Communication Criticism: Rhetoric, Social Codes, Cultural Studies by Malcolm O. Sillars, Bruce E. Gronbeck
322 pages, $37.95 list
1-57766-171-0
978-1-57766-171-9
Communication Criticism
Rhetoric, Social Codes, Cultural Studies
This concise but thorough introduction to criticism teaches students critical skills, whether examining television, fiction, nonfiction, visual arts, or oral and written discourse. Three introductory chapters provide a solid foundation to explore nine approaches to critical study. The perspectives presented bridge disciplinary boundaries and include: asking questions about how audiences process communication, understanding human symbol systems and social relations as vehicles for comprehending the world, value and narrative analysis, and psychoanalytic and ideological criticism. The easy-to-follow discussions of using each approach contain questions critics are most likely to ask, assumptions governing the approach, an exploration of sample analyses that reveal vocabulary most frequently used, and a review of the problems encountered by critics. The interplay of persuasion, poetic theory, and accurate interpretation allows students to incorporate the most useful elements in their critiques and to borrow insights from one approach to clarify and strengthen another. Multiple examples are sprinkled throughout, enriching studentsí learning experience.
Table of Contents
Part I. CONTEMPORARY COMMUNICATION CRITICISM
1. Communication Criticism Today
2. Analyzing Texts
3. Writing Critical Essays

Part II. THE RHETORICAL TRADITION
4. Accurate Interpretation: Verifying Representation and Interpretation
5. Formal Criticism: The Aesthetic Worth of a Message
6. Neoclassical Criticism: Communication as Persuasion

Part III. THE SOCIAL TRADITION
7. Semiotic Codes: Verbal, Visual, Acoustic, and Performed Texts
8. Social Criticism: Codes, Relationships, and Power

Part IV. THE CULTURAL TRADITION
9. Value Analysis: Understanding Culture in Value Systems
10. Narrative Analysis: Reading Culture through Stories
11. Psychoanalytic Criticism: The Interaction of the Conscious and the Unconscious
12. Ideological Criticism: Critiquing Institutions and Empowering Social Groups