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Second Assignment:
Re-thinking Transmission
Your task is first to read Sybille Krmers short Prologue in which she sets-up her
approach to transmission in communication theory and develops a distinction between
postal and erotic principles of communication. And second, you will summarize her
key points about communication and link them wherever possible to examples drawn
from a minimum of three different sources selected from class readings only; if you use
other non-class readings found on the Internet, each citation will result in a 2-mark
deduction). Thus, there are two factors here: comprehension and connective-illustration
or augmentation.
3 pages, typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman, no title page. No
references/bibliography (all quotes from Krmer and others as below in the name, page
Use proper quotations, 1-inch margins (approximately), no extra space between
paragraphs. Use sub-titles where appropriate. Do not use long, block quotations. Cite
only by author name and page number in brackets in the body of the text (i.e., Krmer
19). Do not include a references section. Your response should be a full 3 pages in length.
Place your name and student number and original title at the head of the first page.
Submit electronically to designated folder.
The second assignment is worth 40 marks.

This is the posted article:

Sybille Kramer, Prologue, in Medium, Messenger, Transmission, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 2015, pp. 19-25.


This assignment is about comprehension and contextualization of theoretical principles. Read it carefully and grasp the concepts and how they are utilized.

The article begins with some philosophical questions but quickly settles into the issue of errand and messenger: called the ‘primal scene’ of communication.

Two preliminary remarks are advanced: messengers are heteronomous – what does this mean exactly? And, messengers are necessary when communication is not dialogical. Have we discussed an example of this in our class? Yes. Can you place it in Krmer’s approach?

The problem, as stated in the article: can transmission (delivering messages) be creative? This is something we have discussed in class recently with regard to certain distinctions advanced by McLuhan.

After considering the many meanings of communication, the article then launches a major distinction between technical transmission and personal understanding models of communication, and elucidates each of their characteristics. She gives each a name, ‘intentionally ironic’ and ‘obviously exaggerated’: postal vs. erotic. Be sure you grasp of the details of these definitions. Do any of the models we have discussed exemplify these (one or the other)?

The article then tries to conceptualize a shared problem of ‘distance’ within the models that each faces differently. And poses the question about what role media play. Pay attention to what happens to space and time in each and recall McLuhan’s lessons about this. Media enable (postal) but also disable, that is, disturb (erotic).

Krmer then clarifies her purpose with regard to the letter carrier and the concept of transmission: to reflect on the lack of dialogue, and how to bring back perception.

Your goal is to understand the article in terms of its major conceptual claims, and populate your explanation with examples (3 minimally) drawn from class readings. Note that these examples may not fit exactly, the trick will be to make them fit, sometimes snug, sometime loose.