Ethnography of communication

Ethnography Of Communication

Ethnography of communication

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The Ethnography of communication (EOC) is a method of discourse analysis in linguistics, which draws on the anthropological field of ethnography. Unlike ethnography proper, though, it takes both language and culture to be constitutive as well as constructive. In their book Qualitative Communication Research Methods, communications scholars Thomas R. Lindlof and Bryan C. Taylor (2002) explain "Ethnography of communication conceptualizes communication as a continuous flow of information, rather than as a segmented exchange of messages" (p. 44). According to Deborah Cameron (2001), EOC can be thought of as the application of ethnographic methods to the communication patterns of a group. Littlejohn & Foss (2005) recall that Dell Hymes suggests that “cultures communicate in different ways, but all forms of communication require a shared code, communicators who know and use the code, a channel, a setting, a message form, a topic, and an event created by transmission of the message" (p. 312).

EOC can be used as a means by which to study the interactions among members of a specific culture or, what Gerry Philipsen (1975) calls a "speech community." Speech communities create and establish their own speaking codes/norms. Philipsen (1975) explains that “Each community has its own cultural values about speaking and these are linked to judgments of situational appropriateness” (p. 13). The meaning and understanding of the presence or absence of...
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