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Communication Theories in a Multicultural World

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Edited By Clifford G. Christians and Kaarle Nordenstreng

This volume is an up-to-date account of communication theories from around the world.
Authored by a group of eminent scholars, each chapter is a history and state-of-the-art description of the major issues in international communication theory.
While the book draws on an understanding of communication theory as a product of its socio-political and cultural context, and the challenges posed by that context, it also highlights each author’s lifetime effort to critique the existing trends in communication theory and bring out the very best in each multicultural context.
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3 Social Scientific Theory of Communication Encounters Normativity: A Personal Memoir

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At just past the midpoint of the twentieth century, in a corner of the world then not much disturbed by global storms, I began my own journey through the equally peaceful landscape of communication enquiry. I was equipped with a basic grounding in methods and ideas of the social sciences, especially sociology, and a confidence in their efficacy, plus an apprenticeship in communication research at the masterful hands of Joseph Trenaman. The high potential of the social sciences for answering questions, if not solving complex problems, was for me not in dispute. The issue of whether there was adequate theory to guide the process did not occur to me as a problem and was not generally raised within what I gradually came to understand as the scope of the communication sciences.

This situation was probably typical of the time and place. My own earlier education had not really prepared me to be very sensitive to theoretical issues of the kind I was going to encounter. At school, I had received a strong dose of moralistic ideas from a Catholic perspective, from unquestionable sources and with a heavy emphasis on the classification of types and degrees of personal sinfulness. This perspective paid only limited attention to the defects and needs of the larger society—despite an introduction to the emerging Catholic Social Teaching, now being extricated from its cupboard.

On the other hand, an upbringing in a home with a strong leaning toward...

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