstructure (in the age of IT and super-electronics). This force is affecting, or perhaps changing, all the spheres of human endeavour. Let us study its functions in the societal context. These are as follows:
1. Provides Information. Communication informs the individuals or groups about some subject or topic that directly affects their operations or lives. It informs the masses about the products, services, thoughts, concepts, ideologies, and socially relevant issues. Messages are transmitted to targeted individuals or groups by an individual, a group or an organisation. The motive behind this exercise need not be earning money at all times.
2. Educates. Communication educates people and makes them erudite on various fronts. Examples: The Vidya Vahini Scheme of the Government of India is helping millions get education. In many organisations, on-the-job training is imparted through state-of-the-art techniques. In schools, colleges, universities, and other centres of learning, modem electronic communication modes are assisting students. These new gadgets help students get the advanced sets of knowledge through systematic modus operandi. The education boom is at its peak and the credit for its present status goes to communication.
3. Motivates. Communication motivates the targeted audience through various messages. It can:
(c1) persuade the targeted subjects to buy products and/or services;
(c2) generate enthusiasm in the minds of the targeted subjects to develop or modify views on particular issues; and
(c3) dissuade them from eschewing some habits, products or services that are harmful to them or to the society in general.
4. Helps In Societal Transformation. Communication changes the opinions of the targeted audiences regarding various social issues, dogmas, and taboos. It endeavours to break the shackles, which have stunted our growth as a society or nation. It addresses many vital issues through the print media, broadcast media (radio and TV), audiovisual media (cinema, slides with VO), visual media (hoardings, neon signs, banners, posters etc), and the Information Superhighway (Internet).
Further, communication also helps the targeted audiences get vital data or sets of information related to global polity, music, arts and crafts, changing tastes and preferences, and terrorism. The messages transacted through various media vehicles develop our society and keep its components apprised of the latest trends in societal evolutions. This is primarily done through mediate communication.
5. Performs Incidental Neutral Functions. Communication also discharges several incidental and neutral functions. Many messages may not be connected with the achievement of the goals of an organisation. Communication sometimes contributes to these goals in an indirect manner. It also indirectly contributes to the satisfaction of individual needs, which are compatible with the goals of the organisation. Examples: Social contacts within the form and outside are the examples of these vital functions.
6. Builds an Image: We have explained this concept. Individuals and non-business organisations can also indulge in mass communication exercises to build image in the minds of the masses.
7. Assists in Decision Making. Decisions are taken by publics, NGOs, government and organs thereof, targeted customers, and social action groups of the society. This happens only when messages of various communication exercises deliver right sets of data at the right moments to such individuals or groups. Hence, communication helps the masses make commercial and noncommercial decisions.
Views Of Karl Rosengren On Communication Functions –
According to Karl E Rosengren, communication performs four distinct functions, as follows—
- Informative Function. Communication informs people about various issues and concepts through statements and answers to questions. ‘
- Control Function. Communication controls the activities and behaviour patterns of people through orders and instructions.
- Social Function. Communication helps people socialise through anyone or a combination of five types of statements or verbal expressions, which are-statement, question, order, declaration, and exclamation.
- Expressive Function. Communication gives explanations to various phenomena concepts, and ideologies.
What are forms of Communication process? Discuss its elements.
The communication Process. According to A.B. Shanmugam “Communication process is sharing or participating in the novel changes 1 occurring in existence, including knowledge, experience, sensation, and thought.” The main forms of communication are as follows:
Intrapersonal Communication. Intrapersonal Communication is individual reflection, contemplation and meditation. Transcendental meditation, for instance, is an example of such communication. Conversing with the divine, with spirits and ancestors, may be termed ‘transpersonal’ communication. This is a vital experience in the religious and monastic life, in ashrams and places of prayer, and among aboriginal and tribal communities.
Interpersonal/Face-to-face Communication. Interpersonal Communication is direct face-to-face communication between two persons. It is, in other words, a dialogue or a conversation without the intervention of another person or a machine like the telephone or a two-way radio or television set-up. It is personal, direct, and intimate, allowing for maximum interaction and exchange in word and gesture.
Indeed, it is the highest, the most perfect form of communication that two persons can attain. It is more persuasive and influential than any other type of communication such as group communication or mass communication, for it involves the interplay of words and gestures, the warmth of human closeness and in fact all the five senses. All interpersonal exchange is, therefore a communion and a sharing at the most intimate and open level. It is total communication for it takes within its compass words, body movements, physical characteristics, body odours, and even clothes.
This is not to deny that interpersonal exchanges can be used by confidence tricksters’ and conmen to throw wool over people’s eyes. A man may smile and smile and yet be a villain for all wt know. That perhaps explains why we cherish our privacy, and are constantly on our guard in face-to-face, encounters, much more so than in group or mass gatherings. Only the ones who have our trust, and have proved themselves are allowed to cross the barriers of an intimate relationship. Most are kept at a distance.
Business Communication. In the area of business communication that distance is ritualized. For instance, interpersonal exchanges between a medical representative and a doctor or that between a manager and a clerk, are generally carried out on a professional level. As the saying goes they usually ‘ talk shop ’, but on occasions, even business chatter can lead to close and abiding friendships. That potential lies in the nature of interpersonal communication; hence the frequent barriers we raise lest people invade our space, our ‘territory’.
According to Konrad Lorenz and Desmond Morris, the ethologists, animals and birds often turn aggressive when their territories are invaded by outsiders. This is because of the ‘territorial imperative” – the obsession with protecting one’s space. The elephant has his herd, the lion his pride, the wolf his pack, and the birds and bees their nests and hives. Any encroachment from other groups is resented, and fought off, sometimes violently. Human beings react in an equally savage manner when their spatial privacy is encroached upon.
In European cultures, it is considered bad manners and bad communication to get too close (literally and figuratively) and too intimate unless you have been permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum of another. Among Indians and Arabs, however, physical closeness in Interpersonal Communication does not generally imply intimacy, nor does constant gazing into each, other’s eyes. This is a part of West and South Asian cultures. According to Buddhism, the four social emotions that should guide interpersonal communication are: metta (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), murdita (sympathetic joy) and upekkha (equanimity).
Focused and Unfocused Interactions. Interpersonal communication is conducted on the basis of focused and unfocused interactions. In his book Behaviour in Public Places, Erving Goffman argues that most interpersonal communication is of an unfocused nature. It takes place whenever we observe or listen to persons with whom we are not conversing, for instance in buses, trains, lifts or in public places like stations, bus stops, or on the street. It’s the kind of activity we indulge in when we are ‘people watching’ without their being aware we are doing so. And what do we come to know about them? Our inferences may not all be valid or meaningful, but the fact remains that we do make inferences all the time about people.
The young man who passe: us by in a street dressed in pyjama and kurta evokes different associations from one clad in jeans and a jazzy shirt, depending of course on our own background, and the location of the street. The girl in a simple cotton sari, with her hair tied in a ‘plait’ say in a city like Bombay, conveys different impressions from the girl in a dress and with her hair bobbed. Additional sources of information about these persons are height, weight, and build. For instance, a well-built tall man is regarded as handsome, a stout fat woman as ugly, a thin wiry figure as athletic.
Body movements such as gestures, the manner of standing, sitting or walking too convey certain meanings to us. Very broad gestures and loud talk, for example, arc considered uncouth in polite society, but not necessarily so among working class groups. Thus it is that we draw conclusions on a person’s qualities, cultural and religious background, socio-economic status, political ideology and other preferences without ever speaking to him or to her.
Focused interactions. Focused interactions, on the other hand, result from an actual encounter between two persons. The persons involved are fully aware that they are communicating with each other. Sitting or standing face-to-face either close or distant, they know fully well that they are exchanging both verbal and non-verbal messages, though they may not realize how these messages are being interpreted. Also, they are generally not conscious of the meanings they are conveying through ‘body language’.
An unfocused interaction usually is set off by eye contact. The meeting of eyes indicates that both parties are willing to have an interpersonal exchange. The turning away of eyes, on other hand, cuts off the attempts to come together and start a conversation. It shows lack of interest. Similarly, reduction in eye involvement during a conversation is a non-verbal signal which indicates that it is time to bring the conversation to a close. Indeed, there is no more effective way of ending a face-to-face interaction than refusing to continue eye contact.
The Three Stages of Interpersonal Communication. The Phatic Stage: The initial exploratory stage of communication determines the course conversation will take. This first stage is known as the phatic period (from the Greek “phasis”, an utterance). It begins with a “Hi!” or a “Hello! How are you?”, “Good Morning” or even a simple ‘namaste’ or ‘vanakkam’ or ‘ Jairam’. The accompanying gestures are the meeting of the eyes, a smile, perhaps a handshake, and moving in closer to a talking distance. In a formal encounter, the distance is greater (though not among all cultures) than an informal friendly meeting. The conversation then may veer to talk about the weather or queries like “How’s life?”, “How are things with you?” What have you have been doing with yourself?’, “What’s the news?”, “How are the’ folks at home?”
The Phatic stage is, therefore, a warming-up time during which ritualized greetings are exchanged. In themselves, the words and gestures exchanged during this period do not mean much. Indeed, the questions asked are not meant to be taken literally. They are only a formalised manner of showing interest and attention. They are a way of saying “I am glad to have met you. Let’s have a chat”.
The answers we give to the queries made are equally formalised. “I’m fine, thank you”, for example is a stock reply even if you’re not doing too well. No deception is involved at all: what we are doing through words is merely sending signals that we would like to have a conversation. So at this stage we don’t literally mean what we say, but we mean well. It’s the meaning after all, and not the words that really matter. The words are only symbols or ways of getting across. The meaning is more often than not behind the words rather in them. More accurately, meaning lies in a situation and a _ context, seen not so much in isolation but in a social and cultural environment.
This is as true of verbal as of non-verbal communication. For instance, the North Indian’s gesture of touching an elder’s feet connotes respect and reverence among people of that culture, but is considered a demeaning gesture in the cultures of the south and the north-east. The phatic stage then is patterned ’ according to social and cultural norms and rituals.
The Personal Stage. The second stage, called the personal stage, introduces a more personal element into the. conversation. During this period we generally lower our social guard a little and are prepared to take some risk in exposing ourselves and our feelings. Having moved on to this personal stage, we are likely to be willing to talk about personal matters such as one’s profession, the family, health problems and the like. If, on the other hand, we were hesitant to enter this stage, we would have broken off the conversation at the phatic stage itself or continued talking in a formal manner. Professional discussions rarely go beyond the personal stage. Most business communication, therefore, takes place at this level, for it does involve personal interests and we are rea ly to go along to promote them.
The Intimate Stage. This stage is reserved for friends and relatives, the degree of intimacy depending upon the closeness of the relationship. To some we open our hearts out completely; to others, though good friends, we are reluctant to tell all. Nevertheless, it’s a stage when social barriers fall and we are at ease; interpersonal communication achieves its highest form in this mode, and words seem inadequate. Says Robert Shuter, “In this period, ‘ communicators reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings – their fears and joys, weaknesses and strengths. Marked by intimate revelations, this stage is reserved for individuals who have established a deep union, one based on love, respect and understanding”.
Group Communication. Group communication shares all these qualities, though in a much less measure. The larger the group the less personal and intimate is the possibility of exchange. In fact, as the group grows in size communication tends to become more and more of a monologue, for participation becomes problematic. The degree of directness and intimacy, therefore, depends upon the size of the group, the place where it meets, as also the relationship of the members of the group to one another, and to the group leader.
Group communication is thus a more complex process than interpersonal communication. The level of mutual participation and understanding among the members suffers as a result. In Interpersonal Communication too understanding and participation may not be complete, especially if the non-verbal cues and the sociocultural contexts are not paid attention to. However, the possibility of checking up and correcting misunderstanding is much quicker and easier in much interpersonal communication.
Feedback is the key word here. While in interpersonal communication, feedback is instantaneous, it is not so in group communication. What is more, it allows for instant response to feedback received. In Group Communication, on the other hand, feedback is more difficult to measure, and to respond to. It takes time before meanings are clarified and responses assessed. That explains why the art of effective public speaking (an example of one-way top-down ” communication) is more necessary at the group level than at the interpersonal level. Feedback is a term from cybernetics, the study of messages, particularly of effective message control. When feedback is employed for this kind of social engineering, as in advertising, it is no more communication but – propaganda and manipulation.
Face-to-face communication, nevertheless, is more persuasive and influential, particularly in an unequal communication situation. It involves the interplay of words and gestures and above all, the warmth of human closeness. No wonder, advertising people still depend on door-to-door salesmen and salesgirls even where the mass media such as radio, television and the press are widespread.
Sincerity and enthusiasm are far easier to convey, and to react to in a face-to-face situation. In Group Communication, particularly where the group is large, deception and pretence cannot be detected immediately. That must be the reason why ‘acting’ is associated with Group Communication. The theatre, religious services, dance performances, carnivals, the Kumbh Mela, Rama Lila, Rasa Lila aim of rhetoric is the search for all possible means of persuasion.
Perhaps the most widely quoted definition of mass communication in terms of Aristotelian rhetoric is that of Harold D. Lasswell, the American political scientist. He stated that ‘a convenient way to describe an act of . communication is to answer the following questions:
In Which Channel
To Whom L
With What Effect?’
Lasswell saw communication as performing three functions: surveillance of the environment, correlation of components of society, and cultural transmission between generations. Such a mechanistic and ‘effects’ approach to communication was to influence communication theory for decades to come. Essential to this understanding were the notions of transmission and transfer of information for intended effects.
A definition on similar lines was given by Berelson and Steiner: ‘The transmission of information, ideas, emotions, skills, etc., by use of symbols- words, pictures, figures, graphs, etc. It is the act or process of transmission that is usually called communication’.
The primary goal of communication, according to Western communication theory, is influence through persuasion. Osgood’s definition is an illustration. In the most general sense, he explains, we communicate whenever one (the system), (the source), influences another, (the destination), by manipulation of alternative signals which can be transferred over the channel connecting them.
The Shannon and Weaver Model. The effects-oriented models or approaches to mass communication derive from Shannon and Weaver’s Mathematical model of communication. Shannon and Weaver conceived of communication as a system composed of five essential parts plus ‘noise’: (1) an information source, (2) a transmitter, (3) a channel, (4) the receiver, and (5) the destination. As engineers during World War II at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in the United States, their primary concern was finding out the most efficient means of using the channels of communication (the telephone cable and the radio wave) for the transfer of information, ‘they, however, claimed that the mathematical model they worked out as a result of their research at Bell, was widely applicable to human communication as well.
Wilbur Schramm, whose theories have influenced much Indian planning on the role of communication in development, adapted Shannon and Weaver’s model to human communication, but stressed the encoding and decoding aspects as crucial. He defined communication as ‘the sharing of information, ideas or attitudes’. He endorsed the Aristotelian principle that communication always requires at least three elements – source, message and destination.
The encoding and decoding of the message were the most important components to him. As he explained: Substitute ‘microphone’ for encoder, and ‘earphone’ for decoder and you are talking about electronic communication. Consider that die ‘source’ and ‘encoder’ are one person, ‘decoder’ and ‘destination’ are another, and the signal is language, and you are talking about human communication. In a communication model he developed with Charles Osgood, Schramm suggested that communication was circular in nature, where both the sender and the receiver were involved in encoding and decoding, and were èqual pártnerš in the exchange.
Berlo, on the other hand, saw communication as a “process’ and the events and relationships of this process as dynamic, on going, ever-changing, continuous. He argued that you cannot talk about the beginning or the end of communication or say that a particular idea came from one specific source, that communication occurs in only one way and so on. He termed this the ‘bucket’ theory of communication wherein ideas were dumped from the source into a bucket – such as a film, a lecture, a book, a television program or what have you – and shipped the bucket over to the receiver and dumped the contents v into his head.
In sum, Western communication theories and the models. In sum, Western communication theories and the models (especially of development communication) built on them have been largely unilinear, wrongly postulating a mechanical notion of communication as the transmission of information from active sources to passive receivers. Further, these individual-based models wrongly assume that communication is an act, a static phenomenon privileging the source, not a dynamic process involving all elements in a social relationship.
Recent Development. In recent years, however, the focus in Western communication theory has shifted-from mechanistic ‘effects’ models of communication acts to those concerned with communication relationships, and the communication ‘experience’. Semiotic models look at communication as ‘social interaction through messages’. The focus of attention in these models is language (both verbal and non-verbal) as a sign-system; how ‘meaning’ is generated and understood is central to this approach.
The crucial questions the semiotic approaches address are: What is a Sign? What is the Meaning of Signs? What is the relationship between signs, users and external reality? The user is seen as active, as a creator of meaning, as one who makes his or her own meaning. Meaning is thus not so much in the words, gestures or symbols (the ‘text’) but in the cultural interpretation of the participants (the ‘readers’) ‘ of the communication experience. The semiotic approaches to communication are based on the work of C.S. Pierce, who established the American tradition of semiotics; C.K. Ogden and I. A. Richards of Britain; and the Swiss linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure.
Discuss the possibilities of Mass Communication. What is its utility for society?
Mass Communication – Possibility And Utility For Society
Mass Communication : Possibility. Possibility of Mass Communication involves effects of its media.
‘Media effects’ mean different things to different people. A psychologist, foi xample, has ‘psychological’ effects in mind when talking about media effects; the sociologist, the ‘social’ effects, the anthropologist, the ‘cultural’ effects, the political scientist the ‘political’ effects, the economist the ‘economic’ effects, the preacher, the ‘moral’ effects, ‘the advertiser, the ‘market’ effects… and so on.
Parents too are concerned about the amount of time their children spend with television, music, comics, and films, and the effects this might have on their children’s behaviour and attitudes. Then there are school teachers who worry about their students’ exposure to adult material, and the police who scapegoat the media for social violence and delinquency. So, any attempt to understand ‘effects’ must necessarily take into account from whose perspective the ‘effects’ are being investigated.
Types. ‘Effects’ are of various types and verious gradations too. They may be short-term, medium-termor long-term; they may be deep or profound, or transient or superficial as in the case of fashions, mannerisms, and life¬styles. Then there are influences of a passing nature or a more permanent nature.
Can influences be termed as ‘effects’? How are ‘influences’, ‘effects’ distinct from ‘impacts’, or are they mere synonyms for the same social phenomena? Few media sociologists have subjected the inadequacy of everyday language to fathom the complexity of media effects to any kind of critical scrutiny.
Media. But what precisely are ‘the media’? Are they the technologies (printing presses, the telegraph, telephones, radio and TV sets, audio and video recorders, video and movie cameras, satellites, computers, etc.) or the’ genres’, the ‘programmes’ (the software) or the contents of individual media? Or, are they the cultural and entertainment industries which are . .day one of the fastest growing businesses owned by large media conglomerates? Or, are they the many media organisations involved in the production, distribution and exhibition of media materials? The sheer imprecision in all talk about ‘the media’ and ‘effects’ seems to be characteristic of the social sciences. But then, it must be conceded, the social sciences are not ‘ exact’ sciences like the physical and natural sciences. For, while the social sciences study human beings and their behaviour in different situations, the natural sciences study minerals, plants, and animals.
Moreover, social scientists and media professionals rarely consider the infinite variety of ‘uses’ the different media and the different programmes are put to, in different contexts. In most cases, the use of the term ‘effects’ is misleading because it suggests that the media “do something” to people, as though people are inorganic creatures, who do not bring their own personalities to play in the communication process. If also implies that the media are actors, and that the people are acted upon. So while the media are active, audiences . are unresponsive ifnotpassive. These assumptions aboutmedia and audiences have their origin in Aristotelian linear models of communication where persuasion is seen as the primary goal of all communication.
Little Knowledge. The truth is that we have little precise knowledge or proven data about media effects since they invariably take place in combination with a whole lot of social, enjiiomic and cultural variables. Do effects relate to change, however slight; in attitude and behaviour (both elusive terms and ” comprehensive in meaning)? Perhaps. The extent of change (if any) depends on the variations in the desires and inclinations of individual members of an audience, and in the way they as individuals and as members of different social and cultural groups respond to various types of stimuli from the mass media. It has to be noted, moreover, that people can be influenced without paying attention and without changing at all, that there is often no relationship between what a person learned, knew or recalled on the one hand and what he did or how he felt on the other! It follows therefore that one can learn things ‘ without believing them, believe things without doing them, and do things without learning or believing them!
Interaction, Not Effects. The ‘interaction’ (a much more accurate term than ‘effects’) between media and human beings is an extremely complex w phenomenon. It becomes even more complex when we realize that there are a great variety of media offering numerous programme genres, and also the fact that there are a whole, variety of people and groups listening, viewing, reading in a countless number of socio-cultural environments. Perhaps, the only safe conclusion on ‘effects’ (or’ interactions’) of the media is that arrived at by Bernard Berelson several years ago: ‘Some kinds of communication on some kinds of issues, brought to the attention of some kinds of people under some kinds of conditions have some kinds of effects.”
Theories Of Media Effects And Media Uses –
Several theories related to the effects or changes brought about by the media (largely television) on individuals and society have been propounded by both ‘functionalist’ and ‘critical’ schools of communication. The ‘functionalist’ theorists begin with the assumption that the media have a role and a function in society: to stabilise, reinforce and maintain the consensus in society. They do not see the question of power and conflict as a major driving force in society; they assume that the competition among the various groups in society allows for free and fair play, and all groups have an equal chance to dominate and to control.
The ‘critical’ theorists, on the other hand, place the struggle for power among social classes/ groups at the centre of society; the – mass media are invariably employed by the dominant class to propagate its ideology. Further, while the ‘functionalists’ research media effects using empirical quantitative methods, the ‘critical’ theorists are so not much concerned with effects as the cultural and political context in which media experiences take place, the ownership and economics of the media, and the various ways in which audiences ‘read’ the media.
Effects Theories. These theories range from one extreme position of all-powerful wide-ranging effec ts of the media, to the opposing extreme position where the media have no effects at all. At the one extreme are writers and researchers like Marie Winn who take the media, especially television, to be a ‘plug-in drug’. at the other extreme is Joseph Klapper who concluded from his longitudinal research that media succeed only in ‘reinforcing’ old attitudes, habits, and beliefs. In between, are the ‘negotiation’ or interaction theorists who suggest that effects, like meanings of media text®, are ultimately’ negotiated’ by audiences. (This is sometimes termed the ‘mediation perspective’).
Most media theories deal directly with the ‘effects’ of the contents of programmes on opinions, attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and social behaviour. Hie theories have their basis largely in research on television and film, though some in speculation or personal experience.
The largest number of studies have been on the effects of violence in television programmes on the behaviour of children and adolescents, others on the effects of propaganda on personal opinion and on voting behaviour. Since early effects research was based on the ‘persuasion’ model of communication (the Lasswell model and the Shanon- Weaver model, for instance) and carried out by social psychologists, the results often pointed to strong effects, for that is what they were looking for in the first place.
The social contexts in which the media were experienced (say the family, the home, the theatre, the school or the peer group) were rarely taken into account. The stimulus-response experiments to measure effects were frequently carried out in laboratories using mechanical pre-test and post-test methods of research. Thus the results they obtained turned out to be along expected lines.
Reinforcement: Limited Effects Theory. Joseph Klapper and others, for example, believed that media reinforce existing values and attitudes. Only then, after all, can programmes of the media be popular with a majority of I social groups which have an interest in the perpetuation of their own traditions ‘ and statuses. Lazarsfeld and Merton held that the mass media ‘cannot be relied upon to work for changes, even minor changes, the social structure’.
Catharsis and Narcosis. Some mass communication theorists (Lazarsfeld, Merton, and Winn for instance) argue that media have a ‘narcotizing dysfunction’ that distracts audiences from real problems and in fact prevents their doing anything about them. In other words, the mass media, have a drug¬like addictive effect, lulling audiences into passivity and a sense of elation. Exposure to a flood of information, say Lazarsfeld and Merton, may serve to narcotize rather than energize the average reader or listener.
As an increasing amount of time is devoted to reading and listening, a decreasing share is available for organized action. The interested and informed citizen can congratulate himself on his lofty state of interest and information and fail to * see that he has abstained from decision and action…… He comes to mistake knowing about problems of the day for doing something about them.
First proposed in 1948, the theory appears dated particularly after the galvanizing impact together with a combination of many other factors the – mass media had in bringing the Vietnam war to an end, and in throwing Nixon out as a result of Watergate. In India, the press publicity given to excesses of the emergency, particularly through underground literature, did contribute to bringing about end to the Emergency.
Catharsis Theory. Closely related to the ‘narcosis’ theory, is the ‘cartharsis’ theory of media effects. Seymour Feshbach, the main exponent of the theory, argued that the media may have a ‘cathartic’ effect on people that somehow purges them of many anti-social and unfulfilled desires, frustrations and feelings of hostility.
In one of his laboratory studies, Feshbach subjected college students to savage insults and criticism at the hands of experimenters; the experimental group was then shown an aggressive film of a brutal boxing- match, while the ‘control group’ was shown a dull film. When they were later questioned about their opinions of the experimenters, those students who had seen the film on boxing felt less hostile to their experimenters than those students who were shown the ‘control ‘film.
Experiments. However, in an almost identical laboratory ‘experiment by Leonard Berkowitz, the experimenters were introduced to the students as either a boxer or a rhetoric student. The students were then exposed to either a violent boxing film or a neutral non-violent film. Later, they had the chance to give electrical shocks (under the pretext of a separate experiment) to the ‘boxer’ or the rhetoric student. It was found that those students who had seen the boxing film gave the largest number of shocks to the ‘boxer’.
Berkowitz concluded that the boxing film was responsible for the aggressive response of the students. Other experiments have revealed that children in particular are likely to imitate violence in films if the violent actions in the film are rewarded.
Laboratory experiments are by their nature artificial for they cannot re-create the different conditions, environments, and states of mind in which violent films are seen. The reactions to violence in films can be very varied as is well demonstrated in Philip Schlesinger’s work on ‘Women viewing Violence’.
The ‘narcosis’ and ‘catharsis’ theories represent extreme views. So does Ernest Van den Hag’s view that ‘mass communications, taken together are demeaning, debasing and de-personalizing instruments of manipulation at worst; middle-class hedonism at best’. Yet another extreme theory is that of Frederic Wertham which says that the content of the media is ‘corruptive in general and specifically teaches materialism, brutality, antisocial behaviour and callousness towards other humans’.
Incidental Effects-In contrast, Aldous Huxley took the stand that media indeed do teach people things, but most of them are of no consequence; they also have effects, but mostly in unimportant and trivial facets of our lives although we may think that they’ are important. These trivial facets are fashions, mannerisms, mating habits, and food habits. As Schramm, Lyle and Parker found in their study of children and television, ‘television cuuldbe an especially effective agent of incidental learning while the child is still young. This is because at that time it seems so real’s. , ‘
Uses and Gratifications. By the 1950s and sixties, communication researchers began to fine tune their methods and their theories. Elihu Katz, Denis McQuail and Michael Gurevitch introduced what they termed the ‘uses and gratifications’ theory of media effects. They turned their attention to how audiences used the media to live out their fantasy lives and to seek out other gratifications, or even to inform and educate themselves about the world and its people. Thus media ‘effects’ were related to the needs and activities of audiences.
The theory was largely concerned with the selection, reception and nature of response of audiences to the media, the assumption being that individual members in an audience made conscious and motivated selection of channels and programmes. It was also assumed that audiences made supplementary and compensatory uses of the mass media.
Explain the rate of Mass Communication in Developing Societies?
Why should mass-communication help in the growth of a developing country like India? How can it do so?
Role of Mass Communication In Developing Societies
Role of Mass Communication in Developing Countries. We have read the views of experts in this context. After a lot of cogitation and discussion, we have concluded that there are 4 distinct reasons why communication can help India become a developed nation. The government wants to make India a developed nation by 2020. A seemingly ‘ambitious target thorough, it cannot be underscored.
That is because we cannot and should not subdue the ambitions of the State. If the nation does not become a fully developed. State, it is likely to become almost a developed one with only a few mites to go join the club of most advanced nations. Hence, ‘our contention is that we may become a developed nation even after 2020 and communication can help us realise our goal.
We have pointed out earlier that four reasons persuade us to take a favourable view of communication in the context of national development of India. These reasons are as follows :
1. Economic Growth Depends upon It. The history of the world is a testimony to the association of communication with national development. The West has developed because it had concentrated on communication infrastructure, among other aspects of development, during the late fifties and early sixties. Communication helps an economic system grow. That is because individuals, groups, and government organisations indulge in such tasks as help them achieve their-respective goals. The activities or decisions of one organisation become the goals of another organisation.
Hence, the fclient-seller dyads exist in all the parts of the country and their activities fuel economic growth. When groups interact to conduct business, they generate even more revenues for themselves. They deliver products, services, and satisfaction to the markets they serve. The economic system moves due the synergistic efforts of capital, labour, technology, management, basic infrastructure, secondary infrastructure, and tertiary infrastructure. These components of the economy have to work in unison with one another, lest the economic miracle should not come by. Communication helps the policy makers, industry doyen, and the State these elements to generate useful outputs-
2. A Prominent Social Need. We need communication in all the walks of life. People talk, write, read, listen, and view; these are their basic activities to achieve various kinds of goals- In the Indian contekt, our contention is that our communications are not result oriented. At times, they are amorphous, sans purpose, and chaotic. In order to develop the nation, we must develop a mindset to become good communicators. Technologies have arrived at our
doorstep; we must use them effectively to succeed in commercial and societal terms.
3. We are a Non-participant Society. According to Wilbur Schramm, a participant society js liberal, humane, eager to succeed, and fully developed. A non-participant society is not willing to accept new concepts, slow in economic terms, traditional, and an economic fiasco. We are a non-participant society that is moving towards a participant society at a reasonably good pace. Communication can help us become a fully participant society.
4. Global Media Culture Needs Different Communication Strategies for India. McQuail points out that internationalisation of the media leads to a sort of cultural synchronisation. Hamelink has stated that this process implies that the decisions regarding cultural development of a given country are made according to the interests of a powerful central nation. These decisions are imposed with subtle but devastating effectiveness without regard form adaptive necessities of the dependent nation. Due to this invasion effect, the cultures are less distinctive and cohesive. Marshall McLuhan has described the term Postmodern Culture. This culture has no moral standpoint or meaning, except that it is destructive of meaning and anti-Utopian. The global media have been accused of promoting this type of culture.
Homogenisation of the culture of the dependent countries is the prime accusation leveled at the western media. We have to protect our culture and at the same time, imbibe the modem positive cultural values of the West. Hence, finely designed communication strategies and messages are required to inform the Indian masses that: (a) the western modes and contents of communication may not match the cultural norms and values of India to the extent of 100 per cent; and (b) we must always adopt such western values as can be assimilated by our society with ease to develop our nation in economic, political, and social terms.
Hence, country-specific communication is required for a circumspect adoption of the global media culture. Communication must tell us what is wrong in the Indian context (eg, free sex was never a part of our value system) and what ought to be adopted from the western media (eg, e-commerce should always be welcomed as a tool for conducting global business operations).
How Can Communication Help In The Growth Of A Developing Country Like India –
We must use effective communication techniques and technologies to develop a nation like India. The following strategies would prove to be useful in this context:
1. Education at the Mass Level is the Need of the Hour. Despite much hullabaloo, our literacy percentage is 65.38 per cent (Census 2001). Female literacy is even lower ie, 54.18 percent (Census 2001). These percentages include even those people who can either read, write or understand any particular language that they are fully conversant with. This is not a trustworthy benchmark for defining literacy. In order to develop a society, education has to be viewed as a tool for professional, moral, and social enlightenment. Our educational system chums out degree holders, not achievers. Communication can help us change this scenario.
If we want to develop our country, we must create and develop achievers and not docile clerks. Our rural pockets are the backwaters of human civilisation. Initially, proper education at the mass level can help these pockets achieve reasonable levels of literacy. Later, it can help them achieve advanced levels that can be used for developing the masses in professional and intellectual terms. The West is far ahead of us in this context; so are Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and some other V nations of the world.
2. Business Communication Must be Made More Effective. Without effective business communication exercises, we cannot develop as a nation. Our business communication tools are still developing, though we have witnessed sea changes during the past 5 years. In order to develop our country, Internet operations, PoP material, hoardings, leaflets, catalogues, reports, project reports, IOMs, neon signs, books, magazines, and newspapers are the vital tools that can help business enterprises achieve their respective business goals. The tenets of communication can develop business communication, which, in turn, can contribute to the economy of the nation.
3. Communication Among and with Institutions and PSUs Needs Improvement. Most of our institutions are isolated white elephants that are callous towards the needs of the masses. True, privatisation efforts of the State have helped it get rid of many PSUs. However, a lot needs to be done in this context. Not all the PSUs can be privatised. They would have to interact with the masses through avant-garde communication modes. They would also be required to be more empathetic and result-oriented in the new millennium, lest the axe should fall on them.
Hence, privatised PSUs and institutions would have to communicate more effectively to keep on chugging along. The PSUs under the umbrella of the State would have to align their communication policies as well as modus operandi with the broad, mass oriented, and efficient operations of a free market system. Such changes are inevitable, if we want to become an advanced nation. Hence, communication strategies would have to be redefined in the context of the government departments/firms and privatised PSUs.
They must be encouraged to adopt efficient intra-organisational and inter-orgnisational communication practices, which are, sadly, missing as on date. Thus, communication would playa major role in making these institutions and firms tuned with the priorities of the country.
4. Entertainment is Nothing but Glossy Communication. Every country needs efficient tools of entertainment, which is a form of communication. In India, the tools, technologies, and entertainment content have reached a zenith. This is a good sign, though we fear that some of the communications of this genre may dissuade the masses from the commonly adopted modes of entertainment. Read Media Ennui and Media Footle in Chapter 2. Nevertheless, the role of communication in the entertainment industry an never be underscored. Example: Indian cinema is a living example in this context; it represents the dreams and aspirations of millions of our masses.
5. Societal Transformation Cannot be Effected Without Communication. Our political processes, social interactions, and neighbourhood interactions cannot be conducted without effective communication. These are being conducted, no doubt. However, these interactions must be meaningful and result-oriented in the context of the development of the country. The element of fraud in communication is a chief factor that degrades our society.
Examples: The politician promises that given the rise of his part to power, he would get the roads made. He promises many more things when he speaks in public. When he becomes a minister, he fill’s ; his own coffers and puts all the promises in the dustbin. In a neighbourhood, people tend to be friends and use sweet nothings to impress their neighbours.
In fact, they are jealous of their neighbours who have reached new peaks in business, education or materialistic acquisitions. Communication can help fill these voids, if people are willing to communicate with empathy, a humane I approach towards others, and sans excessive doses of ego. Communication can break many barriers between two persons, groups, firms, and societies.
The concept of individualism must be replace with the concept of societal collectivism in India. That is because our society has been built on the bedrock foundation of mass, which, though amorphous and unidentifiable, impinges upon our social values In the West, an individual affects or changes the value system. In India, a group changes the value system and not an individual. Whenever a group starts operating, communication always plays a capital role to ensure that this group succeeds. When the group becomes large enough to be identified as a society, communication becomes all the more vital for its success.
What is the relation ship between Social Change, democracy and developmental Journalism Discuss
Social Change, Democracy And Developmental Journalism
Development as Social Change. ‘Development’ is perhaps one of the most fiercely debated concepts in the contemporary social sciences. The concept is often equated with ‘modernisation’, ‘industrialisation’, ‘social change’, ‘progress’, and’ growth’, and like these other terms is ‘invariably seen as something desirable and positive for society in general, and for the community in particular. Also, ‘development’ as a socioeconomic phenomena is seen as necessary, even inevitable; as good and salutary.
Rarely is development discussed as possibly hazardous and destructive of the c environment, or of social values and cultures. Indeed, rarely is development framed in the context of history, culture and values, or looked at in relative terms. Development is in the main seen as absolute, inevitable, and universal; it is promoted as a laudable goal no matter what the society, the culture, the people and their resources and traditions.
Evolution of Concept. The concept of ‘development’ has evolved since World War II from a narrow economistic term into a comprehensive and dynamic one, taking within its ambit almost every aspect of human existence. For, in its fundamental meaning, all ‘development’ is human development; the focus of development is the human being, the quality of his/her life, and the environment in which that quality of life is sustained.
The early concept of development overlooked the human and the environmental factors. Having been inspired by the Western industrialisation process, the concept was initially restricted to an almost exclusive concern with a narrowly conceived economic dimension and to reliance on a traditional Western market-oriented model of industrialisation and growth. ‘The stress was on modernisation imposed from above, at the expense of tradition and culture.
New Dimensions. New Dimensions were added to the original concept in the fifties. The social dimension, through such aspects as health and education, was then given prominence. But the talk of such notions as ‘functional literacy’ and ‘human resources’ revealed that the concept of development was still dominated by economic growth theories. Rural development and communications were yet to be given any serious thought.
From the seventies, however, the development concept was refined and broadened through the addition of first, the ecological dimensions: population, food, employment, human sentiments, and lately, science and technology including technology transfer. In keeping with the trend today towards more holistic paradigms, there is a growing recognition of still another crucial dimension: the cultural dimension, or seen from another angle, the communications and information dimension.
Development, therefore, is a whole; it is an integral value-loaded, cultural process; it takes in the natural environment, social relations, education, production, consumption and welfare. The approach to development depends upon the local cultural or national situations, not on any outside model. In other words, development springs from the heart of each society, relying on its history and traditions, as also its own strengths and resources as far as possible.
Until the 1960s, economic theories of development explained ‘underdevelopment’ as a consequence of industrial and technical backwardness, while sociological theories put the blame on the superstition and fatalism of the illiterate masses. Thus, the quickest solution to ‘underdevelopment’ was believed to be the borrowing of ‘modernization’ strategies of Western societies, which were deemed to be ‘developed’.
These strategies, however, needed the necessary know-how as well as the capital which the industrialized countries alone could provide at the time. So multinational corporations (MNCs) were allowed to enter the poorer countries to provide this capital and know-how. International aid agencies and financing institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and USAID, too rushed in to assist the poorer countries; so did specialists and advisers in ‘development’. Two such advisers who had a great influence on Indian approaches to development were Wilbur Schramm and Everett Rogers, the first a UNESCO adviser on development communication to the Government of India, and one who helped establish the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.
Development or ‘Alternative’ Journalism. Shelton Gunaratne describes development journalism an integral part of a new journalism that involves ‘analytical interpretation, subtle investigation, constructive criticism and sincere association with the grassroots (rather than with the elite)’. Development or ‘alternative’; journalists reject the ‘mainstream’ Westem-style approach to news’ and news values. They argue that ‘mainstream’ journalism is subservient : to government and private business interests.
They also argue that Westem style journalism aims at upholding, supporting and justifying confidence in the status quo. Development (or developmental) journalism rejects the ‘famous five’ of traditional journalism: balance, consensus, impartiality, objectivity and value-neutrality. It also rejects the traditional news values as the criteria for news selection: timeliness, immediacy, proximity, oddity, conflict, mystery, suspense, curiosity and novelty.
This ‘man-bites-dog’ approach to journalism, according to development journalists, promotes sensationalism, elitism and conservatism, and thus indirectly suppresses the voice of the silent and oppressed majority. Development journalism is thus deliberately pro-Third World, pro-development/liberation, and pro-marginalised and poor groups. The main sources of information for Development Journalism are the poor, the rural the weak, the marginalised, the voiceless, not the powerful, the elite ; or the rich.
The language of alternative journalism differs from ‘the laconic, sterile staccatto of the wire service ticker and ventures boldly into innovative forms of creative prose.’ Further, such an approach rejects the format of the ; ‘inverted pyramid’ structure for news reporting, opting instead for the analytical ; essay or feature-type of writing, with context and the background of issues always spelt out at length. For the development journalist it is not the ‘sound bite’ or the ‘scoop’ or the information ‘leaks’ that make for news as much as social issues and developments in their global and national contexts.
Rather than present news as a series of isolated events with little or no explanation, the development journalist is concerned with explaining ‘why?’ and asking ‘so what?’Development Journalism is thus not propaganda and certainly not government propaganda, as mainstream Anglo-American journalists tend to believe it is. Rather, it could be a partner of government in discovering what sort of development the people want and need, and, what sort of policies the authorities might pursue’.
Beyond this relationship, development journalism is equally an independent investigator of what type of development is taking place; and it is an honest and free critic in pointing out what may be going wrong and what dangers may be building up as a result. Development or alternative journalism is practised by Inter Press Service (IPS), the Rome based international news agency, anq other news services.
Developmental Journalism And Democracy
‘Modernization’ Models of Development Communication. Democracy is the ask one of the struggles of communities, cultures, and of the marginalized, «, and to make their voices heard. Communication should be a process that contains the forces of backlash and the forces of transformation and survival. The human rights dimension needs to be built into the new development paradigm; human survival, and a just, demilitarized and humane society should be the main aims of this development paradigm Human survival is a dynamic ) force projecting a positive alternative to the theory of progress and the goal of affluence, one that finds dignity in genuine equity and in diverse cultures ‘ working out their own strategies in local movements for democracy and autonomy. Global problems, local solutions, are no mere slogan; it is the very condition of human survival.
‘Modernization’. The dominant paradigm of modernisation never really passed. Though communication and development scholars turned their back on it, national governments, the power blocs and the transnationals continued to practise and propagate the old paradigms. ‘Catching up’ with the advanced industrialized countries continues to remain the ambition of national governments. What is more, the new technologies offered governments greater means of control and surveillance over their large populations.
As the eighties drew to a close, there was a vigorous revival of ‘modernization’ both in theory and practice, particularly in the aftermath of rapid developments in telecommunications and the new technologies. Rural development was once again the focus of attention but not through the mass media as much as through ‘telecommunications’. The term ‘telecommunications’ entered the field of development communication in the early eighties and came to include not only the broadcast media but also the telephone and related technologies such as teleconferencing, audio conferencing, and satellite communications. Several rural telecommunications projects were launched – in Alaska, India, Indonesia and the South Pacific – mainly with the assistance of international donor agencies.
Diffusion of Innovations. Rogers developed his concepts and theories of die diffusion of innovations from a synthesis of diffusion research studies in the United States, and in later editions, of diffusion studies in the developing world as well. Rogers defined an ‘innovation’ as ‘an idea perceived as new by the.individuar. ‘It really matters little, as far as human behaviour is Concerned’, he added, ‘whether or not an idea is ‘objectively’ new as measured by the amount of time elapsed since its first use or discovery.
It is the newness of the idea to the individual that determines his reaction to it4 In later, editions, however, an ‘innovation’ is no more just an ‘idea’; it is also a ‘practice or object perceived as new by an individual. ’ Indeed, by the third edition, Rogers begins to use ‘technology’ as a synonym for ‘innovation’, and to urge the adoption of a ‘convergence model’ that stresses the intricacy of interpersonal communication networks’ that are in operation during the process of diffusion.
In the mid-seventies, Rogers proclaimed the ‘passing of the dominant paradigm’ – the modernization model- though apparently excluding his own ‘diffusion of innovation’ model, the basic principles of which were derived from the United States experience of agricultural extension. He propagated his model of modernization in developing countries urging that it had cross- cultural applications. Rogers’ work was in fact an extension of Lemer’s; he adopted Lemer’s notions of ‘empathy’, ‘cosmopoliteness’, and’ attitude change’; his unit of analysis was the individual, and his main concern was with the ‘social mind’, and the change of culture, attitudes and ideas.
Mass Media as ‘Magic Multipliers’. Wilbur Schramm extended the arguments of Lemer and Rogers in favour of ‘modernization’ through the mass media – which he termed ‘the magic multipliers’. His work was part of the efforts of the United Nations and UNESCO for ‘a programme of concrete action to build up press, radio broadcasting, film and television facilities in ‘ countries in the process of economic and social development. The survey itself on which the book was based was carried out by UNESCO during a series of meetings in Bangkok, Santiago and Paris.
To Schramm, as to mainstream social scientists of the time, the mass media were ‘agents of social change’, ‘almost miraculous’ in their power to bring about that change. Schramm argued that ‘the mass media could help accomplish the transitions to new customs and practices (the ‘innovations’ of Rogers) and in some cases, to different social relationships. Behind such changes in behaviour must necessarily lie substantial changes in attitudes, t beliefs, skills and social norms’.
The process, he elaborated was simple: first, the awareness of a need which is not satisfied by present customs and behaviour; second, the need to invent or borrow behaviour that comes close to meeting the need. Hence a nation that wants to accelerate the process of development will try to make its people more widely and quickly aware of needs and of the opportunities for meeting them, will facilitate the decision process, and will help the people put the new practices smoothly and swiftly into effect. Schrammwent further than Rogers in taking account of cultural linkages, in acknowledging ‘resistance to change’ and in urging ‘an understanding participation’.
However, his model of communication was still manipulative of behaviour towards the desired end of innovation adoption; it still cited as empirical evidence a strong correlation between high media exposure and development, Schramm argued forcefully that the mass media had the potential to widen horizons, to focus attention, to raise aspirations and to create a climate for development. They also had the potential to confer status, to enforce social norms, to help form tastes, and could affect attitudes lightly held. He was optimistic about the potential of the mass media (and also the educational ; media such as programmed instruction, language laboratories, electronic digital Computers) in all types of education and training. Unlike Rogers, he conceded though that‘the mass media can help only indirectly to change strongly held attitudes and valued practices’.
He therefore recommended that ‘a developing country should review its restrictions on the importing of informational materials, should not hesitate to make use of new technical developments m communication, in cases where these new developments fit its needs and capabilities. The challenge, he concluded, was to put the resources and the power of modem communication, skillfully and fully behind economic and social development. He described as fortuitous, ‘almost miraculous’ that modem mass communications should be available to multiply informational resources.
So carried away was Schramm by his messianic role that he observed in a final flourish: ‘it is hardly possible to imagine national economic and social development without some modem information multiplier; and indeed, without mass communication probably the great freedom movements and national stirrings of the last few decades would never have come about at all Such was the faith of the purveyors of ‘modernization models.