Discussion Questions: Weeks 1 & 2

by Heath Nicholson

How does communication influence culture?

Communication is responsible for countless changes in culture. A great example is the revolution that occurred in Egypt this past year. Because of restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, the revolution may have never happened if it was 50 years ago. But with the help of social media and many new channels of communication the people of Egypt were able to unite and voice their disapproval.

Photo found at http://www.david-campbell.org/2011/02/08/thinking-images-v-9-egypt/

How do language and symbols create communication?

Language and symbols are the means by which we communicate with each other. But what is it about a symbol that allows us to convey messages? The important attribute that symbols hold, in most cases, is that they mean the same thing to the receiver and the sender. For example, if I were to hold my middle finger up to a stranger while on my way to school they would most likely be angry with me. This is because many of us recognize that symbol as the same thing, a rude gesture. However, if the receiver had a different idea of what the middle finger meant, they wouldn’t be angry.

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2 thoughts on “Discussion Questions: Weeks 1 & 2

  1. Breanna I says:

    I like your current example of the Egyptian conflict for the first question. I am not sure that 50 years ago the conflict wouldn’t have been prevented because of the stricter regulations on public communication. People will find a way to communicate no matter what the circumstances are. Even prisoners in state and federal penitentiaries, find ways to communicate with each other and pass things to and from each other. This just shows how it is in our nature as social beings to find a way even if there is thought to be no way to make it happen.

    It is also very true that the symbol or hand gesture in this case can certainly be taken different ways. In our society the middle finger can mean very vulgar things, however in different cultures the pinky finger can be taken that way or even just pointing at something or someone can be considered rude.

  2. teampenguine says:

    I like your example for the first question. It clearly demonstrates the power of communication as it applies to a part of culture and while I think that communication through the media is easier for them than it used to be it would not have been impossible for them to start a revolution; just more difficult.
    I also like your example for the second question. Symbols mean different things to different people. It’s the interpretation of those symbols that makes life interesting.
    The only improvement that I could see you making would be to expand on the explanation. Great work.

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