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Communication Theories in a Multicultural World


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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7 A Mutually Radicalizing Relationship: Communication Theory and Cultural Studies in the United States



Only an academic would consider a conjuncture an occasion for a good party. But the conjuncture that led to the creation of cultural studies was a breakthrough well worth celebrating. A conjuncture, as Stuart Hall (Hall & Massey, 2010) defines it, “is a period during which the different social, political, economic and ideological contradictions that are at work in society come together to give it a specific and distinctive shape” (p. 57). A conjuncture, in other words, is a moment in time when various factors in society—discursive and material—conjoin to give life to some new and intelligible pattern defining a period’s experiential texture and deeper meaning. Conjunctures are often associated with and precipitated by crisis, as society lurches forward and the kaleidoscopic elements of the culture, first shaken, then reconfigured, assume a fresh form. One such conjuncture was the 1960s, as reflected in its well-documented and revolutionary changes to global politics and culture. But that storied decade of youth culture, women’s and civil rights, and anticolonial struggle was also the beginning of a gradual transformation in North American communication thought. This was a transformation in which Robert White and James Carey played a vital part.

The name of Robert A. White, SJ, does not dominate bibliographic listings but his presence is very broad in the communication field to those who knew him as an author, editor, convener, administrator, mentor, and friend. His role at the Center for the Study of Communication and Culture in...

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