Theories of Communication Syllabus

COURSE COMPACT

Faculty: Communication and Media Studies                                            Department: Journalism & Media Studies

Course Code: CMS 204                                         Unit(s): 2                      Semester: Second

Course Title: Theories of Communication

Lecturer:                                                       Programme: B.Sc.

 

(A). BRIEF OVERVIEW OF COURSE

This is an introductory course which focuses on the major theoretical issues of, approaches to, and applications of communication. The course is an exploration and analysis of major theories that explain the nature, uses and effects of media and communication. It is designed to teach students the relationship between theory and research, including the relevance of research is establishing theories. Theories from various branches of communication, including interpersonal, group/organizational, rhetorical, mass and cultural, will be explored in-depth. Historical, current, and practical critiques of each theory will be conducted. The course also helps students to give critical consideration to the place of theory within the Communication Studies discipline and everyday life. At the completion of this course, students would have an in-depth understanding of how theories shape how people make judgments about reality, relationships, circumstances, and decisions in their lives and in the society.

(B). COURSE OBJECTIVES/GOALS

By the end of this course, students will have learned:

  1. The historical development of communication theories
  2. How to identify and investigate the major theories in the various branches of communication studies
  3. Functions of communication theories
  4. Relationship between communication theories and social, political and technological events/issues in the field of communication
  5. Theories from various branches of communication, including interpersonal, group/organizational, rhetorical, mass and cultural communication
  6. The strengths and weaknesses of basic theories of communication
  7. Approaches to and application of communication theories to research and practice
  8. Current and practical critiques of each communication theory
  9. How to appreciate practical relevance of theory

(C). METHOD OF LECTURE DELIVERY

  1. Lectures
  2. Quizzes
  3. Assignments
  4. Practical Classroom Sessions

(D). COURSE OUTLINE

1. Introduction

Definition of theory

Meaning of communication theory

Origin of mass communication theories

Paradigm shifts in communication theories

Functions of communication theories

Models of communication

2. Approaches to the Study of Communication Theories

(Media use theories, media effects theories, channel/source/message/audience   theories, Post-positivist, Hermeneutic, Critical, Post-positivist, Hermeneutic, Critical, Normative theories, etc.)

3. Normative Theories and their Criticisms

Authoritarian media theory

Soviet-communist media theory

Libertarian or free press media theory

Social responsibility media theory

Democratic participant media theory

Development media theory

4. Source Theories

Agenda setting

Gate-keeping

5. Message Theories

Diffusion of Innovations

Propaganda theory

Framing Analysis

Priming

Discourse Analysis

Social Construction

Two step flow of information

6. Channel Theories

Gatekeeping

Technological Determinism

Social Shaping of technology

7. Audience Theories

Uses and gratifications

Social categories theory

Cultivation Analysis

Social Learning theory

Reception

Spiral of Silence

Hypodermic/Stimulus-Response/Magic Bullet

Diffusion of Innovations

Two step flow

Individual Differences

Selectivity Processes

Knowledge Gap

Perception

Aggressive Cues

Carthasis

Active theory of Television Viewing

The Third- Person Effect

Others

7. Communication and Cultural Theories

Communication Accommodation

Genderlect Theory

Standpoint Theory

Muted Group Theory

8. International Communication Theories

World Systems

Dependency

Structural Imperialism

Cultural Imperialism

Globalization

Hegemony

Public Sphere

Propaganda

9. Relevance of theories in Communication Studies

Relevance of theories

Theories and research tradition in communication

Critical discourse on theoretisation of media, communication and culture

10. Class activities and Assignments

Practical classroom exercises on analysis of theories and application to real world issues

(E). RECOMMENDED TEXTS

Griffin, E. (2012). A first look at communication theory (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

(F). IMPORTANT LINKS

Types of communication theories

Media theories and their relevance to communication practice

Functions of communication theories

Communication Theory (List of theories)

Communication models and theories

Borah, P. (2016). Media effects theories

 

 

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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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