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Interpretative and Interaction Theories of Communication

Meaning and interaction are closely intertwined in the communication process...

Meaning and interaction constitute the communication process. All types of communication are grounded on meaning and interaction, which, at the same time, are closely intertwined.

The Interpretative and Interaction theories consider communication as a process of dynamic interchange through which individuals interact with other individuals, interpreting, sharing  and defining  their perception of reality by means of this interaction. The Interpretative and Interaction theories also consider the relationship of individuals with media channels.

The Interactional approach of Paul Watzlawick is involved in an interpersonal type of communication. Watzlawick's theory is grounded on the following 5 suppositions:

1. People are always communicating. This means that even if we remain silent or we prefer not to utter a word, or not do anything, we are still and always communicating. We never stop communicating. Gestures, facial expressions and other body movements make up a great part of the communication process. They are non-verbal type of communication that impacts interaction.

2. People communicate using both digital and analogical methods. Digital commmunication may refer to objects by name. Language is considered to be digital. On the other hand, analogical methods consider objects by likeness. Non-verbal communication is considered analogical.

3. Communication is synonymous to content and relationship. Content is the purpose, the message, the aim of the source in starting the communication process, while relationship is the manner in which this purpose has been conveyed.

4. The quality of the relationship is based on the manner in which communication participants deal with the communication flow.  As people communicate, the sender and receiver interpret the message sent and received in different ways. And the interpretation they give to the message depends largely on their culture, behavior and beliefs in life.

5. Communication can be complementary or symmetrical. Complementary type of communication means communication participants have diverse power. On the other hand, symmetrical type of communication means commnication participants have equal power.

The Interpretative and Interaction approach also believe that all types of communication should take into account the socio-cultural background in which people live.

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