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Theorizing Communication: A History

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Overview

This book offers the first detailed intellectual history of communication study, from its beginnings in late nineteenth-century critiques of corporate capitalism and the burgeoning American wireline communications industry, to contemporary information theory and poststructuralist accounts of communicative activity. Schiller identifies a problematic split between manual and intellectual labor that outlasts each of the field's major conceptual departures, and from this vital perspective builds a rigorous critical survey of work aiming to understand the nexus of media, ideology, and information in a society. Looking closely at the thought of John Dewey, C. Wright Mills, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Daniel Bell, and others, Schiller carefully maps the transformation of ideas about communication and culture as issues of corporate power, mass persuasion, cultural imperialism, and information expansion succeed one another in prominence. Bringing his analysis of communication theory into the present, Schiller concludes by limning a unitary model of society's cultural/informational production, one that broadens the concept of "labor" to include all forms of human self-activity. Powerful, challenging, and original, Theorizing Communication: A History offers a brilliantly constructed overview of the history of communication study, and will interest scholars working in the field as well as those working in critical theory, cultural studies, and twentieth-century intellectual history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"His account helps organize and make sense of the seemingly disparate work from which the field of communication study emerged....This is an important contribution, both as a history and as a critique of the field's failure to adequately theorize communication in its social context."—Publishing Research Quarterly

"A breathtaking historical tour-de-force and creative synthesis of ideas that frame the key socio-political issues and cultural debates of our time."—George Gerbner, Dean Emeritus, The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania

"Engages a wide range of communications and cultural theory extending from mainstream empirical research to British cultural studies. It provides a comprehensive and critical overview of the field which should be of great interest to those who wish to understand communications theory and the multifaceted roles of communications in the contemporary world."—Douglas Kellner, University of Texas at Austin.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195101997
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Lexile: 1760L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.43 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

University of California, San Diego
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