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The Work and Workings of Human Communication


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Table of Contents

Preface xiv

Communication Matters xiv

This Book's Approach xv

This Book's Topics and Focus xvii

Benefits to Students xviii

The Main Fundamentals of Human Communication xix

Communication among Us Humans vs Communication among Other Creatures xxii

Our Subject Matter xxiii

Our Discipline on the Social Science Side xxvi

Overview of Contents xxix

Section One: Preliminaries 1 1. Communication Among Animate Creatures, Especially Us Humans 7

1.1 Incentivizing Communication 8

1.2 Benefits (and Harms) that Communication Brings about 12

1.3 Incentivizing Re/actors' Attention to Communication 14

1.4 The Inherent Uncertainty before the Fact of What Communication Will Bring about 16

1.5 How We Humans Make Our Communication Work, or Work Better 20

1.5.1 The Communicator's Role in Making Communication Work 20

1.5.2 The Re/actor's Role in Making Communication Work 22

1.6 Human Communication as a Subject Matter within the Social Sciences 23

1.6.1 The Distinct Communication Part that Our Discipline Studies 25

1.6.2 The Boundary between Communicating and Other Conduct 26

1.7 A Sampling of Research on the "Communication Part" 27

1.7.1 Research on Communicative Items Produced in Re/action to Exigent Conditions 29

1.7.2 Research on Communicative Items and the Actual Results They Bring about 30

1.7.3 Research on the Doing of Communication 33

1.7.4 A Focus on the Communication Part across Open-Endedly-Many Topics 35

2. The Overall Effectiveness of Human Communication 36

2.1 Finding Evidence of the Effectiveness of Human Communication 36

2.1.1 Impressions of Ineffectiveness 37

2.1.2 Impressions of Effectiveness 37

2.1.3 The Impossibility of Getting Direct Evidence of Communicator Effectiveness 38

2.1.4 The Soundness of Indirect Evidence of Effectiveness 40

2.2 A Sample of Indirect Evidence of the Overall Effectiveness of Human Communication 42

2.2.1 The Communicative Achievement of a Mundane Event 43

2.2.2 The Communicative Infrastructure Underlying a Mundane Event 45

2.2.3 The Communicative Infrastructure Underlying Everything Else 47

Reprise of Section One and Overture to Section Two 49

Section Two: Fundamentals of Human Communication 51 3. Human-Made Environments We Create and Participate in Communicatively 57

3.1 Dual Human-Made Environments 58

3.1.1 The Motion-Action Distinction 60

3.1.2 A Modified Body-Mind Dualism 61

3.2 The Material Environment and Its Objective Realities 63

3.3 The Interpreted Environment and Its Subjective Realities 65

3.3.1 The Reality of Subjective Realities 66

3.3.2 Communication of, and About, Subjective Realities 67

3.3.3 From Private Subjective Realities to Shared Intersubjective Realities 70

3.3.4 The Tie between Objective and Subjective Realities: Searle's Version 73

3.3.5 The Tie between Objective and Subjective Realities: Garfinkel's Version 74

3.3.6 Our Discipline's Focus on Communication of and About Subjective Realities 75

3.3.7 The Focus of Other Social Sciences on Subjective Realities 77

3.3.8 Subjective Realities in Our Lives and Our Communication 78

4. Our Expressive Means and Communication Media 81

4.1 Our Expressive Means Are Unrestrictive 82

4.2 Our Communication Media Are Unrestrictive 84

4.3 Our Expressive Means Unavoidably Communicate Subjective Realities 85

4.3.1 The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Language, Culture, and Cognition 88

4.3.2 General Semantics: Language, Reality and Unreality 88

4.4 Our Communication Media Unavoidably Communicate Subjective Realities 89

4.4.1 The Medium of Writing: Plato on Its Evils 92

4.4.2 The Medium of Writing: Walter Ong on Its Cultural and Intellectual Impact 93

4.4.3 Mass Media vs Internet: Habermas on Dialogue and Democracy 94

5. Making Communication Work in the Human-Made Environment 95

5.1 Effortless Ways the Probability Is Increased of Bringing about a Targeted Re/action 96

5.1.1 Structures 97

5.1.2 Roles 99

5.1.3 Norms 99

5.1.4 Conventionalized Practices and Formulas 100

5.1.5 Shared Knowledge and/or Experience (Education) Re: Tasks and Activities 101

5.2 Effortful Ways of Increasing the Probability of Bringing about a Targeted Re/action 102

5.2.1 Components of Audience Research and Analysis and Their Application 103

5.2.2 Methodological Contingencies in Audience Research 104

5.2.3 Audience Analysis in a Digital Age 105

5.2.4 A Case Study of Mishandling Audience Research and Analysis 105

Reprise of Section Two and Overture to Section Three 109

Section Three: The Communication Discipline and Its Place in the Social Sciences 111 6. The Communication Discipline's Foundation and Evolution 115

6.1 The Discipline's Roots as Self-Contained and Independent 116

6.2 The Modern Discipline's Expanding Scope 118

6.3 The Tradition of Communicator-Centrism and the Linear Model 122

6.4 From Monologic to Dialogic: The Collaborative Model 123

6.4.1 Collaboration in the Doing of Communication 123 Overt vs De Facto Collaboration 126 The Collaborative Model in Ostensibly Monological Situations 127 Communicator-Centrism in Actually Dialogical Situations 130

6.4.2 Collaboration on the Actual Results of Communication 131 Collaboration on Re/actions among Masses of People 133 The Collaborative Basis of Human-Made Interpreted Environments 134 Collaboration On and Through Linkages Among Multiple Communicative Episodes 135

7. The Communication Discipline's Subject Areas 137

7.1 The Present: Studying Communication as It Affects People's Interests and Undertakings 137

7.1.1 The US Discipline's Two Main Professional Associations: NCA and ICA 138

7.1.2 Fifty-Seven Subject Area Divisions Across the NCA and ICA (Ca. 2017) 139

7.1.3 Common Ground Across Our Subject Area Divisions 144

7.1.4 A Rationale for the Discipline's Current Subject Area Divisions 144

7.2 The Future: Studying Communication as the Engine of the Human-Made Environment 145

7.2.1 The Relevance of What We Already Study to the Discipline's Possible Future 149

7.2.2 A New Specialization in Research and Theory: Reverse Engineering 150

7.2.3 A New Subject Area: The Linking of Independent Communicative Episodes 151

8. Positioning the Communication Discipline Among the Social Sciences 153

8.1 The Minority Position: Communication is an Interdisciplinary Subject Matter 156

8.1.1 The Case against Studying Communication in Any One Discipline 156

8.1.2 Four Reasons Why an Interdisciplinary Approach Is Inadequate 159 Reason One: Communication-Specific Proficiencies and Skills are Variable 160 Reason Two: Discordant Extra-Communicative Influences Have to Be Reconciled 161 Reason Three: Extra-Communicative Influences Cannot Be Fully Determinate 161 Reason Four: Communication Produces What Other Social Sciences Study 162

8.2 The Majority Position: The Communication Discipline Is an Independent Social Science 163

8.2.1 Past Efforts to Formulate Our Discipline's Identity and Mission 164 Formulations Sponsored by the Association of Communication Administrators 164 A Formulation Published by the National Communication Association 166

8.2.2 The Elusiveness of the Communication Part 168

8.3 Our Discipline's Identity and Mission Presently vs in a Possible Future 171

8.3.1 Our Discipline's Identity and Mission Presently 172

8.3.2 Our Discipline's Identity and Mission in a Possible Future 173

Reprise of Section Three and Overture to Section Four 177

Section Four: Scientific Inquiry in the Social Sciences and in Communication 179 9. The Practice of Scientific Inquiry in General 187

9.1 The Human Face of Scientific Inquiry 189

9.1.1 Personal Expertise 190

9.1.2 The Discovery Process 191

9.1.3 Scientific Communities 192

9.1.4 Normal Science and Paradigm Shifts in Scientific Communities 193

9.1.5 The Practical Need for Scientific Communities 194

9.1.6 The Epistemological Necessity of Scientific Communities 197

9.2 The Presumption of Orderliness on Which All Scientific Inquiry Rests 198

9.3 Fact and Theory 203

10. Scientific Inquiry in the Social Sciences 209

10.1 Social Science vs Physical Science 210

10.2. The Problematics of Scientific Inquiry in the Social Sciences 215

10.3 Qualitative vs Quantitative Research and Analysis 222

10.3.1 The Detachment-Neutrality Problem in Social Science Inquiry 224

10.3.2 Methodological Issues that Divide the Qualitative and Quantitative Sides 225 Concerns about Quantitative Research and Analysis from the Qualitative Side 226 Concerns about Qualitative Research and Analysis from the Quantitative Side 227

10.3.3 The Scientific Community's Role in Ensuring Sound Research and Theory 229

10.3.4 Orderliness Found via Qualitative Research and Analysis 231 Orderliness in an Action Sequence 231 Orderliness in the Cultural Valuation of Speaking 234

10.3.5 Orderliness Found via Quantitative Research and Analysis 235 Orderliness in the Geographical Variation of an Interpersonal Action 236 Orderliness in the Covariation of Communication Practices and Marital Stability 237

10.3.6 Orderliness Found via Quantitative Plus Qualitative Research and Analysis 239

10.4 The Critical Side vs the Scientific Side of the Social Sciences 240

11. Social Scientific Inquiry in the Communication Discipline 242

11.1 The Problematics of Social Scientific Inquiry in the Communication Discipline 243

11.2 Two Reasons Why the Discipline's Proliferation of Subject Matters May Be "Natural" 246

11.2.1 The Discipline's Subject Matter Spans Open-Endedly-Many Phenomena 246

11.2.2 The Discipline's Culture Favors a Proliferation of Subject Matters 247

11.3 Groundwork Already Laid for the Coalescence of Our Research and Theory 248

11.3.1 Theories Related to Exigences that Incentivize the Doing of Communication 249

11.3.2 Theories about the Results that Communication Brings about 251

11.3.3 Theories Related to the Doing of Communication 254

11.4 The Coalescence of Our Research and Theory in a Possible Future 257

Reprise of Section Four and This Book 262

Bibliography 264

Index 270

About the Author

Robert E. Sanders, Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Iowa, has focused his research and theoretical work on details of the way people communicate in social interactions to influence others as a microcosm of the work and workings of human communication, and the underlying communicative competence that supports communicating strategically. He wrote the book Cognitive Foundations of Calculated Speech, co-edited Handbook of Language and Social Interaction, and has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters on language, social interaction, and communicative competence.

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