Monday, September 7, 2009

Transmission vs Ritual Model of Communication

Carey’s first chapter mainly focuses on two different views of communication including the ritual and transmission views of communication. By the end of the chapter, it is clear that Carey truly favors the ritual model of communication, although the transmission model appears to be the model most commonly used since the 1920’s.

Carey mentions that the main idea surrounding the transmission view of communication is that it’s a process where messages are transmitted and distributed in space in order for the control of distance and people (15). On the other hand, Carey defines the ritual view of communication as being directed towards the maintenance of society and the representation of shared beliefs. He finds that the main objective is the maintenance of an ordered world (18). Carey continues to define communication as a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired and transformed. He feels that to study communication one must study the actual social process where symbol forms are created and used (23 and 30).

Carey concludes the chapter by mentioning that we have an obsessive commitment towards favoring the transmission view of communication, but feels that we must refocus our efforts towards the ritual model of communication in order to have a better understanding of the true process of communication and in order to reshape our culture.


  1. Nice job picking up on Carey's bias toward ritualistic communication and the impact of shared meaning~

    I would love to know what other people think about the idea of power in communication and how modern technolgy will affect the balance of government control and the public sphere. Carey's writing can be directly applied to Castells' assertation that goverment will become irrelevant as social media flourishes and traditional systems of power are replaced by global networks. In my blog for today, I discuss my theory that virtuous goverments that engage in unified diplomacy will be strengthened as corrupt goverments that do not adapt to this shifting of power will diminish.

    I think Carey's vision of IC studies as the combination analysis of social forces and communication for control are at a point in history where this integration will be realized or they will butt heads, off-shifting understanding of modern geopolitics and network socieities.