Communication Theories under the Critical View

Media Democracy Theory

Media serves as a platform that holds the responsibility to reach and educate the masses to reform a public opinion. Once information is disseminated to the audience, media is a channel where public discussion and exchange of opinions run through. From this, you can say that one’s use of media can highly influence another’s perception. Current mass media concentrates on corporate ownership that strives for profit. Thus, creates and follows a pattern that captures the attention of a specific class to gain profit. This is the concept of Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media; feeding private interests in control of media outlets that are tasked to shape news. This is in contrast to the concept of Media Democracy. Media is believed to be one of the pillars of democracy. In this definition, the use of media must strive to be unbiased and transparent to all who seek information. It is important to be aware of the influence that mass media can create. It has the power to shape and influence a nation’s belief and discourse.

     The concept of Media Democracy advocates the following:

*Replacing the current corporate media model with one that operates democratically, rather than for profit

*Strengthening public service broadcasting

*Incorporating the use of alternative media into the larger discourse

*Increasing the role of citizen journalism

*Turning a passive audience into active participants

*Using the mass media to promote democratic ideals

EXAMPLES/APPLICATION Of Media Democracy Theory:

1. The mass media constitute the backbone of democracy. The media are supplying the political information that voters base their decisions on. They identify problems in our society and serve as a medium for deliberation. For example, without the media, the voters won’t have any idea or have any information regarding the candidates on the election. They rely/depend on media for information whether it’s a paid commerical, election debates, or interviews of the candidates. Basically, the media controls how the voters would decide based on what the media shows to them.

2. The burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Heroes Cemetery, news about the details of his burial are openly broadcasted through both television and social media to keep citizens up to date. Because of this, people create online threads and discussions and freely talk about their ideas towards the event, may it be against or with the decision of his burial.

3. During elections, people would want to know how their political candidate is fairing on terms of votes, and the most viable place to source for this information is through media. Apart from this, Defleur and Ball- Rokeach note how political candidates depend on the media to communicate their message. In western society, it would be impossible for politicians to reach people in direct meetings. This struggle is lessened by the mass media as it is the main way that candidates deliver their key messages to the public. Because of this, the media, large media corporations, individual journalists and the public all have a dependency-based relationship that is organic in nature; on where interacting with each other is a symbolic relationship.

4. An example of media democracy is the opportunity given by readers to submit their own works to article websites. Not only does this help fill quotas, submissions are a way for a community to express their beliefs through a medium with a considerable following, thus reaching a larger audience. This increases the role of citizen journalism and participation, and allows a diverse group of voices into a channel. Popular websites that practice this type of media democracy are and

5. Since media is actually an essential now adays to people to be kept updated with what’s happening in our surroundings, we use it on a daily basis when we have access to it. Along with that, people promote or advertise with media since people are very aware now and one thing media democracy promotes is for people to take action into things. From being audiences of the news and readers of blogs, we use what we learn in real life, like how people promote recycling materials and lessen the use of automobiles to reduce pollution and the like. Another example is this song called Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas, which opens our eyes to what the world is right now.



Media has to be unbiased and transparent, it plays an important role in our life to propagate and shape our opinions. But we are aware that media can be abused and misused to sway public opinions. Media democracy’s goal is to create media transparent, accessible to all, encourage the public in democratic ideals, and also increase the influence of media and journalism.

Media plays an important role in our lives. It shapes our opinions and guides us in understanding the various discourses that takes place. Media shows us the half-truth. Media democracy propagates that private ownership and commercialization would influence media in a negative way. The main goal of media democracy is to establish a strong democracy which is transparent, accessible to all, empowers society and contributes to democracy and its values. Media democracy idealizes the public and its level of awareness and intelligence.

Cultural Identity Theory

      What is Culture?

“Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions”

-Paulo Coelho

    Culture is tangible and non-tangible. It provides a shared meaning in a group of people. Tangible culture consists of arts, food, clothes, architecture, etc. And, non-tangible culture consists of values, thinking, beliefs, etc.


      It is the thinking and behaviour that are learned and shared, and is the characteristic of a group of people. It gives a group and identity. Culture elevates the feeling of belongingness.

      What is Identity?

Identity is the definition of ones- self. It is how we see ourselves. It is who we are, or who we think we are.


      Cultural Identity

Identity and culture has a complex relationship. We identify ourselves through our language, social structures, gender orientation and cultural patterns.  Cultural identity is self-identification, a sense of belonging to a group that reaffirms itself. When people identify themselves as a resemblance of certain cultural group, they form their identity based on it. It is made by combination of language, cultural patterns, social structures, etc.

We use culture to relate to the world. People in a group communicate and behave like each other to stay connected.It show that people with common experiences and culture is provided with a stable frame of reference and meaning.

Cultural identity is continuously evolving. It covers the entire life span of a human being and changes every moment based on social context. Cultural identity is the constantly shifting understanding of one’s identity in relation to others.

      Cultural Identity Theory

The Cultural Identity Theory shows why a person is the way he or she is. Why they behave and think in a certain way.

According to Myron Lustig, culture becomes a part of an individual’s self-concept. It also changes with time and experiences. It defines people’s lifestyle as a whole.

The theory suggests a relationship between inter-cultural competence (knowledge, skills and attitudes that comprise a person’s ability to get along with, work and learn with people from diverse cultures) and cultural identity. It deals with how people use communicative processes to construct their cultural group identities and relationships in particular situations.

According to the theory, culture is one of the many identities expressed in communication encounters. Cultural identity becomes evident through social comparison.  The speaker compares his or her group to those of other groups. An person’s message during interaction will contain multiple cultural identities such as nationalist, racist, ethnic, class related, sex, gender based, political and religious.

A common language or cultural identity results to better and effective communication. But the effectiveness seems to be affected when people of different cultural identities interact due to various barriers.

Because people shows multiple identities, all voices within a group do not speak in the same way or have the same recognition by others. Different identities, different voices. We all consider different cultural identities, thus we all have different messages being conveyed. Different cultural identities affects the aim of communication which is shared meaning.

*Early versions of the theory focused on an interpretative theoretical perspective (cultural identity processes were described not critiqued), social construction and individual discursive accounts of experience. Recent years have seen the shift to increased critical perspective–attention to contextual structure, ideologies and status hierarchy.

      Properties of Cultural Identity

According to Jane Collier and Milt Thomas, ethnography of communication* and social construction* define properties of cultural identity and how a member of a cultural group expresses their identity.

*Ethnography of Communication is the analysis of communication within the wider context of the social and cultural practices and beliefs of the members of a particular culture or speech community.
*It is a theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world that form the basis for shared assumptions about reality.

1. Avowal and Ascription : These concepts shows what constructs cultural identity.  Avowal is how a person expresses himself/herself to another about his or her perspective on group identity.  Ascription is how people see and perceive others or how they refer to others. Like stereotyping.

We construct our identity through how we see ourselves and how others see us. Thus these two concepts are important in cultural identity.

2. Modes of Expression : There are different forms how someone’s culture is expressed. Like symbols, names, labels, religion, norms, etc. A cultural community share and follow these in order to show that they belong to a group and have shared identity. Collier found out that there can be in-group differences and out-group similarities too.

3. Individual, Relational and Communal Identity : These are the three components of cultural identity.

Individual refers to how an individual interprets his cultural identity based on his experiences. Relational refers to how individuals interact with one and another (what is the appropriate behavior) and communal identity is the use of communication in the creation, affirmation and negotiation of shared identity.

These three components describes how an individual sees himself and relate to any group. They also describe how interpersonal communication between members create an identity of a group. The three components build collective practices that researchers observe to identify or study cultural identity in a group.

4. Enduring and Changing Aspects of Identity : The cultural identity changes due to several factors which are social, political, economic and contextual. Some aspects of culture change faster while some change slower.The change happens when there is a need for it and when cultural practices deem to be irrelevant to the individuals making it not important or applicable for them.

5. Affective, Cognitive and Behavioral Aspects of Identity : This refers to the emotional attachment of people to their culture. This creates a particular mindset relating to their culture. Their behavior depends on the way that their mind has been set.

6. Content and Relationship Levels : We communicate to exchange messages. We interpret these messages based on our own experiences. The interactions also show the relational level based on how a person delivers the message. This level of a message implies a cultural interpretation of who is in control, their levels of closeness, what they feel about each other, level of trust, etc.

7. Salience or Prominence : Some people show how they are involve and how they belong to a culture while some don’t. This is the degree to which an identity is demonstrated in a situation and refers to how much a person’s cultural identity stands out and attracts attention. It is how much we give importance to our culture. The intensity of the importance differs depending on context, situation topic, and relationship. Prominence shows a strong involvement  in an identity.


1. We Filipinos instantly feel a certain connection when we find out that a popular celebrity, actor, or singer from another country is somewhat associated with being Filipino. For example: Bruno Mars, Apl De Ap, Nicole Scherzinger, Vanessa Hudgens and so much more are all big names in the entertainment industry and also, they are all half Filipinos. We take pride in the fact that our countrymen have successful careers and giving the Philippine people a chance to be proud of themselves as well. This is an example of the Cultural Identity because this theory supports the idea that people who have a similar cultural identity feel a sense of belongingness to each other and that is exactly what we, the Filipinos, feel towards these big names that are carrying the pride of the Philippines along with them.

2. In San Beda, there are different organizations. The school is having an organization recruitment every year, presenting different talents and skills of the Bedans. Looking at it, we can see the diversity of unique organizations.

3. Stereotypes are an example of how communication works between cultures- How a person who has grown up in a Filipino society will see a Chinese person will significantly determine how they’re BECAUSE in the Philippine society, it is a popular opinion that chinese goods are cheap, and poorly constructed, and that chinese people but also somehow dominate the philippine market.

4. How the people dress. Every culture has a specific style of dress, some prefer head dresses, while other chooses to wear nothing over their head. We may end up judging those who are different from us. Islam women wear hijab. It is part of their (some of them) identity to wear it because it is part of their religion. While others who are not muslims would see it as something different and some would even judge them.

5. Another example, types of food eaten base on an individual’s culture. Some individual’s may judge other people who do not eat the food they do or who eat the food they do not eat. A good example would be the issue on dogs being eaten in some parts of China. We who do not eat dogs may perceive the Chinese people as cruel people. When in fact we too eat other animals.

6.In a congregation there is always 2 or more people opposing the leader, if you met someone /a group of people within the congregation who has the same perception about the leader as you do, each member of that group opposing the leader will find belongingness with each other and will think that they understand each other better.

7. A Filipino who is living in other country, meets another Filipino, they will identify each other. They know that they have come from a similar culture, so they feel a sense of belongingness to each other. They feel closer as they share more similar cultural traits. People can also identify themselves with alternative cultural groups like groups of drug users. For those people, cultural identity is based on their interests, actions and drug use behavior. They share their culture and are comfortable with people belonging it.


To sum it all up, the cultural identity theory focuses on how and why an individual has that unique behavior, attitude, or belief. This theory also talks about how these individuals could somehow connect with one another through similar cultures as well (i.e.: same tastes in music, same beliefs, et cetera). The examples given above also shows that certain cultures could define or shape an individual’s character as well, which is true — in a way. We wouldn’t be our own unique selves if it isn’t for the culture we got raised and influenced in.

Introduction/ Explanation: Gaston, Marian and Gutierrez,  Michael
Example #1: Quijano, Ria
Example #2: Lopez, John Emmanuelle
Example #3: Marquez, Irish Joy 
Example #4: Esquivel, Gabby
Example #5: Nulla, Jasmin 
Conclusion: Yasay, Sofia AND Fabian, Nicole
Introduction/ Explanation: Cardoza, Angel Dannah
Example #1: Del Carmen, Jennifer
Example #2: Caramat, Lyzette Camille
Example #3: Gomez, Jarvis
Example #4: Ramos, Krixan (revised by Cardoza)
Example #5:  Ramos, Krixan (revised by Cardoza)
Example #6: Galing, Cams
Example #7: Cinco, Curt
Conclusion: Roy, Pauline (AND Pabroa, Luis) 



3 thoughts on “Communication Theories under the Critical View

    1. Last names can be a mode of expression that differ us asians to western people. There are differences on the forms on how we express our culture from theirs.

      An example of how an aspect of an identity changes could be fashion. Hundreds of years ago, clothing attire was a big difference when it came to culture. But as the years flew by, change happened because of influence and innovations resulting to the people of a culture to deem that the past tradition of wearing a certain attire EVERYDAY was unimportant. Thus, there was a change in the identity of the culture of a certain group.


  1. Congratulations for producing an informative blog. This blog was able to explain the theories clearly. As future media practitioners we have a great responsibility for making the Media Democracy Theory possible for the future of media. I want to end my statement with a quote by Amy Jo Martin, New York Times Bestselling Author, Founder/CEO, Keynote Speaker, Angel Investor, Podcast Host and Innovation Advocate. “Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage.”

    What can you say to our media today? As future media practitioners, What are the things you can do to lessen the biased in media?

    Liked by 1 person

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