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Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective$
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Michael Donnelly and Murray Straus

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300085471

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300085471.001.0001

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Corporal Punishment of Children

Corporal Punishment of Children

A Communication-Theory Perspective

(p.183) 13 Corporal Punishment of Children
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective

Dominic A. Infante

Yale University Press

This chapter presents the communication-theory perspective of corporal punishment, according to which, there are at least three major problems with the traditional view of corporal punishment. First, corporal punishment is not a physical act that is apart from a sequence of failed communication attempts. Rather, it is one of the messages in the sequence. A second problem is the assumption that the meaning of the message is unequivocal. However, messages having multiple meanings are more the rule than the exception, and there seems no basis for declaring that corporal punishment is such an exception. Finally, the third fault with the traditional view of corporal punishment is that the blame for the speaker's failure to persuade is shifted to the message receiver. This is tantamount to saying consumers are to blame if an advertiser spends a great deal of money on unsuccessful ads.

Keywords:   communication-theory perspective, traditional view, failed communication attempts, multiple meanings, failure to persuade

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