What is Communication? Models of Communication

Claude Shannon & Warren Weaver's Model of Communication

An example of a transmission or process model.

from Mathematical Theory of Communication, 1949

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Shannon and Weaver's Three Main Problems in Study of Communication:

1. Technical Problems: How accurately can symbols of communication be transmitted?

2. Semantic Problems: How accurately do transmitted symbols convey desired meaning?

3. Effectiveness Problems: Does the received meaning affect behaviour in the desired way?














Key Concepts for Shannon and Weaver:

Channel: The physical means by which a signal is transmitted











Medium: The technical or physical means of converting the message into a signal capable of being transmitted along the channel














Three different types of media:

1. Presentational Media












2. Representational Media

Click here












3. Mechanical Media

















Code: A system of meaning-making common to the members of a culture or subculture


Codes consist of signs and rules or conventions that determine how they can be used.















NOISE: Anything added to the signal between its transmission and reception that is not intended by the source (eg. crackling in telephone wire)

Images from early television. An example of "noise."













Redundancy: What is conventional or predictable in a message.

Jingles and here and here and here











Entropy: What is not conventional or predictable in a message.










Feedback: The transmission of the receiver's reaction back to the sender.

From a Buckley's photo album click here














Roman Jakobson's Linguistic Model of Communication

"The addresser sends a message to the addressee. To be operative the message requires a context referred to... a code fully, or at least partially, common to the addresser and addressee... an finally, a contact, a physical channel and psychological connection between the addresser and the addressee, enableing both of them to stay in communication" (Jakobson 1960: 353)















Stuart Hall's Model of Communication --

An example of the semiotic model, Hall's diagram shows that many forces, including the technical infrastructure of communication and frameworks of knowledge, will influence the creation of meaning structures in both the process of encoding and the process of decoding "meaningful discourse."













Magritte's Ceci n'est pas une pipe [This is not a pipe.]

Hall is concerned with the way that representations come to be taken for the "real." That is to say, using this example from the artist Magritte, he is concerned with how the representation of a pipe comes to be taken for the pipe itself without any consideration of how the process of representation alters or transforms what is being represented. By ignoring the process of making a meaningful message at the level of both encoding and decoding we come to "naturalize" representation, forgetting that, for example, the televisual representation of a bombing in Iraq is framed in particular ways demanded by the process of encoding messages in news media.













Encoding and Decoding are not identical processes, nor do they produce identical meanings. Nonetheless, both are informed by ideology, dominant cultural forms and representations. Decoders are not simply recipients of messages but also work to negotiate the meanings that will be made from the message.

Escher, "Ascending and Descending"













Three Interpretive Positions Hall Puts Forward in "Encoding/Decoding" :

1. Dominant Position











2. Negotiated Position











3. Oppositional Position
















Because the same text may be "read" or interpreted differently by different decoders, it is called


("poly-" [many] "semic" [of or related to meaning])









Are You Popular? (1947)
















Reefer Madness AKA: "Tell Your Children"

1936 Anti-Marijuana "Educational" Film Directed by Louis Gasnier.

Movie trailer, full movie,and descent into madness

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