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Interaction

W. Russell Neuman


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The term interaction is used in diverse social-scientific as well as natural-scientific fields of inquiry to identify a pattern of reciprocal influence or exchange among two or more entities. In physics, scientists have identified such fundamental mechanisms as gravity and magnetism by which particles exert mutual influence on one another. In communication studies and textbooks, perhaps surprisingly, the term is found rather infrequently. While the core idea of interaction is very close to the concept of communication, a terminology of interaction tends to suggest a particular set of preferred epistemologies, methodologies, and analytical objects in communication research. Interaction in communication scholarship most often signals a counterpoint to what is still widely perceived as a dominant one-way transmission model of communication effects, typically associated with such early researchers as →  Harold D. Lasswell and Claude Shannon. In comparison, →  cultural studies scholars, for instance, frequently emphasize the way in which audience members interact with – actively interpret and appropriate – the symbols and ideas that are prevalent in popular culture, rather than simply being influenced by them (→  Interactivity in Reception ). The understanding of interpretation as interaction within communication theory resonates with a much older recognition in philosophy, namely, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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