Raymond Williams vs. James Carey Communication Models

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Review: Williams, Raymond (1977) “Definitions”, Communications, Harmondsworth: Penguin pp. 2-12 & Carey, James (1988) “A Cultural Approach to Communication”, Communication as culture, New York: Routledge, pp. 23-34

This review discusses communication explored by Raymond Williams and James Carey as they illuminate its utmost significance in that it constitutes reality, demoting reality as secondary compared to the dominant communication. It demands our seeking to apprehend it so we have an unbiased and principled view of communication. Williams’ piece can be viewed as sort of a predecessor to Carey’s, as we begin to see ideas of a ritual view emerge, despite his definition being primarily based on the transmission view with a sender and receiver, while Carey focuses on this ritualistic view examining the construction of symbolic reality.

While Carey’s work stands superior to Williams’, I find that as these scholars seek to broaden the scope of communication, or divert its focus, neither can be finalised as views to settle upon and base our education upon.

Both articles aspire to create a consciousness of communication, of which we are usually unmindful of, by demonstrating its virtue in our lives, which Carey (p.24) does particularly well with the metaphor of a fish being unaware of water, its ambience, as we do, communication. As Williams (p.12) suggests, awareness and betterment of our knowledge of communications allows us to look at our society and characteristic relationships in new ways. Carey suggests making communication ‘strange’ (p.24) thereby relieving it of its banal camouflage.

Predominantly, communication has been associated with travel, exchange of ideas and information or technology. Their definitions in both pieces are pivotal in describing the writer’s argument; so examining these allow us a meticulous understanding of communication. Williams (p.9) pertains to a transmission view, which assumes information and ideas are...