Essay about Lasswell Theory

1864 Words Jul 31st, 2011 8 Pages
The Lasswell Formula (1948)

Please note: The Lasswell Formula is typical of what are often referred to as transmission models of communication. For criticisms of such models, you should

The sociologist, Harold Lasswell, tells us that in studying communication we should consider the elements in the graphic above.

Lasswell was primarily concerned with mass communication and propaganda, so his model is intended to direct us to the kinds of research we need to conduct to answer his questions ('control analysis', 'effects research' and so on). In fact, though, it is quite a useful model, whatever category of communication we are studying. Note, incidentally, that the Lasswell Formula consists of five major components, though
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Lasswell: The Message

Being concerned with the mass media, Lasswell was particularly concerned with the messages present in the media. This relates to an area of study known as content research. Typically, content research is applied to questions of representation, for example: how are women represented in the tabloid press? or: how are blacks represented on television? or: how is our society represented to us in the movies? Content research will often be a matter of counting the number of occurrences of a particular representation (for example, the housewife and mother who does not work outside the home) and comparing that with some kind of 'objective' measure, such as official statistics.

Interpersonal communication

What about our everyday communication, though? Do you spend much time thinking about how best to formulate your messages? In much of our everyday interpersonal communication with our friends, we probably are not all that conscious of thinking much about our messages. Still, you can probably think of certain messages you are communicating now to anyone passing by as you read through this. Think about it for a minute -

* what clothes are you wearing? * how is your hair done? * are you wearing specs? * what about that deodorant?

The answers to those questions may not be the result of a lot of thought before you left home this morning, but they are the result of a variety of

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