author={John Durham Peters},
  journal={Communication Research},
  pages={527 - 559}
  • J. Peters
  • Published 1 October 1986
  • Art
  • Communication Research
Why has the field of communication failed to define itself, its intellectual focus, and its mission in a coherent way? This essay explores reasons for this failure, focusing especially on the institutional use of the field's central terms and concepts. Incoherence has been the price of institutional success. What defines communication's unique identity as a field is also what maintains its conceptual confusions. The field is compared to a nation-state. The essay places the field's emergence in… 

Communication in the Conversation of Disciplines

Communication has acquired many of the institutional-professional trappings of an academic discipline, but as an intellectual tradition it remains radically heterogeneous and largely derivative. What

Lost in translation? On the disciplinary status of public relations

The article deals with the current status of public relations (PR) as a scientific discipline which is in the process of breaking up into several subdisciplinary fields of research. It gives an

Comparative media research: The world according to America

Comparative and international communication research in the United States reflects an institutional proximity to communication and media theory and research and acts upon a problematic that is

Journalism in the Service of Communication

This article discusses the role of journalism in the disciplinary growth of the study of communication. It traces the initial role that journalism played in communication studies' development,

Origins and transformations: histories of communication study

  • J. Corner
  • Education
    Media, Culture & Society
  • 2019
This is a brief, interconnected review of some of the extensive work published in the last few years on the history of study into communication. It highlights in particular the expansion of this work

The Political Culture of Mass Communication Research and the Role of African Communication Scholars

This article outlines some of the recurring issues in mass communication research. Starting with a discussion of the perennial problem of defining the field of mass communication research, the

How not to found a field: New evidence on the origins of mass communication research

This article offers new evidence on the beginnings of mass communication study in the U.S., suggesting that the earliest communication programs were short-lived interdisciplinary committees at the

Academic communication research in Mexico: notes for a reflexive balance sheet

A model of the "double alternative" confronting the field in the 1990s is put forth, a conclusive synthesis of the author's extensive study of the processes of "structuring" this field in Mexico.

The field, fermented: Prestige and the vocational bind in communication research

This commentary argues that communication research’s main problem is reputational. The field’s marginal status—a product of its peculiar institutional history, with roots in vocational training—means

Studying Framing in Political Communication with an Integrative Approach

This article explores the nature of framing as being an inherently integrative approach to political communication research. It proposes a two-part definition of integrative: “bring together” and



Social theories of the press : early German and American perspectives

A book which concentrates on the reflections of early American sociologists and their German colleagues or teachers who have contributed to the development of communication and mass communication in

The politics of TV violence : policy uses of communication research

A history of research on the effects of television violence, and how this research was used in policy-making and debate. Rowland describes the interactions of federal bodies, the broadcasting

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

What makes people love and die for nations, as well as hate and kill in their name? While many studies have been written on nationalist political movements, the sense of nationality - the personal

The Crisis of Democratic Theory: Scientific Naturalism and the Problem of Value

"Widely acclaimed for its originality and penetration, this award-winning study of American thought in the twentieth century examines the ways in which the spread of pragmatism and scientific

The Emergence of Professional Social Science: The American Social Science Association and the Nineteenth-Century Crisis of Authority

Thomas L. Haskell's The Emergence of Professional Social Science signaled the beginning of his distinguished career as a historian of ideas and critic of historical logic. His first book, now

The Critical Legal Studies Movement

Critical Legal Studies (CLS) is a network of leftist legal scholars hostile to American political ideology and liberal political theory that traces its beginnings to the ‘Conference on Critical Legal

Human nature and the social order

This work remains a pioneer sociological treatise on American culture. By understanding the individual not as the product of society but as its mirror image, Cooley concludes that the social order

Social Organization: A Study of the Larger Mind

This classic text has set a standard for American sociol-ogy. Cooley provides analysis without empiricism, applying psychological insight to his study of the individual and collective self. First

Advocacy and Objectivity: A Crisis in the Professionalization of American Social Science, 1865-1905

This award-winning book of the Frederick Jackson Turner Studies describes the early development of social science professions in the United States. Furner traces the academic process in economics,

Mass Communication Review Yearbook

PART ONE: EXPLORING NEW DIRECTIONS A Debate over the Research Agenda - Jay Blumler and Michael Gurevitch Neofunctionalism for Mass Communication Theory - Eric Rothenbuhler Critical Theory and the