SPRING 2001 THEORY WORKBOOK

Table of Contents


General Contexts

Intrapersonal Communication (Persuasion)

Interpersonal Communication

Small Group Communication

Organizational Communication

Intercultural Communication

Mass Communication
 

Applied Contexts

Health Communication

Instructional Communication
 
 

Honors Capstone Home Page

Last updated February 19, 2001
 
 

HONORS:  COMMUNICATION CAPSTONE
SPRING 2001 THEORY WORKBOOK

MASS COMMUNICATION CONTEXT
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USES AND GRATIFICATIONS THEORY

Explanation of Theory: 

Blumler and Katzís uses and gratification theory suggests that media users play an active role in choosing and using the media.  Users take an active part in the communication process and are goal oriented in their media use.  The theorist say that a media user seeks out a media source that best fulfills the needs of the user.  Uses and gratifications assume that the user has alternate choices to satisfy their need.

Theorists:   Blumler and Katz

Date:  1974

Primary Article: 
     Blumler J.G. & Katz, E. (1974). The uses of mass communications: Current perspectives on gratifications research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Metatheoretical Assumptions:

Ontological Assumptions: 
Deterministic----------------X---free will 

Epistemological Assumptions: 
Truth------------------------------X----Multiple Truths 

Axiological Assumptions: 
value neutral-----------------X----value laden 
 

Individual Interpretations and Critique
Uses and gratifications theory takes a more humanistic approach to looking at media use.  Blumler and Katz believe that there is not merely one way that the populace uses media.  Instead, they believe there are as many reasons for using the media, as there are media users.  According to the theory, media consumers have a free will to decide how they will use the media and how it will effect them.  Blumler and Katz values are clearly seen by the fact that they believe that media consumers can choose the influence media has on them as well as the idea that users choose media alternatives merely as a means to and end.  Uses and gratification is the optimistís view of the media.  The theory takes out the possibility that the media can have an unconscience influence over our lives and how we view the world.  The idea that we simply use the media to satisfy a given need does not seem to fully recognize the power of the media in todayís society.

Ideas and Implications:
Uses and gratification theory can be seen in cases such as personal music selection.  We select music  not only to fit a particular mood but also in attempts to show empowerment or other socially conscience motives.  There are many different types of music and we choose from them to fulfill a particular need.
 

Relevant Researchers:
Palmgreen, Phillip
Harwood, Hake
Swanson, David
 
 

Relevant Articles:
     Edwards, T. (1998). Lyrics to the rhythm: The uses and gratifications of rap music for African American teenagers. Thesis (Ph.D.). Lexington, Ky.
     Harwood, J. (1999). Age identification, social identity, gratifications, and television viewing. Journal of Broadcast and Electronic Media. 43 (i), 123(1).
     Swanson, D.L. (1987). Gratification seeking, media exposure, and audience interpretations: Some direction for research. Journal of Broadcast and Electronic Media, 31 (3) 237-255.
 
 

Location in Eight (8) Primary Communication Theory Textbooks:

   Anderson, R., & Ross, V. (1998). Questions of communication: A practical introduction to theory (2nd ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. 
Page 254
     Cragan, J. F., & Shields, D.C. (1998). Understanding communication theory: The communicative forces for human action. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 
Page 268
     Griffin, E. (2000). A first look at communication theory (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill. 
Pages 310 and 364
     Griffin, E. (1997). A first look at communication theory (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. 
Pages 338 and 377
     Infante, D. A., Rancer, A. S., & Womack, D. F. (1997). Building communication theory (3rd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press. 
Page 374
     Littlejohn, S. W. (1999). Theories of human communication (6th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Page 349 
     West, R., & Turner, L. H. (2000). Introducing communication theory: Analysis and application. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield. 
Page 332
     Wood, J. T. (1997). Communication theories in action: An introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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