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Communication theory - Essay Example

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However, in culturally diverse societies, such as the United States, cultural identity is shaped by using language. Thus, conversations are linked with social division, cultural hegemony, and…
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Communication Theory 26 February Language-Centered Perspective & Co-Cultural Theory Conversation is universally understood as a form of communication among human beings. However, in culturally diverse societies, such as the United States, cultural identity is shaped by using language. Thus, conversations are linked with social division, cultural hegemony, and dominance.
Language-Centered Perspective, developed by Fern Johnson, explains how cultural framework of conversation and person’s cultural knowledge influence communication in multicultural societies. The theory focuses on two major types of culture: dominant culture that is supported by linguistic ideology, and displaced or marginalized cultural groups: gender, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American. Language-Centered Perspective proves that cultural framework and cultural knowledge are part of any conversation. In multicultural societies linguistic ideology becomes the means of marginalizing other cultural groups. Consequently, members of non-dominant groups are at a disadvantage because they should be familiar with two types of culture: their own and dominant culture. As a result, in conversations between members of marginalized cultural groups and representatives of dominant linguistic ideologies particular linguistic features emerge. The theory argues that linguistic policies in multicultural societies should take into account cultural diversity since both cultures coexist, constantly develop, and influence one another.
In multicultural societies conversations between members of dominant and marginalized groups require the ability to negotiate cultural differences. Co-cultural theory, developed by Mark Orbe, argues that in any society privileged groups reinforce their position through dominant communication system. As a result members of other groups are socially marginalized and have to strategically communicate and negotiate the dominant system. The theory examines negotiating strategies developed by the members of underrepresented groups, such as people of color, women, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered individuals, and people with disabilities. Their inventory of negotiating practices includes emphasizing similarities, avoiding controversy, overcompensating, bargaining, dissociation, mirroring, self-ridicule, educating others, attacking. The choice of patterns in co-cultural communication depends on six factors: 1) the goals of communication (whether the members of co-cultural group want to be assimilated, accommodated, or separated from the dominant group); 2) experiences that influence the inventory of negotiating practices; 3) differing abilities of co-cultural group members; 4) specific situational of communication; 5) perception of the costs and rewards; 6) communication approach of co-cultural group members. Co-cultural theory analyses communication from the marginalized standpoint and emphasizes power and necessity to negotiate with the dominant group.
Works Cited
Littlejohn, Stephen W., and Karen A. Foss. Theories of Human Communication. 9th ed. Wadsworth Publishing, 2007. Print. Read More
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