Muted Group Theory (Cheris Kramarae)

The example that Kramarae uses to describe this theory focuses heavily on how women are a minority when compared to men. However, the “muted group” doesn’t always have to be just women. For example, it could be a group of people in a corporation who are low on the hierarchy. Because they are of low-power, their ideas are often overlooked and not considered when brought to management. They also feel the need to change their intended meaning when communicating publicly, therefore not sharing how they truly feel about a particular issue.

 

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Spiral of Silence (Elizabeth Noelle-Nuemann)

As stated in my previous post about this theory, we tend to stay quiet when we have differing points-of-view on an issue. We do this in order to avoid isolation and potential argument among those around us. Below is a picture of someone in a crowd who stands out from everybody else. This is a perfect example of how someone with a differing view among a group of people could feel isolated and uncomfortable if they verbalized their opinion.

 

COnformity

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Uncertainty Reduction Theory (Charles Berger)

Have you ever met someone, thought you had a lot in common, but ended up not having all that much in common and slowly become distant? Well if you have, then you have experienced an aspect of Berger’s Uncertainty Reduction Theory. In his theory, he talks about 8 axioms that establish what initial uncertainty is. The axiom about “similarity” reflects what happens when you and someone else don’t have much in common. By not having a lot in common, your uncertainty about each other is intensified and may even stop you from becoming closer. However, there are times when your differences will bring you closer. For example, my best friend and I have nothing in common, yet we have been friends since my senior year of high school.

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Semiotics (Roland Barthes)

In a section of this chapter, Barthes talks about how the yellow ribbon we now use to support our troops, had a totally different meaning many years ago. After reading about this, I wanted to find some other symbols that have changed their meaning over time. I stumbled upon this blog that lists 10 symbols or actions that have been stripped of their original meaning. Below is a link to that blog. Check it out!

http://listverse.com/2009/09/19/10-symbols-whose-origins-have-been-forgotten/

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Social Information Processing Theory (Joseph Walther)

In a previous entry about this theory, I had talked about how it can be applied to online dating and such. In this theory, Walther says that CMC (computer-mediated communication) can be just as effective as face-to-face relationship development. However, it can also be used to maintain an already established relationship as well.

For example, all of my extended family lives in Connecticut. I rarely get to see them, so it is important to keep in contact via talking on the phone or even online. A couple of my family members have a Facebook, so we keep up with each other over that medium. By doing that, we are able to see what is going on in each other’s live without feeling too distant. It also helps when we talk on the phone, because the things we post online help with good conversation starters. It’s kind of scary to think that before social media, the only way to communicate with distant friends or family was over the phone or even snail mail!

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Social Penetration Theory (Irwan Altman & Dalmas Taylor)

Recently at work we hired a new employee to help cover our opening shifts and mid-shifts. Since I am one of the main trainers, it was my job to get to know her and certify her to be a barista. So in order to get to know her better, I just started having a conversation while working with her. Throughout the conversation we self-disclosed information about ourselves. By doing this, we were able to building a co-worker “relationship” and made the whole training process easier. The key to continuing to grow as coworkers, is to have depth and breadth of penetration when communicating.

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Expectancy Violations Theory (Judee Burgoon)

I recently had an encounter with one of my managers at work, and this theory came to mind. I was walking over to Starbucks in my store and he approached me talk about an issue that needed to be addressed with one of my baristas. While talking about this issue, he brought up the fact that he wanted to write up this barista for not doing a good job with their close the night before. However, I did not agree with this decision and believed it should be handled a different way.

I was able to convince him in the end to let me talk to the barista about their close and work it out a different way that didn’t involve writing them up. By convincing him, I used the “reward valence” aspect of the theory. By laying out the alternatives to his harsh action, I was able to positively impact the conversation by persuading him to let me talk to the barista about everything and resolve the problem in a more inviting atmosphere.

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Standpoint Theory (Sandra Harding & Julia T. Wood)

Harding and Wood use the Standpoint Theory to explain how we view the world around us from a particular perspective or outlook. As they state, “the social groups within which are located powerfully shape what we experience and know as well as how we understand and communicate with ourselves, others, and the world.”

The above statement couldn’t be any truer. Who we associate ourselves with, shapes how we view the world around us and how we interact with others. In other words, if you have friends who are in gangs and are involved with drugs, your outlook on the world might not be very positive. In fact, it will probably be 100% negative. You would also feel out-of-place when interacting with someone outside of your social group. On the other hand, if you have a diverse group of friends you will have a multi-angled view of the world. Furthermore, when you interact with others you will also be more capable of having a quality conversation, rather than feeling uncomfortable and out-of-place.

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Muted Group Theory (Cheris Kramarae)

A “muted group” can be defined as people who belong to low-power groups who must change their language when communicating publicly. As a result of this, their ideas are frequently overlooked. Kramarae focuses heavily on how women are depicted as “lesser” than men in today’s world. In a corporate world, you would see a lot of this. How many CEO’s do you know that are women? Not many!

I really like the phrase, “level playing field”, that is used in the chapter to describe how men and women should be treated equally.  In my opinion, women could even be better leaders. Men seem to be more “power hungry” and stern, while women are more sensitive to issues and care more in general, therefore making the workplace a better environment.

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Speech Codes Theory (Gerry Philipsen)

When first looking at the name of this theory, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was entailing. My first thought was that it was about speaking in certain codes. In some ways, I was right; but there was more to it than that. This theory describes how different cultures have distinct sociology, rhetoric, and psychology.

I really enjoyed watching the video clip of how the African-American community has a unique speech code they use when communicating. But what was even more interesting was how they can switch between their slang and proper English when necessary. A lot of people think that when they talk in slang, they are uneducated and don’t know proper English. However, that isn’t the case! As the teacher in the video was stated, when she’s at home she speaks in slang sometimes. But once she’s in the classroom teaching then she uses proper English. After watching this video, I thought about how each culture has their own speech code when they communicate.

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