ERIC Number: ED246463
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Mass Communication in Ferment: Open Questions in the Historiography of the Field.
Robinson, Gertrude J.
Thomas S. Kuhn's paradigm theory, which explains the growth of science, can be used to challenge three aspects of the received history of North American communications research: (1) the beginning point of the field and its periodization, (2) the development of mass media studies as an articulated subfield, and (3) the role of new technologies in paradigm change. Historical evidence indicates that the philosophy of progressivism, which links new broadcast technology with social progress and the emergence of social psychology and sociology at the turn of the century, provides an empirical parentage for communication studies in the United States. The first institutionalization of the emerging discipline must therefore be sought at the Chicago school, not with P. F. Lazarsfeld. The Bureau of Social Research constitutes a second developmental change that articulates a paradigm for a new subfield--media studies. This paradigm was heavily influenced by governmental propaganda preoccupations during World War II, in which institute members were involved. Alternative, symbolic interactionist, and Marxist inspired paradigm groups were not able to challenge the Lazarsfeld limited-effects formula until the 1970s when the interactive technology debate provided an opening for a renewed assessment of communications assumptions. (Author/CRH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (67th, Gainesville, FL, August 5-8, 1984).