This week’s readings all emphasized the importance of integrating culture within paradigms. Daya Thussu writes that there are “two broad but often interrelated approaches to theorizing international communication”- the political-economy approach and the cultural studies approach. Thussu notes that theories emerged out of great change such as the Industrial Revolution. While Thussu argues that the political-economy and cultural studies approaches are often interrelated, they are distinctly two separate approaches to envisioning the order of our global society. I am absolutely fascinated by cultures. Coming from a bi-cultural family and having taken a fair amount of Anthropology classes as an undergrad, I have a very difficult time understanding how theorists in the past could so easily distinguish and ignore culture from the economic and political realms of society.
Of the readings this week, the one I found to be most intriguing, and equally abstract, was the article written by James Carey called “A Cultural Approach to Communication”. Carey identifies and defines two views of communication- the transmission view and the ritual view. The ritual view is one in which communication enables us to share a common belief or be a part of a fellowship, where as the transmission view of communication is the process in which “messages are transmitted and distributed in space for the control of distance and people” (Carey: 15). He further extends that we (as humans) have the ability to create reality through communication. Furthermore, Carey illuminates that the way to create reality is through models of communication. These models are to act as a guide of how we communicate. Raymond Willams argues that we change these models when they are no longer are adequate. Creation and alterations to reality reminds me of the quote my Mahatma Gandhi. He said, "Change occurs when deeply felt private experiences are given public legitimacy." Public legitimacy is the exact cultural confirmation in which Carey refers to exemplify the order of the social process.
Additionally, within his analysis of communication and culture, he points out that Americans do not fully identify with a culture (in the traditional sense of the word). Gary Weaver and James Carey mention the irony of identifying American culture. I, too, agree with them that our nuanced American culture only becomes more defined once you leave it. Why are Americans not as conscious of their culture? Does it have something to do with the fact that Americans, along with other Westerners, have dominated the field of Anthropology? Weaver argues that nations are becoming more aware of their own culture, and that “this increased consciousness has led to the increase of nationalism” (Weaver: 13). If that is the case then how is it that Americans have such a strong sense of nationalism, but have a hard time identifying our own culture? And what distinguishes nationalism from culture?
Finally, in Gary Weaver’s speech to Aoyama Gakuin University, he personally details the field of international communication as a holistic one. He argues that the field of international communication is multidisciplinary, but that it is imperative to be cognizant of culture because “it is not simply a matter of how to communicate to people, but rather with people, in a dialogical manner.” Clearly, throughout the readings for this week, the notion of culture (integrated with political and economic values) is intertwined with the creation and reproduction of realities in the international system and must be included into paradigms to gain a comprehensive view of the world.