Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Lecture 4: Communications Theory

For this particular lecture is focused on a variety of theories in critical thinking and some information seemed to prove useful on looking at methodologies of communication for the dissertation and the essay this year. It was interesting, the lecture was opened with the quote, "Who says what to whom in what channel with what effect." (Lassnfle's Maxim) summing up the lecture as a whole about picking out and understanding an image or form of communication.

The theories of communication that we looked at were:
1. Cybernetic Theory
2. Semiotics
3. Phenomological Tradition
4. Rhetorical
5. Sociopsychological
6. Sociocultural
7. Critical Communication Theory

Having looked at semiotics last year as an idea of studying hidden signs and such to convey images both consciously and sub-consciously I had a good understanding of this already, looking in the lecture at examples such as packaging of medicine and how the language and complex structures of wording make something seem more structured and sophisticated. Also looking at foreign food produce which when bought in britain seems to which the consumer believes is a more 'cultured' and sophisticated product, having looked at semiotics last year i feel i have a good grasp and appreciate the idea that signs and such may be hidden within advertising but as a consumer myself I find the idea that advertising contain hidden, sometimes sexual imagery, hard to believe.
One of the other subjects that I thought of as interesting which was new to myself was Cybernetics Theory. This design this theory although quite hard to explain looks at effective communication in design and how the process from design, to media outlet to audience is made. One of the key elements which was discussed was the concept of 'noise' which can interfere with the process and often confuse or create a different perception. Whether this be deliberate and link to the idea of greenwashing I thought this was quite interesting how the idea of noise and deliberate side-tracking could be used to disguise reality.

Phenomological Tradition and Rhetorical both deal with some degree of personification and are theorys which i found very interesting and somewhat agree with. Relating specifcally to the viewer and particular personal experiences i am very interested in design that is personal but in mass production which somehow forms a unique connection to the viewer which is made to entice. Rhetorical theory where use of propeganda is used to persuade people through point of view useing rhetorical imagery such as charities where a sympathy vote connection to the viewer is used. This connection can be used even though it may bear no connection to the actual viewer an example would be playing an advert about the RSPCA dog appeal even though the some of the audience doesn't even have a dog it automatically taps into audience by creating links from previous experience or memory maybe not even to do with a dog but even a pet cat.
Among other theorys the lecture was really interesting.

[Below]: Tapping into a sociocultural use of advertising, Yorkshire being the definition of a sociocultural context associating the product with a place which creates 'good' association of the brand based on the audiences personal experience. It is how the world shapes us and how the world is perceived to us.

[Useful External References]:
Semiotics - The language of Medicine - B.E Litowitz (1991), Semiotic Perspectives on Clinical Theory and Practice: Medicine, Neuropsychiatry, and Psychoanalysis (Approaches to Semiotics)
Cybernetic Theory - AdBusters -
Rhetorical - The Star - The Inescapable sales pitch

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