What is communication, why perform we communicate, exactly how do we communicate, and to what end, are all inquiries we asking in the examine of communication. At its most basic, interaction is the exchange of information and meaning. We room constantly communicating, in a wide variety of different contexts, such similar to each other (interpersonal communication), v different cultural groups or subgroups (intercultural communication), or to big audiences (mass communication), simply to name a few. However, to know communication, we require to know the location of interaction in culture.

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Culture as a ax is widely used in academic as well as in day-to-day speech and also discourse, referring to different concepts and also understandings. When the term originally stems from ancient Greek and also Roman societies (Latin: cultura) it has actually various size today developed from the different needs and also uses of each field, it is in it anthropology, sociology or communication studies. For communication studies, we can start through defining culture as a set of learned behaviours common by a team of people through interaction.

Cultures space not fixed, monolithic entities, however are fluid, always an altering and responding come pressures and influences, such as the changing experiences the its members, or interaction with other cultures. However, come its members, the artefacts and also even the presence of cultural behaviours and schemas might seem invisible or unremarkable. A society may even have in ~ it specific subcultures i beg your pardon exist in ~ the main cultural framework that a society, yet share in ~ it particular peculiarities or modalities that also collection it except the mainstream. These subcultures may continue to exist for numerous years or just a short period of time. They may die out, or may come to be incorporated right into the mainstream as part of this ongoing development of culture.

While there are details differences to each culture, usually speaking, cultures share a number of traits, such as a mutual language or etymological marker, an interpretation of proper and improper behaviour, a id of kinship and social partnership (i.e.: mother, friend, etc), ornamentation and art, and a id of management or decision do process.

Culture and society, though similar, are different things. Cultures are defined by this learned behaviours and schemas. Societies at your simplest have the right to be identified as groups of connecting individuals. However, it is v this interaction that individuals develop and also communicate the mite of culture, and also so in human societies, that is very complicated to separate out ‘culture’ and also ‘society.’

And for this reason we come back to the role of communication within culture. The idea of society as something the is shared means that that is crucial to understand society and interaction in relationship to one another. The relationship between culture and communication, in every its forms, is tightly interwoven and also interlinked. We deserve to see that communication permits the spread and also reiteration that culture. Both communications and the media propagate the values and schemas the a culture through the repeated interaction and exchange enabled by the communications process.

Notice the emphasis on repetitive there: it is not in single instances of interaction that culture is made, but rather in the repeated exchange the information and also the combine of the ideals and also values it embodies, every conveyed within a specific moment. One method we have the right to think around this facility interplay is by looking at du Gay, et al (1997) notion of the circuit the culture.

The circuit of culture is a method of exploring a product the a culture as a facility object the is affected by and also has an impact on a variety of different elements of that culture.

from du gay et al 1997

Image (c) du gay et al, 1997

It’s worth briefly going with each the these 5 variables on the diagram now, and also then using it come a familiar form of interaction in culture. This text will return in later sections come deal more deeply with plenty of of the idea’s that this diagram introduces.

Representation – just how is the meaning conveyed to the audience, user, or co-communicator? What signs, modes and discourses help convey the definition – not only the ‘factual’ or informational meaning, but also the society meaning. Because that example, what go the colour pink represent in your social context?

Identity – describes how meaning is internalized by the recipient or audience. Our identity is shaped by our culture, which create a variety of viable and non-viable identity alternatives that room presented, refined and renegotiated through our communication and also exchange of social objects. Through consuming and also displaying certain communicative texts and strategies, we are both claiming certain identity positions, and also simultaneously rejecting others.

Production — below refers come the production of meaning. Meaning can it is in produced and reproduced in a variety of ways. One individual may produce an interpretation about themselves in the means they dress or wear your hat. Apple™ produces definition about itself in the means they design and build the iPhone™. A terror organization might produce an interpretation about itself by making videos they placed on Youtube. This action of an interpretation production may be unproblematic in ~ mainstream culture, and help maintain the hegemony, the dominance of a particular collection of schema or values. Alternatively, this production may an obstacle dominant beliefs or worths in some. A pop society example the this might have been beforehand Lady Gaga, whose setting of dress was confrontational because it deviated from existing cultural schema around appropriate dress for someone of she class, race, gender and occupation.

Consumption – The flip side of production is consumption. Consumption of texts, whether they be an outfit, a conversation, or a pop-song, reflects social values and expectations – conforming to values and expectations leads to unproblematic usage – the what is expected, that fits our internalized schema. Texts that do not fit this schema space confronting, challenging, even shocking. To continue to use Lady Gaga together an example, once she released a nine-minute lengthy music video clip centered around a narrative of woman violence, it to be shocking both in terms of its format (which wasn’t conventional MTV fare) and also its stare structure.

Regulation – finally, regulation describes the forces which restrict the production, distribution, and also consumption that texts. These pressures may be explicit, such as the television broadcasters password of conduct, or they may be implicit, such as the blogger litmus test of ‘would you speak this in former of her mother?’

Finally, linking with each other these areas are these arrows – the arrows are very important, due to the fact that as du happy says, none of this variables can really be considered in isolation. It would certainly be prefer looking only at the tyres to try and figure out why your vehicle isn’t running. So the is important, when considering interaction within a cultural context, come remember the there room multiple factors influencing the production of text and meaning. These factors may assistance the text, reinforce a cultural position, or alternatively, they may an obstacle or confront a cultural schema.

du Gay’s design is regularly applied to analysing the interplay between communication and culture within one social situation. However, through the globalisation that the media and also communication landscape, that is becoming increasingly crucial to think about the specificities the intercultural communication.


How would you define what culture is in your own words?Choose a type of communication or a media text, and also see if girlfriend can apply the 5 variables du Gay argues to understand that example.

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du happy et al. (1997) Doing cultural Studies: The story that the Sony Walkman Milton Keynes: open University; thousands Oaks, CA: Sage.