This study accepted for publication August 8, 1977.
ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES FOR THE COMMUNICATION THEORIST: PROBLEMS IN THE LAWS-RULES-SYSTEMS TRICHOTOMY
Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
Human Communication Research
Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 120–128, December 1978
How to Cite
CRONEN, V. E. and DAVIS, L. K. (1978), ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES FOR THE COMMUNICATION THEORIST: PROBLEMS IN THE LAWS-RULES-SYSTEMS TRICHOTOMY. Human Communication Research, 4: 120–128. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.1978.tb00602.x
- Issue published online: 17 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 17 MAR 2006
This paper argues against the laws-systems-rules trichotomy which Cushman and Pearce use to organize theoretical options in the communication field. This trichotomy of perspectives does reflect the groupings into which scholars have come to classify themselves, but the analytic implications of this division follow strongly and confound the actual levels of choice inherent in theory building. The organization of theoretical alternatives by attempting to identify a type of necessity unique to each obscures fundamental differences among theorists, unprofitably restricts the range of theoretical alternatives, and will not encompass the variety of viable theoretic perspectives now before us. In place of the laws-rules-systems trichotomy this paper offers a multilevel analytic framework for organizing theoretical alternatives in communication.