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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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8 Thinking Communication in Latin America



Constructing the complex history of the field of communication history of the field of communication in Latin America will require mixing information with analysis and narration. Making it difficult is the fact that the author of this text is not a distant observer but someone involved in both the academic and research debates that will be presented here as well as the social and political circumstances. And it becomes even more complicated when recognizing that the continent has experienced the greatest transformation in its history during these fifty years of Latin American thought on the world of communication.

The construction of the field of studies in communication began in Latin America in the 1960s by amalgamating the new ideas rooted in dependency theory with the North American and European academic education of several researchers, and these together with a crucial binding agent: the will to insert the media into the processes of social development and democratization of the Latin American countries. The functional-diffusionist conception promoted by U.S. agencies in those years identified Latin American countries as underdeveloped and linked development directly to the quantitative growth of the number of copies of newspapers sold or the number of radios and television sets per person. However, the communication theory that was being developed in these countries provided a socio-historical approach that made it impossible to separate the action of the ← 129 | 130 → media from its context and the political processes from their region. What was ultimately a real...

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