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Robert T. Craig

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Robert T. Craig

Robert T. Craig
Robert T. Craig
Born May 10, 1947
Rochester, New York
Awards Fellow and Past President of the International Communication Association (Lifetime Status); Best Article Award, International Communication Association, 2000; Golden Anniversary Monograph Award, National Communication Association, 2000
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Pragmatism
Main interests
Communication theory, social constructionism
Notable ideas
Grounded practical theory, metacommunicative model of communication, practical discipline of communication

Robert T. Craig is a [8][9]

Craig's work "Communication Theory as a Field"[10] received the Best Article Award from the International Communication Association[11] as well as the Golden Anniversary Monograph Award from the National Communication Association.[12] That work has since been translated into French [13] and Russian.[1] The theory presented in "Communication Theory as a Field" has become the basis of the book "Theorizing Communication" which Craig co-edited with Heidi Muller,[14] as well as being adopted by several other communication theory textbooks as a new framework for understanding the field of communication theory.[15][16][17][18]

Grounded practical theory

In 1995 Robert T. Craig and Karen Tracy published "Grounded Practical Theory: The case of Intellectual Discussion".[19] This was an attempt by Craig and Tracy to create a methodological model using discourse analysis which will "guide the development and assessment of normative theories."[20] Craig and Tracy argue that the communication discipline has been dominated by scientific theory which is concerned with what is, while normative theories are centrally concerned with what ought to be.[21] This neglect of normative theories "limits the practical usefulness of communication studies."[21]

Grounded practical theory (GPT) is a metatheoretical approach based on Craig's (1989) notion of communication as a practical, rather than scientific, discipline.[22][23] The goal of communication as a practical discipline is to develop normative theories to guide practice.[24] Based on this argument, GPT was developed as a methodologically grounded means of theorizing communication practices.[25] GPT involves (1) reconstructing communicative practices, (2) redescribing those practices in less context-specific terms, and (3) identifying implicit principles which guide the practice. Generally a GPT study begins by looking for troubles or dilemmas endemic to situated interaction and observable in discourse. This constitutes the “problem level”[26] and the “grounded” component of the GPT approach.[27] Then, problems are reconstructed concretely and abstractly and matched with the techniques which participants employ for dealing with those problems. This constitutes the “technical level”[26] and is an important part of the theorizing process. Finally, the ideals and standards shaping the practice and how to manage its problems and techniques constitute the “philosophical level.”[26] This situates the practice both locally and generally for the purpose of normative critique. A methodological approach which is explicitly guided by GPT is action implicative discourse analysis (AIDA).[28][29][30]

Communication Theory as a Field

In 1999 Craig wrote a landmark article[31] "Communication Theory as a Field"[10] which expanded the conversation regarding disciplinary identity in the field of communication.[32][31][33][34][35][36][37] At that time, communication theory textbooks had little to no agreement on how to present the field or what theories to include in their textbooks.[38][39] This article has since become the foundational framework for four different textbooks to introduce the field of communication.[15][14][16][17][18] In this article Craig "proposes a vision for communication theory that takes a huge step toward unifying this rather disparate field and addressing its complexities."[16] To move toward this unifying vision Craig focused on communication theory as a practical discipline and shows how "various traditions of communication theory can be engaged in dialogue on the practice of communication."[40][41] In this deliberative process theorists would engage in dialog about the "practical implications of communication theories."[42] In the end Craig proposes seven different traditions of Communication Theory and outlines how each one of them would engage the others in dialogue.[43]

Craig proposes that these seven suggested traditions of communication theory have emerged through research into communication, and each one has their own way of understanding communication.[8][44] These seven traditions are:

  1. Rhetorical: views communication as the practical art of discourse.[45]
  2. Semiotic: views communication as the mediation by signs.[46]
  3. Phenomenological: communication is the experience of dialogue with others.[47]
  4. Cybernetic: communication is the flow of information.[48]
  5. Socio-psychological: communication is the interaction of individuals.[49]
  6. Socio-cultural: communication is the production and reproduction of the social order.[50]
  7. Critical: communication is the process in which all assumptions can be challenged.[51]

These proposed seven traditions of communication theory are then placed into conversation with each other on a a table[52] first to show how each tradition's different interpretation of communication defines the tradition's vocabulary, communication problems, and commonplaces,[53] and next to show what argumentation between the traditions would look like.[54]

Craig concluded this article with an open invitation to explore how the differences in these theories might shed light on key issues, show where new traditions could be created, and engaging communication theory with communication problems through metadiscourse. [55] Craig further proposes several future traditions that could possibly be fit into the metamodel.[56] A feminist tradition where communication is theorized as "connectedness to others", an aesthetic tradition theorizing communication as "embodied performance", an economic tradition theorizing communication as "exchange", and a spiritual tradition theorizing communication on a "nonmaterial or mystical plane of existence." [57]


Books and chapters

Year Author Chapter Title Book Title Page numbers Editor Publisher ISBN
2010 Tracy, K.; Craig, R. T. Studying Interaction in order to Cultivate Communicative Practices: Action-Implicative Discourse Analysis New Adventures in Language and Interaction 145-166 Streech, J. John Benjamins Publishing Company ISBN 978-90-272-5600-3
2010 Tracy, K.; Craig, R. T Framing Discourse as Argument in Appellate Courtrooms: Three Cases on Same-Sex Marriage The Functions of Argument and Social Context, 2009 46-53 Gouran D. S. National Communication Association
2009 Craig, R. T. Metatheory Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, Vol. 2 657-661 Littlejohn, S. W.; Foss, K. A. SAGE Publications ISBN 978-1-4129-5937-7
2009 Craig, R. T.; Robles, J. S. Pragmatics Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, Vol. 2 790-794 Littlejohn, S. W.; Foss, K. A. SAGE Publications ISBN 978-1-4129-5937-7
2009 Craig, R. T. Traditions of Communication Theory Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, Vol. 2 958-963 Littlejohn, S. W.; Foss, K. A. SAGE Publications ISBN 978-1-4129-5937-7
2009 Barge, J. K.; Craig, R. T. Practical Theory in Applied Communication Scholarship Routledge Handbook of Applied Communication Research 55-78 Frey, R.; Cissna, K. N. Routledge ISBN 0-203-87164-2
2008 Craig, R. T. Communication as a Field and Discipline The International Encyclopedia of Communication Vol. II 675-688 Donsbach, W. Blackwell Publishing ISBN 1-4051-3199-3
2008 Craig, R. T. Meta-discourse The International Encyclopedia of Communication Vol. II 3707-3709 Donsbach, W. Blackwell Publishing ISBN 1-4051-3199-3
2007 Craig, R. T.' and Muller, H. L. Theorizing Communication: Readings Across Traditions Craig, R. T.; and Muller, H. L. SAGE Publications ISBN 978-1-4129-5237-8
2006 Craig, R. T. Communication as a Practice Communication as...: Perspectives on Theory 38-47 Shepherd, G. J.; John, J. ST.; and Striphas, T. SAGE Publications ISBN 978-1-4129-0658-6
2005 Craig, R. T.; Tracy, K. "The Issue" in Argumentation Practice and Theory Argumentation in Practice 11-28 Eemeren, F. H; Houtlosser, P. John Benjamins Publishing Company ISBN 90-272-1882-X
1990 Craig, R. T. Multiple Goals in Discourse: An Epilogue (Reprint of Journal Article) Multiple Goals in Discourse 163-170 Tracy, K.; Coupland, N. Multilingual Matters Ltd. ISBN 1-85359-099-1
1989 Craig R. T. Communication as a Practical Discipline Rethinking Communication; Volume 1: Paradigm Issues 97-122 Dervin B.; Grossberg L.; O'Keefe B., Wartella E. SAGE Publications ISBN 978-0-8039-3029-2
1993 Craig, R. T.; Tracy, K; Spisak, F. The Discourse of Requests: Assessment of a Politeness Approach (Reprint of journal article) Contemporary Perspectives on Interpersonal Communication 264-284 Petronio, S.; Alberts, J. K.; Hecht, M. L.; Buley, J. Brown & Benchmark ISBN 978-0-697-13356-4
1983 Craig, R. T.; Tracy, K. Conversational Coherence: Form, Structure, and Strategy Craig, R. T.; and Tracy, K. SAGE Publications ISBN 0-8039-2122-5

Journal articles

Year Author Title Journal Volume/Issue Pages Publisher DOI
2012 Rich, M. H.; Craig, R. T. Habermas and Bateson in a World Gone M.A.D.: Metacommunication, Paradox, and the Inverted Speech Situation Communication Theory 22 (4) 383-402 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2012.01412.x
2010 Garcia-Jimenez, L.; Craig, R. T. What Kind Of Difference do we Want to Make? Communication Monographs 77(4) 429-431 Taylor and Francis; Routledge; National Communication Association 10.1080/03637751.2010.523591
2009 Craig, R. T. Reflections on "Communication Theory as a Field" Revue internationale de communication sociale et publique 2009(2) 7-12 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; Université du Québec à Montréal
2009 Craig, R. T.; Saint-Charles, J. (Trans.), Mongeau, P. (Trans.) )Communication Theory as a fieldLa Communication en Tant Que Champ D'etudes (French translation of Revue internationale de communication sociale et publique 2009(1) 1-42 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; Université du Québec à Montréal
2008 Craig, R. T. Communication in the Conversation of Disciplines Russian Journal of Communication 1(1) 7-24 Russian Communication Association (RCA)
2007 Craig, R. T. Pragmatism in the Field of Communication Theory Communication Theory 17(2) 125-145 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2007.00292.x
2006 Craig, R. T. A Path Through the Methodolgical Divides KEIO Communication Review 28 9-17 EBSCO Industries; Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
2005 Craig, R. T. How We Talk About How We Talk: Communication Theory in the Public Interest. ICA presidential address 2004 Journal of Communication 44(4) 659-667 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2005.tb03015.x
2001 Craig, R. T. Minding my Metamodel, Mending Myers Communication Theory 11(2) 231-240 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2001.tb00241.x
1999 Craig, R. T. Communication Theory as a Field Communication Theory 9(2) 119-161 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1468-2885.1999.tb00355
1995 Craig, R. T.; Tracy, K. Grounded Practical Theory: The Case Of Intellectual Discussion Communication Theory 5(3) 248-272 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1468-2885.1995.tb00108.x
1993 Craig, R. T. Why Are There so Many Communication Theories Journal of Communication 43(3) 26-33 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01273.x
1986 Craig, R. T.; Tracy, K; Spisak, F. The Discourse of Requests: Assessment of a Politeness Approach Human Communication Research 12(4) 437-468 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1986.tb00087.x
1984 Tracy, K.; Craig, R. T.; Smith, M.; Spisak, F. The discourse of requests: Assessment of a compliance-gaining approach Human Communication Research 10(4) 513-538 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; International Communication Association 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1984.tb00030.x

See also


  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ Craig 2006.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Anderson & Baym 2004, pp. 440.
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Craig 1999.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Craig 2009.
  14. ^ a b Craig & Muller 2007.
  15. ^ a b Craig 2007, pp. 125.
  16. ^ a b c Littlejohn & Foss 2008.
  17. ^ a b Griffin 2006.
  18. ^ a b Miller 2005.
  19. ^ Craig & Tracy 1995.
  20. ^ Craig & Tracy 1995, p. 250.
  21. ^ a b Craig & Tracy 1995, p. 249.
  22. ^ Craig 1989.
  23. ^ Craig & Tracy 1995, p. 250-253.
  24. ^ Craig & Tracy 1995, p. 250, 264-265.
  25. ^ Craig & Tracy 1995, p. 250,253, 264.
  26. ^ a b c Craig & Tracy 1995, p. 253.
  27. ^ Craig & Tracy 1995, p. 266.
  28. ^ Tracy 2004.
  29. ^ Tracy 2007.
  30. ^ Tracy & Craig 2010.
  31. ^ a b Littlejohn & Foss 2008, pp. 6.
  32. ^ Donsback 2006.
  33. ^ Penman 2000.
  34. ^ Anderson & Baym 2004.
  35. ^ Lindlof & Taylor 2002.
  36. ^ D'Angelo 2002.
  37. ^ Jimenez & Guillem 2009.
  38. ^ Anderson 1996, pp. 200-201.
  39. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 120.
  40. ^ Craig 2006, pp. 13.
  41. ^ Penman 2000, pp. 6, 76.
  42. ^ Craig 2001.
  43. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 132-146.
  44. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 132-134.
  45. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 135-136.
  46. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 136-138.
  47. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 138-140.
  48. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 141-142.
  49. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 142-144.
  50. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 144-146.
  51. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 146-149.
  52. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 133-134.
  53. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 132,133.
  54. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 132,134.
  55. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 149.
  56. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 149,151.
  57. ^ Craig 1999, pp. 151.


External links

  • Robert T. Craig's homepage
  • discourses, Robert T. Craig's Communication theory website
  • University of Colorado Boulder's Communication department
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