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Communication as a Field of Study

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Communication as a Field of Study in the Philippines

Communication as a field of study has expanded over the years. From an Aristotelian oral tradition, a public speaking model and interpersonal communication point of view, it has metamorphosed into written and symbolic forms and more recently, towards the turn of the 21st century, encompassed computer-mediated and digital communication. Even our concept of communication that originated from the Latin term “communis” which means “to make common” has shifted from transmission perspective to interaction perspective. Communication is now regarded as a process, rather than an act, of “sharing symbols, information and meanings” (Craig, 2007, p. 2). The earliest form of communication inquiry can be traced back to the 5th century B.C. when philosophers like Plato and Aristotle studied public-speaking strategies of Greek orators. It was not until the 20th century, however, that communication came to be recognized as a science and established as an academic discipline. In the first few decades of the 20th century, studies in
communication were undertaken by scholars from other social science disciplines and focused on understanding how individuals make sense of messages (subjectivity of communication). The two world wars steered communication research into another direction. Concerns over the role played by the mass media in the wars motivated scholars to study the effects of mass media messages on audiences. Research into mass media effects laid
the empirical foundation of communication research and served as an impetus for the expansion of communication studies in the West.

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