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Information and Communication Theories and Concepts Essay


Palo Alto School: approach for solving the problem

Palo Alto School has two different approaches. The first one is human communication that uses the idea of a system and interaction, i.e., systemic and interactional approach. The second one is the brief therapy of psychotherapeutic intervention, which focuses on changes systemically and tactically. We apply brief therapy in solving problems.

This is a creative and strategic approach to solving patients’ problems. The approach focuses on the patient’s present and future and not on the past. The approach aims to get a solution to the problem. The approach looks at three areas:

  • Needs of the patient
  • Identifying what works for the patient
  • Attempting a different approach

In this concept, the therapist does not come up with a solution. Instead, the Palo Alto therapist applies various methods of how the client thinks, uses language to get new approaches, and eventually changes the client’s point of view.

Brief therapy in solving human problems is a solution-oriented approach. In this case, the therapist focuses on a specific problem and formulates direct interventions for the problem. Therefore, he must find out why it is a problem to the client, previous attempts to get solutions, and their impacts.

In this approach, the client must be in charge of the therapy. Thus, the client is the expert and must come to the therapy when he or she knows what to achieve. The Palo Alto therapist only listens to what the client has to say, and then they collectively define goals and work together to get their solutions. However, brief therapy does not follow strict standards of ‘correct approach’. The therapist acknowledges that there are many approaches to solving problems, which may or may not be helpful to the client. Therefore, the Palo Alto approach is flexible for many users. In this context, we can say that the therapist does not need thorough knowledge to apply the method of problem-solving. Therefore, the therapist can only rely on questions and communications during the session for analysis and provide solutions to any problem. Brief therapy is effective. It focuses on the present and future because people can change within a short time.

Media effects: youth violence

Media effects look at how mass media and media cultures influence the actions, thoughts, and behaviors of the audience.

Some critics argue that youth violence emanates from exposure to violence on television, lyrics from songs, and movies. They note that children experience the effects of violence from mass media practically from the cradle. As a result, children are no longer able to distinguish between fact and fiction due to images from mass media.

The major question has been whether violent films or television episodes are responsible for violent acts among youths. However, producers of such programs note that violent films or television episodes do not influence violent acts among youths. According to these producers, millions of children and adults watch various forms of violent films or episodes. However, a small number of these viewers are violent. Still, the public and mass media critics believe that violent images contribute to youth violence.

After Newton, Connecticut shooting (Sandy Hook Elementary School), the National Rifle Association (NRA) claimed that video games were responsible for inspiring mass killings in schools, and not guns.

A screenshot of a shooting video game.
Figure 1: A screenshot of a shooting video game.

Critics assert that video games are not about hunting anymore. Instead, players can aim at targets, which resemble coffins, with red eyes at the head, and the level of the heart. Such video games allow players to upgrade their rifles to sniper rifles. NRA also extended their criticisms of mass media to violent movies. However, the NRA also knows that video games use firearm brand names for promotion.

Common sense should let us know that the violent contents of mass media have significant influences on youth violence. Advertisers spend millions of dollars because they know the influence of mass media on the audience. Therefore, no advertiser can spend his money if he knows mass media do not influence viewers. Therefore, mass media repeat real-life violence, which youths imitate at earlier ages. It is also important to note that mass media like video games do not show the consequences of violent acts. As a result, mass media effects on youth violence continue to persist.

Mediology: Subjectivity

Mediology relates to the logic of media and mediation in cultural transmissions. Scholars argue that post-modern or contemporary media and communication function in society in many ways. The focus has been on the function of post-modern media and their increasing roles in society. The growth of the media theory in the past decades resulted from scientific interests due to pressure from the new information age, as well as the need to subvert the function and position of ‘the subject’. The aim was to eliminate the philosophical notion that the subject was the main point of reference for media.

Marshall McLuhan has claimed that the message medium subverts and changes any individual message of the medium. Still, Heidegger maintained that language speaks. The argument is that such views undermine the subjectivity of the interlocutor, who is sending the message. On the other hand, the interpretation subjectivity of the message remains intact with the receiver, reader, or listener.

On the other hand, Deleuzean machines of desire and Derridian deconstruction eliminated the idea of media subjectivity. The argument is that the reader or listener faces several ways of interpreting the message or impersonal flows of desire. According to contemporary media theory, such flows and desires are material and have material forces. On the other hand, the subject remains immaterial and spiritual. Thus, the subject does not conform to an ideal or metaphysical order.

Material forces influencing the media and message can present themselves as pure chaos. In such cases, the subject may lack the power to control such chaos. This implies that the subject cannot create, control, and communicate the message in pure chaotic media. This is because the message would be nonsense and zero. Therefore, the listener will lack the ability to interpret and give meaning to the message in chaotic media. This situation results in the ‘death of the subject’ due to his inability to create, control, and transmit his message through media. In this case, we can argue that there is no non-mediated media access. Therefore, subjectivity applies to all mass-cultural formula of the media intricacies and theories.

The Chicago School of Media Theory (CSMT): the human body

The CSMT looks at strains in media theories for updating and extending such theories to enable us to understand new media. Therefore, we can be able to understand how evolving and increasing media technologies have changed the functions of the old media. In this case, we may wonder whether the new media are making the human body obsolete or transforming it. According to McLuhan, the human body acts as a site for mediation and an entity that is capable of extension in mediation. The new media have drawn the attention of the CSMT to the possible obsolescence of the human body and its various roles in the theory of media.

McLuhan views media as extensions of the human body or senses. Therefore, every new technological innovation acts as a body extension. This definition results in the alienation of the human body. This is because every technological innovation builds upon each other, which only alienates the body further. Merleau-Ponty argues that the body is an exceptional medium. This is because the body is a sensory object, and others can sense it too. This makes the human body a self-conscious medium. Therefore, we can achieve perspectives and form an opinion of a situation.

The fundamental roles of new media are to extend human senses. However, it is imperative to note that humans cannot control sensory changes that media impose. This has made it difficult for humans to experience pure reality. Media have only provided a perceptual disconnection in which humans see themselves as skewed from their bodily reality. The human trends to embody media objects provide inadequate space to see media as machines. Therefore, we have difficulty detaching from media or adopting pure reality. This has enabled media to function as human senses. In other words, we understand the general operation of media to the extent that we can only perceive human senses with media as mechanical extensions. However, we have to recognize that we can sense without media aid.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Information and Communication Theories and Concepts'. 5 April.

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