The article is from WeChat public account: Xinchuanyandushe (ID: xinchuanyandushe) , author: Elihu Katz, Yonatan Fialkoff, from the title figure: Figure worm


In this issue is a paper published by well-known communication scholars Elihu Katz and Yonatan Fialkoff in 2017, which talks about six communication theory that should be retired, including our familiar opinion leaders, two-level mobility, choice Sexual contact, the spiral of silence … Katz and others suddenly opened fire on these concepts, which also aroused heated debate in the academic community. (In the same issue, some scholars Stand up and refute Katz’s point of view) . To this end, we have translated this essay, hoping to throw a similar question: How should we deal with the classic heritage of communication today in the 21st century?

First, opinion leader

Lazasfield proposed this concept because he found that The main source of influence on ordinary people’s decisions is not the media, but a specific group of people, or so-called “opinion leaders.” Although the concept of “leader” is too large, it may not be suitable for those who only have “daily influence”, but the name is still used.

Subsequent research then considers whether there are some universal “leaders”? Or are there different “leaders” in different fields? At the same time, subsequent research also found that in the same communication behavior, participants may be both “leaders of public opinion” and “followers of public opinion”, which makes things even more troublesome.

In addition, some people believe that the influence of opinion leaders may be more normative. (normative) Instead of an informative (informational) . The most important thing is that there are also differences in the role of opinion leaders: Are they filtering media content or are they just reposting media content?

We’ve found that efforts to find opinion leaders have not been very successful. This concept has earned a huge reputation, but in the empirical research, it has been faltering.

Second, two-step flow

Lazasfield believes that opinion leaders act as middlemen between the audience and the media. If this is true, then early mass social theories in the history of communication need to be corrected, because even in modern society, people actually talk to each other. However, Gitling complained that the relationship between the media and opinion leaders should appear to be interconnected rather than competitive.

The concept of “two-level mobility” requires retirement, not because the connection between people and the media described in it is incorrect, but because it is much simpler than just two levels. Perhaps it is a network. On the basis of the methodology at the time, two-stage communication was probably all it could handle. As the media environment continues to changeThis process is definitely more complicated.

Third, selectivity

The concept of selective contact implies another kind of “intermediary” between the viewer and the message. People think that the influence of the media is limited, not only because their information will be intercepted by social networks, but also because people pay more attention to their previous opinions. (bias) consistent information. Lazarsfield and others found that Democrats selectively focus on messages from Democrats, while Republicans choose messages from Republicans. You know, in 2012, the Pew Research Center (PEW) also found the same situation.

However, Lakur came to the opposite conclusion, finding that party affiliation does not determine selective engagement. In fact, when we find some kind of ideological-based selectivity, it only applies to a small part of the population. (especially politically active minorities ) . Selectivity is a good idea, but most follow-up studies do not fully support it.

For example, Mutz and Martin found that the media ’s selective engagement is relatively low, in part because the concept of the concept does not seem to be sufficient. In theory, the attraction of positive attitude information and the disgust of negative attitude information are not equal. Therefore, in general, existing research has only moderately supported the concept of selective media exposure, both online and offline.

Fourth, crossPressure (cross-pressure)

Some might say that the concept of cross-stress has been retired early. There is very little research on cross-stress, and many of us have never mentioned it again. However, this concept gained new life in the follow-up work of Mutz (2002) . She examined the results of conversations between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Homosexual conversations are likely to inspire political activism; heterosexuals may no longer participate in discussions. This echoes the findings of Berelson et al .: Exposure to different perspectives in elections can lead to ambivalence, delayed voting or even no voting at all.

In the study by Lazarsfeld et al., cross-stress was extrapolated from demographic variables. For example, both Catholics (usually Democrats) and white-collar workers (Usually (Republicans) may experience conflicting pressure from peers. However, Mutz managed to find real people who were exposed to actual competitive pressure.

So this concept seems to work, but it only applies to minorities. Obviously, this concept involves selectivity, but more importantly, it raises a larger issue, namely, how to guide the citizens of a democratic society to accept a more comprehensive view without harming their own interests.

Fifth, the spiral of silence

Katz E. & Fialkoff Y. (2017). Six concepts in search of retirement. Annals of the International Communication Association, 41 (1), 86-91.

The article is from the WeChat public account: Xinchuanyandushe (ID: xinchuanyandushe) , author: Elihu Katz, Yonatan Fialkoff