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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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17 Journalism, Multiculturalism, and the Struggle for Solidarity



Robert White happily blurs the distinction between academic and activist, between explanations of what is and arguments about what ought to be. His work, spanning nearly four decades, vivifies the value of scholarship that derives its focus—indeed, its agenda—from a clear and compelling normative framework. For White and for those of us who find inspiration in what he has said and done over the years, the study of communication always involves a critique of communication. And that critique invariably aims at developing a deeper understanding of what remains at the core of White’s body of work: the conditions for the democratization of communication.

An interest in the nexus between democracy and communication leads White in precisely the direction we want to take this chapter as we examine what multiculturalism, understood normatively, means for the study and practice of journalism. With White, who more than thirty years ago, writing in the Journal of Communication, lamented the lack of a theoretically rich account of the “structural conditions out of which new patterns of mass communication and more critical audiences might evolve” (1983, p. 296), we worry about the persistent and still popular premise that journalism can be taught—and practiced—with little or no attention to the relationship between differences in culture and the dispersion of political power. More recently, in the chapters he contributed to Normative Theories of the Media, White observed that while “dialogue has emerged as a centerpiece of contemporary communication theory,” too...

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