Is consciousness like an iceberg? Does advertising lead to the commodification of humans? What is the hidden meaning of fairy tales? In 50 Ways to Understand Communication, Arthur Asa Berger familiarizes readers with important concepts written by leading communication and cultural theorists, such as Saussure, Levi-Strauss, de Certeau, Lasswell, McLuhan, Postman, and many others. Organized in fifty short segments, this concise guide covers a wide range of important ideas from psychoanalysis and semiology to humor, "otherness," and nonverbal communication. Berger's clear explanations and examples surround this assortment of influential writing, walking the uninitiated through these sometimes dense theoretical works. His selections and commentary will challenge readers to reconsider the role of communication in our culture. This engaging, accessible book is essential for students of communication and anyone interested in how we communicate in a world of rapidly changing media.
Words and communication -- Signs and semiotics -- When I use a word, Humpty Dumpty said... -- Antithetical meaning of words -- Society precedes the individual -- Language codes -- The structuralist perspective -- Culture and the unconscious -- The importance of metaphor -- A model of communication process -- The lasswell formula -- Art and society, a model -- Dialogic aspects of communication -- Conversation as narrative -- Men and women use language differently -- Black speech -- People of color and the media -- Nonverbal communication -- Facial expressions -- Fashion as communication -- Symbolism and religion -- The meaning of symbols -- The house as a symbol of femininity -- Miss America's mythic significance -- Images of women in advertising -- The power of advertising in capitalist societies -- Myths and society -- Robinson Crusoe as myth -- Fairy tales and the psyche -- Hot and cool media -- Impact of postmodernism -- Postmodern eye -- Mind and media -- Cybertexts and video games -- Digital media -- Smart mobs -- How crowds think -- Television and art -- Amusing ourselves to death -- Narratives in the media -- Television is a dramatic medium -- The power of rock music -- Artistic texts -- Psychoanalysis and literature -- Humor and communication -- On comedy -- What does art do? -- Interpretation and art -- The society of spectacle -- Representation and difference