Keywords:Communication theory, Eastern and western perspectives, Indigenization, westerndiscursive paradigm, paradigm shift Abstract:Communicationscholars and theorists from around the globe have incorporated numerous ideasand dimensions on proposing communication theories. Based on the factors suchas the structure of the society, cultural background, the way of approachingvarieties of subject matters and so on create subliminal effects on how thecommunication theorists build different sets of sequential discourse towards astrong communication theory. The paper will first and foremost introduce on keyconcepts of communication theory, highlight the pre-dominance of impartingwestern communication theories, gradual emergence of eastern theories therebypenetrating stability, a comprehensive analysis of communication theory fromeastern as well as western perspective and finally cater a gist study on thecoherence of eastern and western perspective on communication in the contemporarysociety. Introduction:Groundworkand extensive research, theoretical assumptions, fundamental frameworks on thefield of communication have led scholars’ expertise in formulating varioustheories of communication; many of which have further been given a place torevise and improve in accordance to reconcile with the dynamic nature of thesociety and changing political agendas. By the same token, scholars engaged incommunication as a field view the parameters of communication theorydifferently. Communication theory is referred to the branch of knowledge inwhich a piece of message or information is transmitted that is associated to aset of principles, procedures and techniques in the light of communicationprocess.
In his article CommunicationTheory as a Field, Robert T. Craig indicates “all communication theoriesare mutually relevant when addressed to a practical life world in whichcommunication is already a richly meaningful term.” (Craig, 1999).
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As academiccourses on communication study are integrated in educational institutions, itis inevitable that the theories of communication are significant to helpfortify the understanding regarding the particular study. Similarto the aspects that any theory follows, communication theory assimilates thecomponents of definition, explanation, prediction and control therefore,serving four crucial functions. This theory explores the meaning which gives anelementary background, connotations in addition to the meaning, implications ofthe theory built in the communication world and the selection of mechanism tomake decisions about ways to manage and regulate the communication process.Furthermore, the theory accounts for four decisive approaches to communicationnamely communication as transmission (asymmetrical flow of communication fromone point to another through a medium), communication as ritual (to acquire asense of belongingness and recognition), communication as publicity(advertising/branding) and communication as reception (two-way communicationdemanding receivers’ active feedback).
Communication theory has long been atopic of discussion on whether it is successful to congregate the designationof modern discipline which is rich and refined both in theory as well as inpractice. Pre-dominanceof Communication Theories from Western Perspectives: Sincethe theorization of communication was largely enforced by the western thought,culture and practices, the supremacy of comprehending communication theory fromthe west was indeed likely to be seen being attributed to academic courses.This happened to be merely a whopping exception as a number of communicationtheorists had their roots to the west when theorizing communication was on theverge of early stages of development and breaking out of the shells. Thosetheories that accounted to the field of communication were destined to showrelevancy and consistency not beyond the premises of western perspectives.Gradually, the budding theorization of communication became more or lesswidespread and was intertwined with the western academia.
Meanwhile, scholarsformulating new theories who were actively engaged in the communication fieldwere surging. It was certain that the communication theories were not onlywell-contemplated but also, saw approximate applicability in functioning thedaily lives. The cultural practices, lifestyle, communication history, way ofapproaching cognitive thinking/understanding, patterns of the society and manymore result in scholars’ proficiency in developing rigorous set of perspectivesto theorize communication so it would not be appropriate enough to interrelatewith broader horizons and generalize the communication process universally. Thefact that trends such as westernization being widespread which was evenensuring its influence on non-western countries including the eastern societiestook a grip. Communication theories from western perspectives also witnessedspaces in the eastern curriculum and found ways to place it within. Having saidthat, Asian scholars were as well progressing in number but their concernaccounting communication from eastern tradition of thoughts was shiftingtowards the western notion. It was apparent that the idea of western discursiveparadigm was being heavily enforced in non-western societies and communicationscholars from the east were slacking off in giving recognition to their ownnative perspective of communication. Moreover, the belief that “west is thebest” was thriving in the run and greatly affecting the individuals’ point ofview.
Gradual Emergence of CommunicationTheories from Eastern Perspective:Thenon-westerners had three selections imposed before facilitating the westerntheories into the communication or corresponding curricula. Either they couldhave designed their own perspectives and adhere to the study or they could haveprojected the theories drawn from the west. The third option was to transformthe western concepts in such a way that both indigenous and westernperspectives could be blended so that the idea of indigenization would beenforced. The term “indigenization” can further be referred to transfiguringthe western theories in order to conjugate with other cultures and mixing ofboth indigenous and western paradigm. Aslong as five decades back, communication as a theory and practice first foundits way in context of non-western religion and philosophy. Robert TarbellOliver first attempted to explore communication from Hindu perspective duringmodern times.
In 1971, he indicated the distinctive features of Indian, westernand Chinese rhetoric reasoning for philosophical understanding of communicationand identifying oneness and solidarity as the foundations of rhetoric andcommunication in Asia. Scholars began theorizing communication from Hinduperspective in early 1980s. J.S. Yadava in 1980 argued that Sadharanikaran isthe concept which according to Hindu perspective implies to what communicationis today.
Likewise, I.P. Tewari in the same year claimed Sadharanikaran as theIndian theory of communication. Dissanayake on Bhartrihari’s Vakyapadiya statedthat his work “has almost a contemporary ring to it and a refreshing relevanceto modern communication studies.” A compilation of works from Jain andMatukumalli (1996), Kirkwood (1987, 1989, 1990 and 1997) were drawn on Hinduperspective based on classical Sanskrit text to understand unusual nature ofsilence conceived in Hinduism. Nonetheless, such earlier works did notemphasize on any six mainstream Vedic school of Hindu philosophy i.
e. Sankhya,Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta/Uttara Mimamsa. Comprehensive Analysis ofCommunication Theory from Eastern and Western Perspective:Afterdeliberate evolution of theories of communication from Hindu, Buddhist, Islam,Confucius and other Asia-centric/non-western perspectives, communication modelsand theories have been formulating such as Sadharanikaran Model ofCommunication, Bhatta-Mimamsa Model of Communication and so on. This paperunder the sub-heading of comprehensive analysis of communication theory willemphasize on the association of Sadharanikaran Model of Communication driven bythe philosophy of Hindu tradition with Aristotle’s Model of Communicationhaving originated in the West.SadharanikaranModel of Communication (abbreviated as SMC) was introduced and proposed in 2003A.D. and has been subsequently revised since then.
This model depicts therepresentation of communication process in terms of Hindu perspective. Alongwith that, the model is believed to be one of the indispensible transfigurationand landmark in understanding communication theory. The word “sadharanikaran”has its roots in composition of Mimamsa and Vedanta’s view obtained fromBharata Muni’s Natyashastra and Bhartriharis’ Vakyapadiya. The model isdirected towards a sense of commonness, mutual understanding and state oforientation. This is a systematic, non-linear and scientific model ofcommunication approach constituting following nine elements: i. Sahridaya: preshaka(sender) andprapaka(receiver) as communicating parties ii. Bhava: emotions/mood and rasa:sentiments/feelings iii.
Abhivyanjana: expression iv. Sandesha: message or information v. Sarani: channel or medium vi.
Rasaswadana: receiving, decoding, interpretingand finally attaining rasa vii. Dosha: noises or barriers viii. Sandarbha: context ix. Pratikriya: feedback Adhibhautika(physical or mundane), adhidaivika (mental), adhyatmika (spiritual) being the threedimensions of life in regard to Hindu perspective, the ultimate goal of SMC isto achieve Sahridaya. In addition, this model draws an attention towards whatHinduism believes as Purushartha Chatustaya namely artha (material wealth),kama, dharma and moksha (liberation).
Incontrary to Sadharanikaran Model of Communication, Greek Philosopher Aristotledeveloped a communication model termed as “Aristotle’s Model of Communication”which is in overall reference to the concept of rhetoric and theorizingcommunication from the western thought. Aristotle’s accumulative ideas arerecorded on his book Rhetoric and comprises of five crucial elements thatfollows: i. The speaker ii. The speech iii. The occasion iv. The audience v. The effectThemotive of this communication model is to influence the decision of audience andpersuade their thoughts.
It is more inclined towards public speaking ratherthan inter-personal communication and discusses on improbability,irrationality, harmful, contradictory and variance as being five categories ofcriticism so as to avoid public feedback.Itis vividly apparent that Sadharanikaran Model of Communication is directedtowards democratic societies thereby increased participation of sender andreceiver and also alters the role simultaneously in order to achieve intensivefeedback. Nevertheless, Aristotle’s Model of Communication doesn’t demand foraudience response as the sole objective is to accomplish the art of persuasivespeech which results in one-way (linear) flow of communication. UnlikeAristotle’s, SMC accounts for dosha (barrier or noise) and highlights on thesandarbha (context) as to whether or not the receiver interpreted and decodedit.Oneof the underlying distinctions is that the western philosophy of communicationconsiders every aspect of the process to be divergent whereas the easterntraditions back up social relationships and inter-personal interaction beingthe vital foundation of any communication process. Apart from communicationtheories in reference to western discourse being individualist, Dissanayake(1988) indicated that western theories are “functionalist, mechanistic,positivist and it regards communication as an external event, individuals asdiscreet and separate, and each part of the sendermessage-receiver process asdifferent.” (Adhikary, 2008, v.
2) In fact, communication and culturally richcivilization in theory as well as in practice are inter-connected in Hindusociety. Conclusion:Dueto certain recent trends in communication such as paradigm shift,de-westernization, Asia-centrism and many more, theorization of communicationfrom multicultural and multidisciplinary aspects has been prioritized to agreat extent. In order to achieve the theme of cultural identity consciousness,it is significant to impart communication theories from western as well aseastern perspective such that the native individuals belonging to easternsocieties will no longer require chasing after the philosophical understandingof western communication. While undergoing aclose observation in the contemporary world, communication from severalperspectives need to be inter-linked in order to understand the core aspect ofcommunication theory from different dimensions. It is likely that communicationwill be enriched and profound if the theories are to be studied in the light ofcultural and philosophical traditions.
To infer, the synopsis of the paperunder Communication Theory: Eastern and Western Perspectives can be bettercomprehended with Dissanayake’s (2003) statement suggesting, “No civilizationis possible without a vigorous system of communication.” With the prevalence ofcultural variation, the doctrine of communication theory varies and so does theapproaches to view the process. Therefore, theoretical investigations must beconducted in communication field by western and non-western scholars therebyenforcing control mechanism towards eastern and western perspectives. That way,a broader spectrum of communication process can be studied and practicedacknowledging cultural disparities across the world.