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Challenging Communication Research


Edited By Leah A. Lievrouw

Communication scholarship has not enjoyed the same kind of theoretical cohesion or ontological security as some disciplines. The field’s intellectual «roving eye» and resistance to establishing a single core body of knowledge has inspired serial rounds of soul-searching and existential doubt among communication scholars, on one hand, and celebration and intellectual adventurism, on the other. The theme of the 2013 ICA annual conference thus raised an interesting question: For a field that is perpetually in flux and «decentered», what exactly is, or should be, challenged? How, and by whom?
The chapters in this collection, chosen from among the top papers presented in London, suggest that the challenges themselves are constantly being reinvented, broken down and reorganized. The communication discipline undergoes continuous change rather than following an orderly, stepwise path toward the neat, complete accumulation of knowledge. The chapters challenge familiar approaches, notions or assumptions in communication research and scholarship and reflect on the field’s multifaceted and increasingly open character in an era of shifting social relations, formations and technologies.
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Biographical Sketches

Ekaterina Balabanova is a lecturer in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool. Her work explores the intersection of international politics and international communication, particularly the relationship between news media and politics; the media’s role in humanitarian crises and war; and the communication of conflict. She has published extensively on the influence of the media on foreign policymaking, and how military interventions are portrayed and shaped by media coverage. Her most recent work addresses the interplay between media and human rights, and the impact of nongovernmental organizations on public debates, policy agendas, and public understanding of human rights issues. Another long-term interest is media coverage of migration in the enlarged Europe; she is also collaborating on projects to develop and construct cross-country comparative analyses of press coverage.

Alex Balch is a lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Liverpool. His research investigates international mobility and security, particularly the politics of hospitality in Europe, and rights-based approaches to problems of forced labor and human trafficking. Dr. Balch has published extensively on the development of immigration policies in the UK, Spain and the EU, ← 225 | 226 → and worked with a number of public and third-sector organizations such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation ( JRF), the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority (GLA), and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in Vienna. Current projects include research funded by the EU...

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