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Communication Theories in a Multicultural World


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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9 Toward a Theory of African Communication



Following political liberalization in Africa in the early 1990s, the African media landscape has altered radically due to deregulation and emergence of new communication and information technologies. Consequently, there has been a rapid increase in the numbers of radio and television stations, newspapers and magazines, computers, and social media. One of the outcomes of this development is the continuous integration of the African continent into the emergent globalized world, with its increasingly competitive and pluralistic public spheres.

The same cannot be said of present-day communication education in Africa. It has no rich tradition of a long-standing university system, and like other disciplines, it remains largely an import from Western Europe and North America. Most of the research and publications are concerned with the relationship between media development and political democratization, and the role of communication in national development. A major lack in communication research is that of a paradigm that can be called “homegrown” within the African context (de Beer, 2008; Hecht & Ndiaye, 2008; M’Bayo, Sunday, & Amobi, 2012). Drawing inspiration from African philosophy, sociology, and communication, this chapter proposes the concept of communalism as a possible indigenous paradigm. This position is the fruit of an ethnographic study of the way people communicate among the Yorùbá of the southwestern part of Nigeria (Fáníran, 2008). The study was inspired by and carried out under the able supervision and guidance of Professor Robert White SJ, who not only gave me fish but also taught...

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