DharmaKeerthi Sri Ranjan

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This model of communication explains the interpersonal communication process based on the process of source (sender), the message and the transferring of information (Channel) and the receiver. This is an important model for communication and media, created by
Dr.DharmaKeerthi Sri Ranjan of the Faculty of Mass Media of the Sri Palee Campus, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2010.


  1. Introduction
  2. Traditional Media as a Model of Interpersonal Communication – DSR Model
  3. The Philosophy of the Model
  4. The Theoretical Construction of the Model
  5. Folk Media / Channels and DSR Model
  6. Folk Media through Modern Media
  7. Folk Media, Rituals and Culture
  8. Folk Media and Cultural Identity

1. Introduction:

The DSR* model[1] of interpersonal communication[[2]] elaborates to mirror the functioning of traditional media structure of South Asian[[3]] countries in sociological and anthropological view (DharmaKeerthi, 2010). This helps to understand the pattern of communication system and the patterns of the behavior,[[4]] thoughts[[5]] and the social systems[[6]] of the people of the traditional societies of South Asian countries. The stages of this “message cycle” are based on intentional, as well as unintentional communication[[7]] of man and his relationship during the process of communication. This actual communication event is recycled or updated by the tradition[[8]] or by the ascribed social standings[[9]] before the entire message[[10]] is completed. No two way communication events of this are ever the same. Folklore[[11]] does not stand on electronic communication[[12]] but it stands on human communication which influenced its beneficiaries through close interaction[[13]] because it was most effective and persuaded by the belief,[[14]] awareness,[[15]] and participation.

The media and the source which were invariably bound to the socio-cultural roots, not based on the atomistic competition and profit coverage orientation. The traditional media accredited the audience to be linked closer to their groups by imparting common experience.

2. Traditional Media as a Model of Interpersonal Communication - DSR Model:[16]

3. The Philosophy of the Model

The philosophy[[17]] behind this was self-organization and self- mastering system (Dynamic and structure; Self-masterism). This system[[18]] was composed of two layers: The “Physical Basis Being Field” and The “Social Basis Being Field”. These macro- structural ontological substances were composite on three elements; Mind[[19]], Behavior[[20]] and Matter[[21]]. Traditional media model maintains the transformation of similitude caliber of human social life uncovering the lively beauty of the physical environment, naturally and orderly in the kinesis of time and space leading into independence, co-ordination, absorption, and stagnant.

The modes of this structural interpersonal communication model were integrated with the Source, Message, Channel, and Receiver (SMCR). Modes of “cultural action, interactions” and “communication” were integrated into this systematic model of traditional communication.

4. The Theoretical Construction of the Model:

Traditional leaders and opinion leaders (Source) are powered by their social and physical elements of societies from the ancient times. Independent factors, indicated in the above figure have been influencing for the source, message, channel and receivers (SMCR) constantly and they became dependent. The source is rich with awareness of their environment, persuasive ability, participation, knowledge[[22]],social practices and the cultural[[23]] patterns which enlightened within their traditional circle. These dependent factors (SMCR) are well based on the social process, cultural matters and the physical environment. The source is not alienated and has good interpersonal relationships[[24]], probably capable of communicating well in the traditional structure.

Ascribed social standings and irrational social circumstances are the driving forces to manipulate and maintain the traditional societies. It is powered by caste hierarchy rather than the class classifications. The social and cultural elements influence and entwine with the message in this two way communication which streams with two different forms from source to receiver and vice versa. DSR model suggests that the factors in the message (Cultural elements - values, norms, customs, awareness, expectations, knowledge, attitudes, emotions, feelings, experience, etc.) maintain the communication fidelity and vice versa. Knowledge, attitudes, emotions and feelings etc are structured as a subsystem respectively in the functional process. Ethics and values are effective in inter and intra operational system in the Information – Decision – Control Chain in the communication circle. The message has been structured in which something comes first, second, third and so on. The elements operate in the structure of the message which produces the effects on the receiver. The message which is contextualized and encoded with the cultural elements, over the source, including a group of codes, symbols, language styles, sounds, images, signs, and arrangements can be acceded as the climax situation of the arrangements. The message consists of opinion, perception and the ideological position of the source about and he decides how to encode the content with the intention of converting the audience.

The message delivers through many kinds of channels such as folk tales, folk songs, rituals, drama, folk sports, gossips, scurrilous papers etc. Whenever the source wants to communicate, his cultural patterns would influence him to select the channel. The channels have some kind of encoding and decoding devices. Sometimes one uses more than one channel to make the message more effective over the orally, auditory and visual system.

This model emphasizes that the Source and the encoder are separate parts of one person, and the decoder and the encoder are the separate parts at the destination / receiver. Again this model finds that each person who engages in the process of communication is both an encoder and a decoder. Receivers deliver and stimulate decoding and distorting the information as a message into the selected channels again. The receivers cannot abstain from the influencing factors coming from consciously and unconsciously shaping and creating a disposition of the receiving message, constantly to the public sphere, according to the Physical environment and the social context of the receiver, the image or the individual perception of the receiver, personality structure of the receiver, and the audience he faced at the time of the message and the existing situation. The prestige and credibility of the medium are important elements to make an image in the receivers mind. It uses a familiar medium and local language to pass on the relevant messages, addresses, local issues, needs and problems, and uses more the local talents, artists and available resources.

A message is frequently affected by the immediate social surroundings, the receiver’s social context, the surrounding society where the receiver lives as well as the individual he interacts with. Social context, image and perception, and the personality structure of the receiver are the more influencing factors in shaping the message, e.g. religious, sensational or devout groups. This very situation of receiving may influence the receiver’s experience.

Most messages are referred to as gossips, exaggerations, and abbreviations that are sometimes completely incorrect. Channels re-encode these messages again into the receivers, maintaining the speed enough to spread throughout the village. The receivers as members of the public are not experiencing the situation as in modern media. These channels are informal and work vertically and horizontally. Communication travelling through vertical channels may be delivered face to face or in written form. The receivers are active in listening, understanding, believing, accepting, and acted on the messages, even though the level of trust is low. The villagers would tend to put more faith in the word – of –mouth information. This model illustrates how an interpersonal field of experience is expressed into interpersonal communication.

The traditional media formed and developed over the ages ensure the emotional integrity of the region. This tradition can be ascertained as rigid media, semi rigid media and non-rigid media which help make an unrivaled social fabric of the community in the rural sphere.

5. Folk Media / Channels and DSR Model

Folk media is one of the most prominent information systems among the rural population. They are powerful in establishing social integration, protecting and dissemination of cultural values and satisfying the national and societal needs. Folk media are generally inexpensive, portable, easily accessible, locally oriented, flexible, subject to change and capable of incorporating new forms and ideas. They belong to the community and not to individuals or private, public industry or any other states. There is no competition and they are not managed by any other commercial channels and not threatened by foreign ideological domination or cultural colonialism. The two way communication pattern and the message repositionability of the folk media make the message stronger among the rural masses. Flexibility, credibility, cultural relevance, entertainment value, acceptability are among the virtues of the folk media. It looks as a total welfare of the whole society in many sidedness of cultural, economic and social development for uplifting the quality of life of the rural masses.

6. Folk Media through Modern Media:

Some developed countries use folk tradition to send some information and messages to the people in the rural areas. For example the government of Malaysia has emphasized the folk media. Oral tradition is used as an agent for socialization for the purpose of national identity.

Folk media intimate with the masses, and they are rich in variety, relished by different age groups, and by both sexes. Themes carry traditionally and having greater potential for persuasive communication, face to face communication and the instant feedback (Ranganath, 1976). It carries joy and sorrow, triumph and defeat of the peasant people in the village. Traditional media is highly functional and inculcate socially accepted norms, values and performances in general socializing process (Dissanayake, 1977). For instance, one of the Sinhalese folk dramas “Sokary” is enjoyed by Sri Lankan rural and urban audience as it brings the strong message to the mass consciousness as a great tradition. But its origin was in the consciousness of the rural masses as a little tradition.

7. Folk Media, Rituals and Culture:

Indigenous media use verbal, visual, and aural forms, mostly as an entertainment media. This dynamic media enable to motivate and instruct the audience to serve certain societal and cultural purposes by bringing people together in community relations and aiding their socialization into approved form of behavior by the society. Thus media are singing the cultural praises of vital cultural themes and recounting of the group ideals. The values of religious themes are linked to social processes taking the forms of rituals. With the repetition of the rituals and the rhythmic tangible form serve to reinforce and concretize cultural themes and beliefs to rural masses. Thus repeated patterns of rituals and dissemination of cultural information conserve the socio cultural resources. People may not “learn” so much from the media as they become accustomed to a standardized ritual (Berelson, 1949).

The folk media are obviously not only the mechanism of promoting social integration but it has other functional alternatives such as humor. Humor is mostly based on jokes about certain subjects, the glorification of the social traditions and the kinship patterns etc. In the area of religion jokes are permitted about certain themes, such as religious deities and the saints but no jokes are allowed on core areas.

8. Folk Media and Cultural Identity:

The traditional media in the South Asian countries attempt to preserve the cultural identity of indigenous performing arts and bring a sense of functional relevance to the countries. All India radio, in its rural broadcasting most probably use folk media in their daily program narrated by conventional characters who convey the typical life and folklore of the rural areas (Ranganath, 1976).

The new technologies are employing new dimensions to disseminate information in greater efficiency and accuracy. The newest advanced technologies do not benefit periphery because of the lack of technology, scientific knowledge and the human resources.

According to the Lazarsfeld, with the development of communication technology, there was great attention to its effects on the existing media (Lazarsfeld, 1940). Change is the characteristic of all cultures, but the rate and the direction of change is varying considerably. But I should propose that this media can carry the modern messages effectively at the mass consciousness in the periphery.

*DSR stands for DharmaKeerthi Sri Ranjan


Berelson Bernard, (1949). “What Missing the Newspaper Means”, Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Frank N.Stanton (Eds), Communication Research 1948 – 1949, New York Harper, PP.111 – 129.

Cueller, Perez De, (1995). Our Creative Diversity, UNESCO Report.

DharmaKeerthi Sri Ranjan, G. D. (2010). Traditional Wireless Communication and Its Model in South Asian Region, The Journal of American Science, Vol: 06, Issue: 03, PP. 102 -108.

Dissanayake, Wimal, (1977). “New Wine in Old Bottles: Can Folk Media Convey Modern Messages? Journal of Communication, spring, PP. 122 – 124.

Lazarsfeld, P.L., (1940). Radio and the Printed Page, New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce.

Ranganath H.K., (1976). “A Probe into the Traditional Media, Telling the People Tell Themselves”, Media Asia, 3:1. P. 25, 26.

Rathnapala Nandasena, (1991). Folklore of Sri Lanka, The State Printing Corporation, Sri Lanka.

Roland Barthes, (1976). Writing Degree Zero and Elements of Semiology, A Lavers and C. Smith,Trans.