2023-2024 / COMU0016-1

Theories of Communication


30h Th

Number of credits

 Bachelor in human and social sciences3 crédits 
 Bachelor in human and social sciences (New programme)5 crédits 
 Extra courses intended for exchange students (Erasmus, ...) (Faculty of social sciences)5 crédits 
 Bachelor in information and communication5 crédits 
 Bachelor in philosophy5 crédits 


Véronique Servais

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Presentation of the main face-to-face communication theories that were developped after world war II in the United States by scientists as G. Bateson, R. Birdwhistell, E.T. Hall and E. Goffman. Those theories all rely on an interactionnal point of view.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

To understand the theoretical perspectives and to master the main concepts that have been presented. To be able to apply them to fictive and simplified communication situations.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills


Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The teaching is organised in such a way that each class session focuses on a specific theme, following a logical path that considers the work of 5 major researchers.

Each class session has its own set of compulsory readings. These must be done either before or after the corresponding session, according to a precise programme communicated to students at the beginning of the course. These readings are the subject of accompanying exercises to be carried out on e-campus and are subject to examination. In addition, optional readings (not compulsory, not subject to examination) are also offered to students wishing to study a subject in greater depth. 

The portfolio of readings is available at the beginning of the course, first in electronic form for download, then in paper form. It consists of two volumes. Volume 1: Compulsory readings. Volume 2: supplementary readings. 

In addition to the texts, the reading portfolio contains an introduction to each session, a detailed outline, a graphic-syllabus presenting the entire course and related activities, and a table of contents.  

The course also includes a film and, if time permits, some other communication sequences.

At the beginning of each week, students will receive the course slides for the following Friday's session and a reminder of the readings to be completed. 

The course will be recorded and made available on the MyUliège platform. The course material (slides, file of readings) will be posted on the e-campus platform. The exercises accompanying the readings will be carried out on the e-campus platform. 


Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Duration and period : 12 sessions of 3 hours. 

Place and time schedule : Room Noppius, Opera, City center. Schedule to be determined.
See http://cipl82.philo.ulg.ac.be/horaires

Mode of teaching : ex cathedra teaching relying on compulsory readings. 

Internet Platform : MyULiège (for the recordings of the course) and e-campus (for access to the documents, information with the students, all the learning activities).



Recommended or required readings


Lecture notes composed of extracts from the work of Yves Winkin (1986-2000). The new communication. Paris, Seuil, as well as chapters from other books or scientific papers.

This written support is available in printed form to university presses. Support written in electronic form will be downloadable from a link that will be communicated to students on e-campus. The course material consists of a volume 1 of compulsory readings and a volume 2 of supplementary readings.

The reading of the texts is MANDATORY and the students are likely to be questioned on all the matter which is presented there (see above: methods of teaching). They will be guided in their reading by questions and exercices on the platform e-campus. 

It is recommended that students obtain the printed version of these texts, as reading a text carefully means annotating it.

The slides presented during the course will be available on the e-campus platform as early as the Tuesday preceding the course, in a printable form allowing the taking of notes.

Students must take notes during the lecture. They must be cautious about syntheses of previous years, which do not always take up all of the material seen.

The slides showed during the course will be available on the e-campus platform.

Optional readings :

Hall, E.T. (1971) La dimension cachée. Paris, Seuil.
Hall, E.T. (1984) Le langage silencieux. Paris, Seuil.
Meunier, J.-P. (2003) Approches systémiques de la communication. Bruxelles, De Boeck.
Morin, E. (2005) Introduction à la pensée complexe. Paris, Seuil.
Watzlawick P., J.H. Beavin & D. D. Jackson (1972). Une logique de la communication. Paris, Seuil.
Wittezaele J.-J. & T. Garcia (1992). A la recherche de l'Ecole de Palo Alto. Paris, Seuil.
Wittezaele J.J. (2008) La double contrainte. Bruxelles, De Boeck



Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam ( multiple-choice questionnaire )

Additional information:

Written exam in the form of multiple choice questions. 

The examination subject matter includes : 

- the content of the required readings

- the material presented in the oral course

The precise modalities of the examination (distance or face-to-face) might depend in particular on the health situation (see above).


Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

All the learning material will be available at the MyUliege platform. The reading exercices will take place on the ecampus platform.

Students are invited to ask questions before or after the courses. No answer will be given to questions sent by e-mail. It is also possible to meet the teacher during her duty in her offic e at the Sart Tilman (B31, office number 2/51)



Teacher Véronique SERVAIS, Professor Faculty of Social Sciences  Place des orateurs, 3, Bât B31 Sart Tilman 4000 Liège + 32 4 366 32 08 E-mail v.servais@ulg.ac.be Secrétariat FaSS secretariat.fass@uliege.be
Secrétariat ASC Evelyne Libens Tél. + 32 4 366 32 86

Association of one or more MOOCs