Theories of Mass Communication.

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Theories of Communication

This papaer focused on the developmental stages of Communication and also summed up Communication as a complex and dynamic process leading to the evolution of meaning.

The study of Communication and the mass media by experts over time has led to the formulation of many theories such as structural and functional theories, that believe that social structures are real and function in ways that can be observed objectively; cognitive and behavioral theories, that tend to focus on the individual's psychology; interactionist theories that view social life as a process of interaction; interpretive theories, that uncover the ways people actually understand their own experience; critical theories that are concerned with the conflict of interests in society and the way communication perpetuates domination of one group over another .

The earliest theories were those propounded by the Western theorists Siebert, Paterson and Schramm in their book Four Theories Of the Press (1956).

These were termed 'normative theories' by McQuail in the sense that they 'mainly express ideas of how the media ought to or can be expected to operate under a prevailing set of conditions and values' Each of the four original or classical theories is based on a particular political theory, or economic scenario.


Authoritarian Theory

According to this theory, the mass media though not under the direct control of the State, had to follow its bidding. Under the Authoritarian set up in Western Europe, freedom of thought was jealously guarded by a few people (ruling classes), who were concerned with the emergence of a new middle class and were worried about the effects of the printed matter on their thought process. Steps were taken to control the freedom of expression - the result was a complete dictatorial set up. The theory advocated zealous obedience...