Thursday, January 17, 2013

Conflicts in Theory

As usual, I'm starting to write more – just because it's the beginning of the year and I wish I had written more last year. It's like an informal new year's resolution. But it's not. No promises, but I bet that thinking about theory and analyzing how people communicate is going to make me more introspective, which, in turn, will make me want to write more. Let's see if it makes the blog.

One of the interesting things I learned about the two schools of communication theory is that they can be likened to one of scales on the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory. This was helpful since I am well read in the Myers Briggs. The scientific approach is like the sensing (S) component of the Myers Briggs; the interpretive is like the intuitive (N). There you go – no wonder I'm so torn. I have a preference in both of these areas very strongly. As in, I'm not in the middle on the S/N of the Myers Briggs, I usually test into intuitive but I have strong sensing factors built in as well. I am both a detail person (sensing) and a possibilities person (intuitive). In fact, I am so much in each of these camps that I sometimes fail to see (feel) how they are opposite sides of a spectrum. But I have read enough to know they are opposites in the Myers Briggs and commonly held that way on other scales.

I guess this further explains why I am weird. I will see how being an anomaly shakes out in the world of communication theory. By the way, my teacher doesn't believe that I am in both areas and simply dubbed that I didn't understand the continuum. Once I figure it out, I'll know where I stand.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

World of Theory

This week I am starting a new class called Communication Theory and Practice. (It's all theory, as far as I can tell.) I have been dreading the class that sounds so dull and dry. I finally started my reading the other day and found it kind of interesting. I think the author of the textbook is a very personable writer – I'm sure that helps. I had forgotten that I do enjoy analyzing things sometimes. Above all, it had slipped my mind that I am studying what has proved to be a very palatable area for me. I like communication studies!

The introductory chapters have proven to be a little disconcerting, though. There are two main schools of thought in the area of communication theory: a scientific one, and an interpretive theory. Fine. As I read through a brief description of each I found that both appealed to me. But the text was clear that you probably fall into one camp or the other. In fact, scholars from the two areas are so at odds with one another they often argue and disagree. So why are both equally appealing to me?

Eventually it came out that these two can areas compliment each other and also could be seen as a continuum. That helps – a little. The problem now is that I really don't feel I'm in the middle. I truly like both sides. I want both to be the proper way to view communication theory. This remains an unsolved dilemma. I may or may not come to some conclusion. But this is for sure, it's going to be a very intense 6 weeks of communication theory. This may be the class that helps me decide how far I'm going to take this whole going back to school thing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oh, for cryin' out loud! - literally.

It's a new year again. I make no promises about blogging more. I had every good intention this past year and had a last minute push to beat the year before. I want to write but I don't always have something to say. That might be obvious to you from reading what does get posted. It's not always fresh on my mind to post – even if I do have something to say. But I got 2 journal and two fancy writing pads for Christmas this year, so I better do some writing if only because that was perhaps a sign.

I'm the only one in the school library this afternoon – besides the staff – I am researching how pop music, rock and roll namely, and the deejays that promoted it in the 1950s and 60s helped with the integration of blacks and white in the US. I have at least 8 books on the topic of radio or black music piled on this desk trying to find fodder for this paper. As I read there is a nostalgia that has overcome me. I'm reduced to tears for no good reason but the wonder of how our nation was built and hard-working value system we once had in America. I remember my dad once crying telling me a story of a Swedish business man trying to communicate an idea to an American business man over the phone. When he couldn't make himself understood he asked for a fax number to fax the information. My dad was in tears before he could finish the story about how it all come together because of this technology. We thought Dad was ridiculous. But I think that is how I feel today about radio. It's a little bigger picture though, because what happened in the 1950s when radio needed to find a way to compete with TV the perfect storm resulted in a boon for integration!

I don't know why it makes me feel sentimental, but it's BIG. Radio turned to pop music which eventually got called rock and roll, there were a few cutting edge deejays that took the music format to the next level by playing jazz or other black music on their radio programs of pop music. Before you know it – literally, you have dance parties with blacks and whites enjoying the same music.

Amazing. Now I need to get back to the paper writing. But it truly is an awesome convergence of media and economic developments to push us into crossing musical lines that include whites coming to love black music and vice versa.