50 Ways to Understand Communication: A Guided Tour of Key Ideas and Theorists in Communication, Media, and Culture

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 183 pages
Is consciousness like an iceberg? Does advertising lead to the commodification of humans? What is the hidden meaning of fairy tales? In 50 Ways to Understand Communication, Arthur Asa Berger familiarizes readers with important concepts written by leading communication and cultural theorists, such as Saussure, LÚvi-Strauss, de Certeau, Lasswell, McLuhan, Postman, and many others. Organized in fifty short segments, this concise guide covers a wide range of important ideas from psychoanalysis and semiology to humor, "otherness," and nonverbal communication. Berger's clear explanations and examples surround this assortment of influential writing, walking the uninitiated through these sometimes dense theoretical works. His selections and commentary will challenge readers to reconsider the role of communication in our culture. This engaging, accessible book is essential for students of communication and anyone interested in how we communicate in a world of rapidly changing media.

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Contents

Acknowledgments
ix
How You Can Use This Book
xi
Words and Communication
1
Signs and Semiotics
5
When I Use a Word Humpty Dumpty Said
8
Antithetical Meanings of Words
11
Society Precedes the Individual
14
Language Codes
17
Fairy Tales and the Psyche
79
Hot and Cool Media
82
The Impact of Postmodernism
86
The Postmodern Eye
89
Mind and Media
91
Cybertexts and Video Games
94
Digital Media
97
Smart Mobs
100

The Structuralist Perspective
20
Culture and the Unconscious
23
The Importance of Metaphor
25
A Model of the Communication Process
28
The Lasswell Formula
31
Art and Society A Model
34
Dialogic Aspects of Communication
37
Conversation as Narrative
39
Men and Women Use Language Differently
42
Black Speech
45
People of Color and the Media
47
Nonverbal Communication
49
Facial Expressions
52
Fashion as Communication
54
Symbolism and Religion
57
The Meaning of Symbols
60
The House as a Symbol of Femininity
62
Miss Americas Mythic Significance
65
Images of Women in Advertising
68
The Power of Advertising in Capitalist Societies
71
Myths and Society
73
Robinson Crusoe as Myth
76
How Crowds Think
103
Television and Art
106
Amusing Ourselves to Death
109
Narratives in the Media
111
Television Is a Dramatic Medium
114
The Power of Rock Music
117
Artistic Texts
120
Psychoanalysis and Literature
123
Humor and Communication
126
On Comedy
129
What Does Art Do?
133
Interpretation and Art
136
The Society of Spectacle
138
Representation and Difference
141
Learning Games and Activities
145
Glossary
149
Selected Bibliography
163
Biographies of Key Text Authors
173
Index
177
About the Author
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About the author (2006)

Arthur Asa Berger is professor emeritus of broadcast and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University.

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