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ERIC Number: ED380853
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Toward a History of the Field: The Fall of Political Criticism in Communication in the 1930s and 1940s and the Rise of Science.
Sproule, J. Michael
The fissures, if not chasms, between two recently published histories of the field of communication demonstrate that teachers/scholars of communication lack an agreed-upon recollection of their social and intellectual origins. The influence of muckrakers has been so great that, paradoxically, they seem easy to ignore in constructing a history of the academic field of communication. The muckrakers updated the 19th-century practice of the sensational expose, married this practice to mass media, and set in motion a method to diffuse the progressive reform movement of the early 20th century. Popular muckraking directly influenced the academic study of communication. American academic propaganda critique was extinguished by social and intellectual conditions attending World War II. Popular and academic criticisms of the Vietnam War reached back to propaganda analysis and to the muckraking tradition. Although the muckraking spirit animated the revival of social critique in the 1960s and 1970s, there is some tendency in the 1990s to replay the extinguishing of progressive propaganda critique of the 1940s. One of the most persistent myths in the history of academic communication study is the "Four Founders" thesis of Wilbur Schramm. The thesis was not initially presented as "history" but rather as an idealized prescription for the future of academic communication study. Although labeling the Four Founders thesis as myth, a recent history of the field essentially reanimates the thesis by focusing on four of six individuals who enjoy chapter-length treatment as key players in the growth of communication study. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A