Communication is an omnipresent concept that traverses all aspects of an individual's life. However, when asked exactly what communication encompasses or how to define it, even communication scholars are left perplexed or overwhelmed at the varying degrees of answers that will undoubtedly be given to depict what communication actually is. Why is this? Communication appears in our world in a plethora of avenues and in countless ways due to varying degrees of association. Therefore, with innumerable ways of analyzing and discussing communication, a tangible model or theory of communication needed to be developed in order to better communicate about communication not only as a field but also a human construct. Robert T. Craig recognized the need to develop a metamodel in able to formulate more identifiable and valid communication theories within the field of communication studies. Craig posits in his article Communication Theory as a Field, "communication theory [is] a dialogical-dialectical field according to two principles: the constitutive model of communication as a metamodel and theory as a metadiscursive practice" (Craig, 1999). Craig is hypothesizing that communication theory should operate within an analytical space of logical argumentation, its dialectical nature, formulated through dialogue.
[...] dialectics: "Every concept is rational, is abstractly opposed to another, and is united in comprehension together with its opposites." In a more simplistic explanation, dialectics are framed by the idea that we understand the concept of by recognizing the concept of "down." Communication theory operates within those same constraints; it is a constant struggle of opposing ideas in order to frame its own definition and the theories that help guide the study of communication. Consequently, Craig constructs a constitutive metamodel based upon seven traditions not "organized by traditional means of disciplinary origin," but instead organized by "dividing the field according to underlying conceptions of communicative practice" (Craig, 1999). [...]
[...] This is one of the reasons why it is difficult to nail down just one particular way of looking at the relationship between theory and practice in communication studies. A second obstacle to examining the relationship between theory and practice is that there are numerous theories that are located within the field of communication studies. A study conducted by Anderson (1996) found that there were distinct ‘theories,' 195 of which appeared in only one textbook [of the seven studied]” (Craig, 1999). [...]
[...] They asked important questions such as, do you go about persuading?” and they went on to study this one important domain of communication that is rhetoric (Parrish-Sprowl, 2007). Communication theory can also be traced back to Ancient Rome, where Quintilian and Cicero were the main teachers and scholars of the study of persuasion and communication (Parrish-Sprowl, 2007). They defined rhetoric as the art of speaking well, and they believed that this was an important field to study consistently. During the proverbial “dark communication as a field of study became less important. [...]
[...] John Parrish-Sprowl (2007), cybernetic communication theory has its roots in the empirical scientific field of engineering in the 1940's; however, it has also been noted that several "mid-20th-century thinkers including Shannon, Wiener, von Nermann and Turning" were among the foremost scholars to apply the idea to the communication field (Craig, 1999). For a cybernetic communication scholar, communication is best defined as "information processing and explains how all kinds of complex systems, whether living or nonliving, macro or micro, are able to function, and why they often malfunction" (Craig, 1999). [...]
[...] Communication is important in democracies because everyone must be informed and able to speak well. In a monarchy, or other autocratic political system, it is actually a detraction to have everyday people educated and learning the art of persuasion and rhetoric. When there is no room for questioning, and no freedom to be heard, communication is put on the backburner and discouraged. This is why there is such a dearth in the study of communications from the Ancient Greeks and Romans until more modern history. [...]
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