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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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6 Cultural Studies: Dialogue, Continuity, and Change

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The sources of cultural studies can be traced in certain debates in the nineteenth century around industrialization and democracy, in the Frankfurt School and its engagement with mass media and Americanization, and in the work of I. A. Richards, F. R. Leavis, and Denys Thompson around questions of moral value. The pedagogical practices developed in adult education classes in the 1930s and the Second World War were also influential.

All the standard accounts of British cultural studies trace its origins to the 1950s and to the emergence of three key texts. However, as Stuart Hall reminds us—whose 1980 essay, “Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms,” remains in many ways the most precise and critically informed version—there are no absolute beginnings to the project of cultural studies. “Cultural Studies is a discursive formation, in Foucault’s sense; it has no simple origins” (Hall in Morley & Chen, 1996, p. 263; unless otherwise specified, all further quotations from Hall come from this book). Even if this is so, it would be foolish to underestimate the impact of the works that marked its formal, textual starting point: Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (1957), Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society (1958), and E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class (1963).

None of these texts was conceived in isolation, nor did they “arrive unaccompanied.” Each was part of a wider context, which tends to be ignored by accounts ← 96 | 97 → that stress the coherence and intentionality of...

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