Monday, September 7, 2009

Ideal Global Knowledge Society

Carey's article begins by comparing the transmission and the ritual view of communication. First, the transmission view, which is how most would define communication, is “a process whereby messages are transmitted and distributed in space for the control of distance and people.” As we read last week, civilizations and empires used innovative methods of communication to conquer, to attain more land, power, and wealth and ultimately to control others. The ritual view is “directed not toward the extension of messages in space, but toward the maintenance of society in time; not the act of imparting information but representation of shared beliefs.” The reason, Carey explains, that in the US the ritual view has not been explored as extensively is because the concept of culture does not play a huge role in American thought. The transmission view is also more common because it is more often defined in this manner. Carey notes that Dewey's work derives from working over these views of communication. Dewey said, “of all things communication is the most wonderful” and Carey adds that this is because it is the basis of human fellowship and it produces social bonds. Basically, this is why society is possible, through the circulation of information and not only the transmission, but also the ritualistic view of communication. Carey compounds on the ritual view, and argues that reality is brought into existence and is produced by communication. Reality is made up of symbols and representations which we define and use to communicate, an example is language. She gives an example of using a map to show a child how to get home from school. Carey offers a different way of looking at communication, not just for transmission and information sharing, but one through which we share our own realities. “We create, express, and convey our knowledge and attitudes toward reality through the construction of a variety of symbol systems; art, science, journalism, religion, common sense, mythology,” she writes. She also notes that people pursue power or feel anxiety in the transmission view, which leads to Thussu's article.

In this particular article, Thussu discusses the theoretical approaches to international communications. He discusses the modernization theory, dependency theory, the global sphere, hegemony, and globalization. The discussion revolves around the way in which Western cultures' information flows, usually one way from developed to undeveloped countries, from north to south or from the center to the periphery. Globalization is compared to cultural imperialism because some argue that the US is trying to simply trying to make other countries more like the US, without keeping others cultures and interests in mind. The capitalist markets have spread globally and communication is facilitating the transnational patterns of marketing and political communication. Thussu mentions that due to globalization, people are being sought out for their purchasing power. Transnational corporations are using modern communication technology as a marketing tool for corporations to obtain more customers. Countries, like the US, are now able to advertise products in many new consumers that were not able to be reached before thanks to the Internet, TV, and film and other communication technologies. The question is if it is possible to internationalize media, cultural and communication equitably to have a global village that is inclusive and that “cuts across disciplinary, ethnic, national and religious boundaries to address the emerging cartography of global communication.” Ideally, if we were to apply a ritualistic view, we would need to, as stated in Carey's article, “share aesthetic experience, religious ideas, personal values, and sentiments, and intellectual notions”. Perhaps focusing on these and not just on the transmission view (government and trade) we could create a model for and of communication and a better global knowledge society.

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