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September 2, 2006

Some concepts and axioms about communication

Kaufer, David & Carley, Kathleen. (1994). Some concepts and axioms about communication. Written Communication, 2(1), 8-42.

This study examines “distance� in communication, a concept the authors assert had been neglected or addressed in a scattered fashion across disciplines. By “synthesizing� across disciplines and literatures (postmodernism, social theory, network theory), the authors formulate a set of “concepts and axioms� applicable to the general communication context (both proximate and distant, oral and written). Applying these baseline concepts of relative similarity, signature, reach, and currency, the authors develop characteristics of distance that circumscribe written communication, which allows for its survival across time, space, and sociocultural environments. These are:
• Asynchronicity
• Durability
• Multiplicity
Through these characteristics, communication is achievable at a distance within complex social systems. We see these principles later expanded and fleshed out by Gurak (2001) to include speed, reach, anonymity, and interactivity.