ERIC Number: ED368014
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Conceiving Intellectual and Institutional History in Communication Studies.
Duncanson, W. Thomas
Jesse Delia's essay "Communication Research: A History" (1987) avoids defining "communication research" as subject phenomena, methodology, or a progressive stock of positive propositions. In this way, his essay accommodates in a generous, comprehending, and constructive way a wide array of approaches, disparate interests and motivations, and findings of varied reliability and durability in a broad and non-judgmental sweep. The essay is organized by both macro and micro temporal structures, develops topics by both intellectual saliency and paradigmatic contrast in a fair manner, directs the reader with meta-communication, and progresses from idea to idea with minimal redundancy. However, it remains deeply problematical and emblematic of the political difficulty inherent in disciplinary historiography. By stopping at 1960, more than half of all communication research ever conducted and published was eliminated. Even accepting this limitation, the studies Delia chooses to represent the history of communication research focus on mass communication research. Omitted from the essay are the reception and formation of ideas of which academic writing is supposedly about. Women and people of color were left out entirely, as were key figures in social psychology, many personalists, phenomenologists, and existentialists. Delia's history makes no account of psychoanalytic thought, most social theory, the linguistic turn in philosophy, rhetorical and hermeneutic theory, and semiotics. The essay is politically conservative within a particular meaning of the term--it is the conservatism of the affluent, of more and bigger is better, of all benefit if they cooperate. (Contains 23 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Delia (Jesse G); Historical Background
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (79th, Miami Beach, FL, November 18-21, 1993).