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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Lisa Coutu
COM 484
Seattle Campus

Cultural Codes in Communication

Social and cultural codes in interpersonal communication, with special reference to contemporary American subcultural groups and their communication patterns.

Class description

The underlying premise of this course is that whenever people speak with each other, they use and reveal culture. What sense people make with each other, what they understand themselves to be saying and doing, how they organize their lives and how they organize their relations with other people are all intricately tied to systems of acquired symbols, meanings, premises, and rules. In turn, whenever people communicate, they reveal a culture -- they reveal “codes” of what it means to be a person, how persons can relate to each other, and what their view of the world is.

Student learning goals

explain a “cultural approach” to communication.

articulate the basic underlying principles of the theory of the ethnography of communication

hear speaking as an activity through which individuals identify themselves with communities of discourse

see the United States of America as a diverse society and how this diversity is reflected in patterns of communicative conduct

apply a cultural approach to course readings, movies, class exercises and assignments, and your general interactions with other people.

General method of instruction

Instruction is approximately 1/2 lecture, 1/2 discussion.

Recommended preparation

lower level communication course would be helpful, but is not required.

Class assignments and grading

Written reading preparation, short answer & essay exams, term paper.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Lisa Coutu
Date: 11/14/2012