Reflections on Communication and Culture Author(s): Robert E. Park Source: The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Sep.

, 1938), pp. 187-205 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2768727 Accessed: 15/09/2010 00:41
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THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
VOLUME XLIV

SEPTEMBER 1938

NUMBER

2

REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE
ROBERT E. PARK ABSTRACT like and impersonal, is, forexample,matheas Communication languageis symbolic matics. It is, on the other hand, expressiveand personallike music. Both formsof in communication function bringing about those understandings betweenindividuals and peopleswhichare the substance-the warp and woof-of culture.The social function of communication and seems to be to bringabout and maintainunderstanding cultural solidarityamong individuals and societies. It may be contrastedwith the social function competition of whichis to bringabout an orderlydistribution and a divisionof labor betweenindividualsand societies. This divisionof labor, so far as it of is broughtabout by competition, involvesthe individuation the competingunits. Competitionand communication may thus be said to supplementeach other,since and socializingprinciple, while competition communication operatesas an integrating communication may be said to is the principleof individuation.More specifically, of operatein two dimensions. On the one hand, it serves to bringabout a diffusion culturaltraitsand so widen the culturalarea withinwhichsocial relationsmay exist. in diversecultural influences into On the otherhand,communication, so faras it brings like focusat some centerofcommunication, the ruralvillageor metropolitan city, tends new ideas-ideas that inevitably arise in the to bringinto the commonunderstanding of and process. The processesofdiffusion ferment, confusion, conflict the acculturation in and acculturation seem to take place in the mannerand underthe conditions which of It newsis collectedand diffused. is characteristic newsthat it circulatesas faras its that the cinema, and seemsimportant.It is probable,however, messageis understood is not news,but pictures, moredevastatingin its effects whichcirculates uponlocal culof the turesand in bringing widelydispersed people of the worldwithinthe influence a singlecultureor civilizationthanis the newsproper. I. COMMUNICATION IN THE CULTURAL PROCESS

a in is Communicationso obviousand pervasive factor sociallife wondered thatI have often whyso littlehad beensaid or written on to aboutit. Now thatI haveattempted write something thesubI know. I nolonger ject, wonder,
I87

thispaperhas turned to seeking define prospecting. to be sure. havebeenmereinstrumental radioand newspaper.The distance. disgenerally and cussion.an extensive as technical devicesas different the including speechand language.A littlelater.which described "actionofone minduponanother a social and cultural withthe fundamental process. as attitudes wellas ideasarecommunicated. BishopButlerto Hume and the Scottish reference the factsof symto one Adam Smith. forms whichcommunication and imitation. Physics Politics. suggestion. notesan insistent and an exat as pathyand of imitation offering once an evidence and whichis the basis of planation that understanding solidarity of the moralorder. literaand psychological sociological Thereis also an extensive and the obliquely turewhich approaches subjectof communication of In interest. emphasizes importance imitation indicates role and in sociallife.i88 OF JOURNAL SOCIOLOGY THE AMERICAN on written thissubjectis has thatthere beenso little One reason and becausethere beenso muchto write. becausemuchthathas has as with has beenwritten beenconcerned communication it functions of in somespecialwayin somespecific region sociallife. and record myexplorations mental of thatI I of the limits a subjectof whichI believedbefore started knowledge.in I872. in of and The nature function communication appears a newlight and and of in thestudies personality self-consciousness in thewrit- . WalterBagehot.The and communication expandthe effective extenhowever. already somegeneral had on literature the subjectof There is.in a clashas which becomea sociological and volume.Less has beenwritten sentiments and fine the by including so-called arts." takesplace are obviously in protean. and radioof the of ideographs the StoneAge and the newspaper his by modern world. whichman has soughtto perfect meansof limitsof his world. dialectic. aboutthemanifold typesof sionsofspeech. out to be littlemorethana In any case. identified at as he tion. thewritings from pointofviewofsomeulterior the from moralphilosophers. which are They include not merelysympathy as of but recognized suchin theliterature thesubject. which symbolism. its of and the sic.Eighteen in thecultural yearslaterwhen process imitahe his Gabriel Tarde published Laws ofImitation.

It changes character soon as I interpret as an than an act of God-that or rather of expression attitude intent in we a that beingthesecular language which describe happening is and one. CharlesH. The term wouldnotproperly applyto twoindividuals whoby occupying the same bed kept one another warm. . merely.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATIONAND CULTURE I89 ingsof menas widely divergent their in severalpointsof view as H. Finallythereare the Semanticists. ComJ.I am walking If alongthe streetand a brickfallson my head or close enoughat is that least to interrupt meditations. it of or to sentiment attitude assumes be an expression. is my wont.individuals in conscious themselves moreor lessoriented a moralworld. of of seemto be the mosteminent representatives.Andfinally I write as these words. person whose as Let me illustrate. lookingup from wall from the whichthe brickcame. whopreceded influenced him.therefore. Ogdenand of I. K. of and of Communication therefore. If. innocently.TheTyranny in to of Words. a form interstimulation not is.the fallof maliciously and thatbrickceasesto be a mere a physical phenomenon becomes as its it socialfact. in Implicit all thisdiscussion-andthat. individuals witha pointof view. I notetheappearance a newvolume Stuart of by Chase. whichhe undertakes tell us in simplelanguage whatOgdenand Richards wrote meant whenthey The Meaningof Meaning. but which they havenotalwaysachieved. as faras I am concerned. whomC. A. in itself a merephysical my I see a face grinning down on me fact. however. without wholly noonecanbe maderesponsible. which for of intention any sort.Communication whencompleted involvesan interpretation A of the stimulus by of back from and a reference thatinterpretation to the coming B.it seemsto me is the important thing-is the notionthat communication a form is of interaction a processthattakesplace between or persons-thatis to say. Cooley. authors TheMeaning Meaning. Richards. Theyare interested primarily not in communication in intelligibility. Mark Baldwin.and George Mead. munication thenature theprocess which mindknows and of by one another turns againas a cardinal up problem theso-called of "understanding sociology" Soziologie) Max Weberand in of (verstehende and thewritings Wilhelm of Dilthey. withan ego.

The origin is of of oflanguage one oftheclassicproblems thestudents linguisthemes of tics. but Whatthenatural is of to history theprocess I shallnotundertake discuss. idea. So it is with henclucking herchicks. I amleaving with typically least. distinction the tion-whereideas are communicated-and expressive function. of The same distinction to applies." Sapir. thepresent.it is communication. Thisis notconversation. evena voicecrying thewilderness. a gesture an in In or case expletive. two the way You have no doubtobserved ceremonious in which strange dogs approacheach other.language. do the to when they notspeak.This is not mereinterstimulaThesedogsunderstand another. classifies.intonation.In everyform involved to thedifferent due means sumesand in all thevariations the functhe between referential didactic or employed.in varying degrees. modulated accent. points itsobject." in scientific as It out and discourse."particularly aswhichthe processof communication dancing. following this Ogden and betweenlanguage that is symbolic and Richards. George I in thing havebeenable to find thebooks The mostinteresting on the subject of communication Edward Sapir's articleon is that. thefirst of the function languageis purely"referential. by In tendsto be expressive and inflection. forms usedby deaf-mutes communication different thesignlanguage as as musicand and whatI may call the "expressive arts. thatcase thefuncseemsto be to revealthemoodand thesentiments of tionofwords the person rather thanto define and express an who utters them. on "Communication" and by in the otheron "Symbolism. "Language"in theEncyclopedia the one briefer articles the same author.distinguishes systemformula the number or impersonal-like mathematical a like or and and languagethatis expressive personal. kindand qualityof thecomfor creatakesplace among less articulate munication which obviously tures thanourselves.190 JOURNAL SOCIOLOGY OF THE AMERICAN is of Communication thena form interaction that takesplace. it is communication. out individuals an ego. even one tion. merely.between at the of thereckoning. The case of henand chicks was one of thefavorite on Mead's lectures socialpsychology.and two of SocialSciences. In thesecondcase. identifies. . describes it.

thewarpand woofofthatwebofunderstanding call "culture. different Culture mayassumeamong times peoplesat different and places many and varied forms.at least indispensable the cultural to. by whichI meanbehavior that can be interpreted Music intuitively.Theyseemto be expressions are of of what Schopenhauer calls pure will. emotions and are communicated. anddancing expressions thissort. thatgives we as themthe character describe cultural. To pursue these divergent ofinquiry lines farther. the mediumof conventional partlythrough symbols and partlythrough gesture and expressive behavior.It spinsa webofcustom mutual butofa cultural and expecta- .thatconcensus underof which standing amongtheindividual components a socialgroup not of eventually givesit and themthe character merely society unit. would in lead intoa discussion themanner which of logicand science on arts theone hand.It is. in everthe forms and symbols whichtheymay be anywhere emseemsto have used bodied. all alike are cultural traits.andin theother sentiments. however. artifacts. material. at or and cationcreates. the hoe and theplow.marriage customs. attitudes.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE I9I In -where sentiments attitudes manifested-persists. COMMUNICATION AND COMPETITION do in What does communication and how does it function the different cultural Communiprocess?It seemsto do several things.in thesensein which Schopenhauer and thoseterms. its fundamental whatcomponents. is II. In the same sensemathematicsand logicmay be described expressions pureform as of or idea. factthattheyare the understood a particular by people. Attitudes sentiments. have developed out oftheimpulse theefforts human and of to beings communicate theirideas and express theirsentiments. Culture includes then and all thatis communicable. however. process."I followSapir in the assumption that the essenceof culture understanding. purpose rather is to My the fact that communication I understand is. and nonmaterial-lanand like guage. makes possible least. are. Will and folkways are we mores. the and are one case ideas. and Idea. if as it emphasize not identical with.by a cultural group.and theexpressive on theother.

that communication. is at least comparable that of communication.I92 THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY tionwhichbindstogether social entities diverseas the family as group. thehaggling a or participants a village in market. example. the to identify socialwiththe moralorder. of that theterm and customary.Communication maintains concert the necessary enable to to them function.Competition. Thus thefunction communication seemsto be to maintain of theunity and integrity thesocialgroupin its twodimensionsof space and time. merely not from to day. to by communication.butfrom day generation generato tion."We are compelled recogto the he admits.at any rate manyrelations in the sensein which uses the term. matter their activities touch respective oneanother.theyform true no howclosely socialgroup." Implicitin Dewey's statement. By so doingit limits "social" to thoserelations individuals arepersonal. competition as Cooleyobserves. "thatevenwithin mostsocialgroup there nize.It is in recognition thisfactthatJohnDewey of has said: "Societynot onlycontinues existby transmission. nottheonlyform interaction goeson among theindividual unitsofa socialgroup. is however. initsseveral each ways. is in thiswaythat that is It thecontinuity common of and enterprises socialinstitutionsmainis tained.it is the typical is of that socialprocess. use to "Whenindividuals one another get results.theyare involved the matter of clear. economic to The in seems be very to order society a of largely by-product competition. To make Dewey.he adds. . but be in communication. without referand consent. "theveryheartof is." enceto their emotional intellectual or says disposition in relations thatare notsocial. may fairly said to existin transmission. he for a of different butonethat performssocialfunction a somewhat sort.however. every form society of except themosttransient a life-history a tradition. is by comhas and It munication thistradition transmitted. uponthislevel." if It is obvious. In any case. moral." are whichare not yet social"-not social. labororganization. a conception of thatis notgenerally everywhere nor sinceit seems society accepted. or Familygroup labororganization. "So faras the relations parentand and pupilremain teacher no child.

as for in factor producing that diversity livingtypesdeof termining in theneconomic the scribed theOrigin the competition. to to every permanent ofsociety If the struggle existence. regulated some extentby convention. it in withthestruggle existence. for ofthatterm which is identical and that is Economic competition alwayscompetition is controlled and understanding. custom a product communication.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE I93 designate economic as process. this division labor wherever existsin human is is and of by society limited custom. muchlarger to menis. Darwinconceived was a deit. it is in the as thatevenwhere competition free thereexistsamongcreaso-called plant and animalcommunities. ."Whatwe ordinarily the economic sense in is however.Competition to aboutan orderly tends bring distribution wellas a as and animals in habiof living together a common mutual adaptation thespecies about. about amonghumanbeingsa comparable occupational bringing of it But diversity. in seemsto have been a decisivefactor for struggle a livelihood. Wherever naturecompeco-operation competing brings abouta stableorganization tition thestruggle existence or for in it individuals. not merely territorial. of Species. in under an have created environment whichall can live together where each could not live separately. not competition the Malthusian competition.or at amonghumanbeingshas brought tat. in What turesliving the same habitata kindofnaturaleconomy. suchcase thecompeting the nichein which fits. to havediscovered of The investigations plantand animalecologists is and unrestricted. thansocial. an it of distribution racesand peoples. is becausetheyhave achieved amongcompeting oranother division laborand someform conscious of of someform a In speciesor or unconscious co-operation.in the symbiotic rather has hitherto amongplants sensein whichDewey uses that term. has occupational division laborwhich fundamental is aboutthatinevitable of brought the form from family thenation. Competition a but any rate helpedto bringabout. This natural conditions is of economy plantand animals calledsymbiosis. this is of characterizes economy a division laborand an unconscious in of organisms.to a very extent than Man's relation other been recognized. it will each occupying particular individual. law.Incidentally.

forms organization-the Familial in seemsto have had its source theinterest in theurge and society not to but of individuals. man lives as he alwayshas.has arisenout of the to needoftheindividuals survive individuals. or biosis. economic but by modified controlled an everincreasing and to competition degree by and custom.The area of of competition of the symbiotic and relationship however. theother hand. invariably modifies and order qualifies competition. of exhibits fundamental two society everywhere of familialand the communal. are to In spiteof thechanges which timeand civilization have wrought in the existing social order. in response somegregarious not ditions to with the sexual instinct. theother hand. law. is. Communal society. as Undertheseconmenhave cometogether. is. recallSumner's Most ofyouwillperhaps of description primitive a scattered ethnocentric society. As a matter fact.in a kindof symlive withtheplantsand animals. little tribal and familial Outside these of on units. it seems. verylittlemodified mutualunderstanding agreements by the of anysort. it exists. impulsecomparable but for the more pragmatic intelligible and reason thatthey useful oneanother.finally. by Commerce invariably expandsmorewidelyand rapidly thanlinguistic It or culturalunderstanding. in two of and worlds-thelittleworld thefamily thegreatworldof com- . But the main where is and point thatcommunication. initiated communication. thecultural imposes limitations on thesymbiotic. invariably widerand moreinclusivethan the area of thoseintimate. merely live as individuals to perpetuate seemsto rest. territory occupied little by groups. with another unlike one in menlivein relation not those which they thatis to say. in relative but independence each other.competition communication and operate within samelocalhabitatand within samecomthe everywhere the munity.Underthesecircumstances fundamental socialand orderis enforced and maintained competition.this cultural lag that makesmostof our politicaland cultural problems. Thus the family on on basis.I94 THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY As a matterof fact. an instinctive the race. convention. and moralrelations personal. in and center a little of world which members each thefocus all are in and boundtogether tiesofmutual understanding loyalty.

operates primarily an integrating andsocializing principle. In thefamily is communication thepersonal it and influences which communication mediates thatare thesource and principle order. of thatwhen It is true. newforms communication of have about more intimateassociations or brought amongindividuals whohavebeenculturally the peoples isolated. form conflict of and rivalry.In the largerworldman is free in to pursuehis individual interests his ownindividual way. theother hand.relain tively uninhibited theexpectations claims by and which. which imposes as What all this suggests.Undersuchcircumstancescompetitor an On the otherhand.In thelittle world order predominates is intimate.greater intimacy inevitably brings the of moreprofound understanding.animosities. competition In for is becomesconflict. tendsto assumea new character.whichthe by and the knowledge his purposes of presenceof the competitor a becomes enemy. arouse. and although they perform divergent unco-ordinated and socialfunctions. in the long run.is thatcompetition communication. each seemsto be theprinciple individuation thelife of in Competition of thepersonand of society. merely not to the humanhabitatbut to the occupational organization the of he He the of society which is a member. that case the struggle existence likely and to be intensified fears.Underthe influence thisprinciple of the individual adapts and accommodates himself. suchorder exists. Comon as munication.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE 195 and the which merce politics. first consequence may underthe influence be to intensify of competition. jealousies. Furthermore. to a lessdegree politics. of In theworld commerce. personal. It communication. interests others the of might impose uponhim. whomone knowsand withwhom an enemy withit a and. result whichis to humanize and to substitute moral orderforone that is a social relations .it is alwayspossibleto cometo terms with one can communicate. as thoughnot perhapsso obviously I should like. course. follows vocation and does he he thething can. and moral. rather thanthe thing might liketo do. nevertheless intheactuallife society of and they supplement complete other. is comof and in it in and competition the moresublimated petition. a more intimate socialorder.

and only partially.to someone stantially that is interof is Communication a processor form interaction sense. the supplied whosewordor gesture of or attitude intent theperson time is submeans to anyoneat any What anything stimulus. the sensein whichthoseterms used in individual and interpretation.. somewhat butto themoodsandthepresence other What we call thefluctuasameway thattheyare to theweather.or conventional gesture.an interpretation the whatever. of so and particularly underthe condition what is called gestion. thisatmosveloped not to responsive." "isolated of and thehypnotizer to those nooneelse. III. In ofunderstanding.alwaysin therestricted symbiotic fundamentally of sense thatterm. in thesocialweather evoke Thesechanges a kindofsocialweather. or has whatit means. and are. of it alwaysinvolves.e. a mere not is. whoare en rapport: of changes in tensions persons changes internal It to so subtlethattheyamount a kindof clairvoyance. merely the overtacts pheretheyare constantly in the of persons. willmean. expression. in fact.i96 OF JOURNAL SOCIOLOGY THE AMERICAN rather thansocial. tionsofpublicopinion. publicsentiment. seemsto me. rupted then as of thatis interpreted an expression a but stimulus. meant. individuals be to ditions may . else. a stimulus indicateshow of The literature hypnotism wish or an attitude. response. of where subject the to responds thesuggestions rapport. symbolsof any sort articulate speech. personal. The process complete is i. particularly A the of are involved en rapport. DIFFUSION of the it whether takesplace through medium Communication. socialin thenarrower words. fashion. conundercertain subtlesuggestions be and how responsive may them. is onlyin is of that of moments abstraction thiscondition clairvoyance interA suggestion ofcourse. response individual to an persons to and B actionofindividual is likely be immediate wellexpressive This is obviously in the case of hypnotic so sugnighautomatic. enas in individuals society livingconstantly We mustconceive In of in an atmosphere subconscious suggestion. other in it onlywhen results somesort in and a is communication nevermerely case of stimulus response are psychology.in mostcasesperhaps. It is rather the where and In somecases.

The less obviousobstaclesto effective communication the are of that exdifficulties growout of differences language. life. persons. in and interest. of in itself twodimensions The cultural process ordinarily presents boundup withand determined or aspectswhichare intimately by the condition underwhichcommunication inevitably takesplace.the trendof opinion. it As communication takesplace between persons. are at for has the moment powerto direct a timethe currents public of in even if it does not change. By to Thomasrefers as the"runofattention. etc.thissetsus thinking." and Everywhere always. action.from a in it to of mind is an expression theperson whose person whose mind whichfacilitate oba The obviousconditions it finds response. maytaketheform finally a socialbrainstorm the of dancing maniaof theMiddleAgesorthecommercial panicof 1929.. to vagueemobut tionalprotest inarticulate or opposition. is necessarily in incident the transmission a to involved all the complexities of ad the stimulus from sourcea quo to a terminus quem-i. This emotional expression influence mind ofunrest.If I merely of refer and the directly indirectly. and At other times arouses not to definite it us. . has Whatever importance prestige and tainthings in fashion. senseandmeaning thebehavior to of and language thoseabout us are obscure. in itself social Undermorenormalconditions unrest may express and or form discussion debate. radio. interest thisinstanceI mean what perience. of multiplied intensified thereflex and by like on mind. the long run. of and leaves us sometimes witha senseof frustration confusion. tradition. of agitation in thelessviolent These are some of the manifold ways in whichcommunication the culture operating within limitsof an existing groupchanges. and Theyare: diffusion acculturation.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE I97 the Sometimes. be sure. printing-press. or and struct these are times processes mainly physical in modern they overcome meansof technical have been progressively devices by likethealphabet. events in thefocus attention. or are of cercertain interests. pattern cultural here disto thesemanifestations in passingit is because a fuller of cussion them of wouldinvolve behavior which problems collective that havebecomethesubjectofa are so diverse manifold they and specialdiscipline thesocialsciences.e.

or artifact an itemofnewswillhave everywhere the thata cultural they meanings But samemeaning. they turaltraitsare assimilated This does not mean are understood onlyas theyare assimilated. thatrespect is not unlikeany othercultural the oil cans of the StandardOil Companyor the Singersewingdiswhich nowpossibly mostwidely are the machine example. theother hand. to ligible theaverage in and in as widely everydirection proportion it is interesting initem.They know. excultural as Berlinto New York-is an operation simpleas ample.One can. no one whohas nothad theexas correspondents Foreign to circumstances make how difficult is underordinary it perience. turn. how muchmore the public read foreign it inteldifficult is to make eventshappening beyondhis horizon newscirculates manin thestreet. less remark- .of course. who thepersons report know. depend of and temper thepeopleto whomthe thepast experience present the thanupon either art or the good will of wordsare addressed them. takes wayinwhich of proceedon the Discussions the deficiencies thepressoften of of that the communication news fromone implicitassumption for to the area to another-from Orient the Occident. diffusion succeededby acculturation.also. and onlyas theyare understood. intelligible.In general. for artifacts. news to and withwhatrapidity It is extraordinary whatextent if the of its to tends reach minds those whom message. cultural diffusion place.just as important. to if On is important. but the interpretations marches.i98 OF THE AMERICAN JOURNAL SOCIOLOGY and in are events. thedifferent as is do havein different placeswilltendto converge. wordsacross cultural transport or boundary on which theyreceive twosidesof a political cultural interpreters will depend upon the contextwhichtheirdifferent more upon in rather will to bring them. news. In it telligible. of cultural persed all ourmodern tendsto reach or Each and every artifact itemofnewsinevitably Culand the it finally placeswhere willbe appreciated understood. quitethecontrary.That context.All thesethings factors communication either from country one of the or facilitate makedifficult transmissionnews of in is newscirculates typical one The manner which to another.or from like of the transportation a commodity bricks.

example. nor to the of particularly problem Thislatter a problem the schools." Then after some regreatthingthe whiteman has brought as he filection added: "It is worth muchas tenwives. of Thirty-three yearsago the conclusion the Russian-Japanese and farther morerapidly War madenewsthatI suspectcirculated before. in the for Consider. is the difficulty communicatingmessagethatis neither to important intelligible the persons whomit is addressed.whatever theybe. traits a material itemsof a nonmaterial thansimilar assimilated culmorerapidly and religious for example.dependsupon circumstances. distinguished of and devicesas can be largely composed suchartifacts technical the without social institutions diffused and undermining existing the of that without impairing ability a peopleto act collectively.is What we call civilization.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE i99 a of able.too. of are culture so widely the of diffused One reason terms a material is and easilyassimilated because theiruses are obviousand their and secular. He said. more That is no more But that. consistently in concert. thewhole. rapidly thanreligion.One needsno values. more easily artifacts. Whenthefirst plowwas introduced whowas invited be present see the to an and SouthAfrica.It was the news that a and conquered nationof a nationof colored peoplehad defeated travel farther with and white people. practices. . are rational himintomysteries in involved theuse riteor ceremony initiate to or into of a wheelbarrow rifle. The sameitemofnewsmight greater speed today. of observation students thecultural of that process It is a familiar of are the diffused and culture. whatcircumstances of news The question howand whyand under one more attention is thanhas circulates an important and deserves to yetbeengiven it. is of rotelearning. had Oneheard thananyother report events evertraveled of fastnesses of as echoesof it in regions farapart as the mountain of Tibet and the forests CentralAfrica. old chief its demonstration recognized value at once. "This is a us. ture-politicalinstitutions on thanto say thattradeexpands. suddenrapid diffusion the modern world communism. is and Institutions seemto existprito say.but it wouldnot have the same importance." as fromculture.

earthquake China asAn in that something less sumes. and thanothers. wherever it takesplace. and IV. trying cometo terms . tionhave been overcome.Thisis an example whatis meant of by is in which theterm which seek socialdistance. I as havesaid. suppose.whatis at onceinteresting intelligible. Individuals societies and assimilate mostreadily. It is boundup withthe inevitably character human egocentric of of and theethnocentric character human relations beings generally.in view of our incorrigible provincialism. to and to theendsoftheearth. in somesense. importance in thana funeral ourvillage.and anything is of thatsociety composed society rather thantheindividuals which is hardto export. in theverynature and is place.Diffusion takesplace moreeasily when social the unity relaxed.a of matter socialdistance. The principle involved the circulation newsis not different in of in from that involved the cultural processof diffusion.is. An eventis important only as we believewe can do something in as of aboutit. ACCULTURATION If themarket from which newsis disseminated placeis thecenter it and cultural influences diffused. to the localcommunity then. old ideas go into the crucible The market to mengather dicker chaffer. It losesimportance proportion thepossibility doing seemsmoreremote. center which are the in and new ideas emerge.likewise. and according itsinterests importance.where menofdiverse where ofthings kind forum a of interests different and in minds engaged peaceful are to controversy.The centers and the of to oftradeareinvariably centers news.thecenters which the it first newsinevitably comesand from whence is diffused. Importance ultimately personalmatter.measure personal is a sonal intimacies. I thatthere invariably intimate an and indissoluble relation between commerce thenews.200 THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY thatinvolves a to marily facilitate collective action. a process selection of During thisdiffusion necessarily takesplace. is is It is no secret. sociologists to conrelations perand ceptualize and. This travel farther morerapidly Somenewsitems is true evenwhen ormost thephysical all of obstacles communicato The reasonof courseis simpleenough.

the to volvedtheuse ofbusses.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE 20I also. They have used it. rapidpace. which occupying sameterritory peoples . inupon themfornew schoolhouses. by a processthat is fundaabout values and prices. have things meanings the to mentally dialectical. using biotic rather as withcultural.000 New schools.W. for and less and on more reason rather on tradition theprejudices rather It if has sanctioned. which "plainpeople"wereopposed. in moreor less complete live. live together I which have described symas likely livefora timein relations to in thatterm thisconnection Dewey as thansocial. seek to cultures races and divergent Whenpeoplesof different theyare the of within limits thesamelocal economy. where hopeto livein theymight of frontiers Europeancivilization. namely. and no doubt quite correctly. religious on in settling the soughtrefuge the UnitedStates and elsewhere. identical and others in but contiguity.A. moral isolation.in short. of withthemixedpopulation a conof association Amishchildren seem would certainly solidatedschoolto whomAmishfolkways of the and quaint. with intercourse a Gentile this isolationthat some of Pennsylvania's It was to preserve a a months against gift ago protested few "plainpeople. was whichthe government pressing of P. acculturation. description primitive to Sumner's of This has been and stillis the situation some of thoselittle whichhave from timeto time sectslike the Mennonites. the peoplescomeand go from four to cities which inare ferment enlightenment.trying. volved-to use a German the is and process quickened. situation of society. explore different based understandings to seeking reach menofdifferent interests. that also. Undersuch expression. and by like something tribalisolation-untrammeled uncorrupted world. continually of are in a perpetual in an Aufkldrung. notsanctified.in this case.and Paristhat the great metropolitan endsoftheearth.London. live the in This situation. physical in if which a corresponds effect notin fact. funds of $II2.wouldundermine discipline thesacredsolidarity Amish society. the conditions historical at of goes forward a mutualinterpenetrationmindsand cultures. intimate They believed."theAmish. is forthisreason custom which cities-Rome.

Everything struggle immigrants sectarians of thatmarksthemas strangers-manners.as conflict invariably does. historically.Underthese becomesinvolvedin and part of the acculturation circumstances and alikeforstatus. notearlier. namely.202 THE AMERICAN JOURNALOF SOCIOLOGY in a moralisolation moreor less complete. thosewhoare classedas aliens and in thosewhocountthemselves native. situathe tionof a moresophisticated people than the Amish.It is then.continue of grounds consciousness. culturalconflict manifested merely ensues-whether or which then sensedopenly self-consciousness in tends. inevitably sincethe attitudes of but not merely ourselves of our fellows. and in we sentiments which find ourselves are able to appreciate we and . Theywouldstillfunction partofthat as in refers hisessayA Certain to William "vitalsecret" which James in Blindness HumanBeings-a secretof whicheach of us is probecause it is the substanceof one's own selfconscious foundly and consciousness ofone's individual pointofview-but forwhich and we look in vain to othersforsympathy understanding. if thatsetsthemapart thattheybecomeawareof thesocialdistance of cultural fromthe members the dominant group.to a lessextent.as thepsychoanalysts us. anything intensifies and into clear to lates introspection inevitably brings the surface sentiments attitudes thatotherwise and wouldescape consciousness and Otherwise rationalcriticism interpretation. But in cultural and conflict. accent. the of Jews.to heighten in members bothcultural of groups. thenaturalcourse. so faras it brings into and of of we thelight understanding impulses attitudes which would increases knowledge otherwise remain our unconscious. situation every immigrant has to a peoplewhich forany reasonsought find place in the ecoand nomic order an established of society at thesametime maintain tradition wasalientoit. long was so theseclusion their of livedin the as they religious community.boththe immigrant the sectarian in thatthey moreactively from isolation order this mayparticipate in thesociallifeofthepeopleaboutthem. seek to escape and tionsof life. theywouldprobtell in active thedarkbackably. particularly conflict.It has been. that a cultural in under modern condiInevitably. however. that self-consciousness stimuand However.habitsof speech this struggle The and thought-makes difficult.

particularly strange but often women. of if Acculturation we conceive in radicalfashion.however. I am not sure. it maybe said to beginwiththeintimate associations understandings grow and that up in thefamily laterwith between mother childandsomewhat and other members thefamily. are racial with . them when find in theminds others. thanthey formerly Theystillhave their separate worlds.But thisis true also of parentsand children' Both understand each otherbetter thanthey oncedid. wrong describing intimate in the associations which life family permits enforces if theywerepart and parcelof and as the cultural process. women. I am. are underall ordinary circumstances. thatthisis quite true.live in in and more intimate association withone another did. of If thisis not trueto the same extent todaythatit oncewas.it is becausemenand women. They speak the samelanguage.perhaps. but with other members the with the relations family-notably betweenhusbandand wife.are notquitehuman thesenseand to thedegree in thatthisis true themselves.I suspect. while of and But mothers necessarily. is notorious to it thattheydo not always understand them. they havelearned more-inthesenseofunderstandand ingone another in theability communicate-from to literature and thearts.That may seemto be employing term a a in context which so foreign it as to destroy original is to its meaning.in the in and family which husband wife ofdifferent stocks. profoundly interested and responsive theirchildren. The situation of differs. factmenhave feltin thepast and stillfeel In in someobscure way. they together they but get as did formerly not.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATIONAND CULTURE 203 understand. notgreatly. thefamily outsideofit.At any rate. matter no howindirectly we expressed. In factit is just thefunction literature thearts of and and ofwhatare described academiccircles thehumanities in as to giveus thisintimate personal and insideknowledge each other of which makessociallifemoreamiableand collective actionpossible. matter interestthat no how ing. Men are naturally instinctively and interested and attracted in by find them diffiwomen. Men andwomen havelearned great a dealaboutoneanother from but experience. they cultto understand.

cinema of The deals withthemes that are closerto the interests the underand of man Bestanding theordinary thanare thoseofthenewspaper. in the discovered. the radio. processof acculturation-and the acin culturation the sensein whichit is familiar students-takes to place moreobviously moreeffectively it does elsewhere.Theyareliterature. reason are The is thatthemanofmixed bloodis a "marginal man. particularly art of the moving and the picturerather than the newspaper whichexercise. printed thenewspaper news. and than It is thisfactand notitsbiological consequences which givesrecent studies racemixture interracial of and marriage.But human-interest stories notnews.themanwholivesin twoworlds is notquiteat home either. . Mencken other and newspaper have men is interested either. notprofoundly Furthermore.becauseit is thrilling stirs imagination and the and not becauseits message urgent is and demands action. the"human interest" stories. doing as of of In so I have had in mindthe wide distribution newsthat has taken of placewith extension themeans communication the of of through the medium the printing-press. that the processand consequences acof culturation mostobviousand opento investigation. Such.which in been so influential expanding maintaining circuand newspaper lation. are Time and place are theessence news.as ifit were as literature. read. thestudies like of Adamsin Hawaii.at least. sidesnewsis very largely concerned with business politics. of telegraphy. I should and thatnoteverything in is add. It is in the life-histories mixedbloodswhoseorigin of ordinarily imposes upon themthe taskof assimilating heritages the of two divergent cultures.as Mr. It is artand on of and literature. mostprofound I the and subversive cultural influences theworld in today. If thenewspaper thecirculation newsseemto be themost and of obvious of illustration diffusion. suspect. and and theordinary man.thatis to say. Muchthatis printed newsis read. but in I In discussing cultural the diffusion have takennews and its circulation an illustration theprocess diffusion. called."so called.204 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL SOCIOLOGY OF different cultural heritages.perhaps. cinema the and themotion picture seemto be themostobviousexample acculturation.a significance wouldnototherwise Romanzo they have. timeand place impose of but no limitations thecirculation literature art. are for have so example.that is.

The influence each hasat leastbeendiAerent. evenin themostremote partsoftheworld.to them. In conclusion. cinema. in the radiohas been moreeffective the cultural processor more in decisive bringing about cultural of changes.On theother of hand.shallrevert thedistinction which started I I to with the distinction between languageand forms communication of as and which referential. of Arbuckle. to UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO . definitely symbolic.on the basis of my limited to observation. cynical laughter native in in audiences the PedangHighlands Sumatrawitnessing the for of first time someofthe. in scientific are and description. determine the of the or whether influence the newspaper. it doesnothavethestatusin science a and classified to fact. language as of and forms communication whichare symbolic expressive.in spiteof the use thathas been made of it for and educational purposes. on the whole. incredibly intimate scenes a Hollythe woodwooing.it is at least indispensable government to business. as suchit profoundly influences sentiment attitudes evenwhenit doesnotmakeany and realcontribution knowledge.where levelof literacy verylow.REFLECTIONS ON COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE 205 menon a lower levelofculture moving picture touches enlivens and of to the page.Anyone whohas had an opportunity observe to in influence themoving of regions the of picture anyoftheoutlying of worldand upon peoplesto whomits vividtranscripts contemlife reveAmerican have comeas a suddenand astonishing porary lation. It is not possible. It seemsclearthatthefunction news of is definitely If of referential.thefunction art and ofthecinema is.can have no doubt about theprofound revolutionary and in and of changes theyhave already wrought theattitudes cultures peoples. in literature thefine and arts.convulsed in and the of with laughter mad withdelight watching antics Fatty and I have seen the startled. thanit is possible do through medium theprinted in islands I haveobserved Negroaudiences someoftheremote of is the theWestIndies.

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