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Transmission vs Ritual Communication Essay (Critical Writing)


Carey put forward the idea that communication can be discussed from two viewpoints: the transmission and the ritual points of view. While both of these aspects have roots in religion, they have different approaches to communication.

Transmission communication is the most common. It is connected with the necessity of transporting some items; in this case, communication is included. Ritual communication, as proposed by Carey, is a completely opposite viewpoint to transmission communication. It has less focus on the message itself and more on creating a relationship. Carey compares the word communication with the terms ‘commune’, ‘community,’ and ‘common.’

Ritual communication also has roots in religion; however, it is closely connected with the fellowship between individuals rather than strict dissemination of information. According to Carey, ritual communication “provides not information but confirmation” by keeping the structure of the community as well as its rituals. In addition, a contrast to the transmission view of communication, in the ritual communication model, “communication is linked to terms such as ‘sharing,’ ‘participation,’ ‘association,’ ‘fellowship,’ and the ‘possession of a common faith1

Brotherhood 2.0

When it comes to the examples of communication as a ritual in everyday life, social media is the tool that creates relationships between individuals, turning their interactions into rituals. Although Carey had no knowledge of the digital media, it can be argued that his principle of communication as a ritual can be applied to the Internet and artifacts connected to it. Brotherhood 2.0 is a perfect example to illustrate this. It was a project started by two brothers John and Hank Green, to oppose technology by using technology. As the two decided that their relationship was becoming too shallow because of the constant use of social media and text messaging, they came up with the idea of stopping using it to communicate and rather start posting daily video blogs addressed to each other.

The Brotherhood 2.0 project epitomized Carey’s theory of communication as a ritual. Just as Carey argued in his example with the newspaper that the most important part is not the news, but the fact that it is delivered every day, the most important thing in Green brothers’ videos is not the content.

Carey’s ritual communication model describes digital media with much accuracy. The assertion that “communication is a symbolic process whereby the reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed”2 It is easy to break down in terms of the Brotherhood 2.0. Project: two brothers create the reality formed from their ideas, but the community of people watching their videos maintains the reality by discussing it.

After the experiment was over, the brothers decided to continue making videos to keep their audience alive. Thus, when Carey stated that “a ritual view of communication is directed not toward the extension of messages in space but toward the maintenance of society in time; not the act of imparting information but the representation of shared beliefs”3, there is no better example than the Green brothers.

The project has taught millions of viewers that the Internet can facilitate a real dialogue between individuals as well as bring back some old traditions connected with oral communication and transform them. Carey’s theory of ritual communication has gained new heights because of a massive number of people creating something together and sharing it with others. If the next generations take some knowledge from Brotherhood 2.0, then the oral tradition of communication will continue to live on.4

While the ritual view of communication is not prevalent in our modern society, it can be argued that it becomes valued more and more. The same way social media broadens the landscape of communication, it also starts to encourage embracing the ritual communication. The majority of online communities, as well as social media sites, nowadays nurture the present and past relationships, while the sphere of blogging finds ways to create the connection between readers and the distributors of content.5

Conclusion

Thus, the theory of communication as a ritual proposed by Carey has its support in our modern day-to-day life. The society begins to place more meaning on the fact that the information can be shared and transmitted despite its value or content. The ability to share information with others and create connections by means of sharing is the epitome of the concept of communication as a ritual. In my opinion, this concept will continue to thrive and develop with the technological and social progress, as sharing information with others as well as participating in any type of conversation will become easier and easier for any individual.

Bibliography

Anderson, Helen. “Siblings in Cyberspace: Carey’s Ritual Model of Communication in the Digital Age.” Intersect 4, no. 1 (2011): 92-100. Web.

Carey, James. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. New York: Routeledge, 1992. Web.

Hitt, Charity. “Transmission Vs Ritual Communication.” . 2016. Web.

Footnotes

1. James Carey, Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society (New York: Routledge, 1992), 18. Web.

2. James Carey, Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society (New York: Routledge, 1992), 23. Web.

3. Ibid., 18.

4. Helen Anderson. “Siblings in Cyberspace: Carey’s Ritual Model of Communication in the Digital Age,” Intersect 4, no. 1 (2011): 98. Web.

5. Charity Hitt. “Transmission Vs. Ritual Communication,” University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. 2016. Web.

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