New Approaches in Communication Studies

Guest editors: Aslı Telli Aydemir (University of Siegen) & Ozan Çavdar (Hacettepe University).

Communication studies indicate acts of communication produced as part of production relations within a specific historical and social context. It translates as integrity of complex and changing acts. Being a multi-disciplinary field itself, communication studies have a flexible structure composed of various epistemological and methodological approaches.

Communication studies began in the USA in the 1920s. Having an interdisciplinary nature from the beginning, the preliminary studies of the field mostly focused on political science. Examining issues of propaganda and persuasion, these studies made use of psychology and social psychology as well. The interdisciplinary nature of the field was ever more intensified thanks to the Chicago School that addressed urbanization and urban-based interactions, and fields such as sociology, anthropology, and ethnography were also considered within this realm.

What changed the façade of these USA-based preliminary studies, which gradually adopted a behaviorist and empirical approach, was the establishment of the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. Taking culture as its main concern, this approach was called the Cultural Studies and included semiotics, Marxism, feminism, and literary theories within its fields of interest.

The original approach of the School of Cultural Studies towards the concept of culture has also been the trigger for its clash with Marxism. Although the school is based on a Marxist framework, it is intellectually positioned closer to Gramsci’s Marxism interpretation. These two approaches, referred to as critical approaches in contrast to the USA-based mainstream studies, are clustered around two axes that cannot be completely separated from each other: The political economy approach formed on the axis of class production and economy and cultural studies approach formed around meaning, representation and culture. On one hand, while the number of approaches adopting a synthesis of this distinction has been increasing, the conflict between these two approaches continues today. At this point, Pierre Bourdieu stands out with his studies that deepen the scope of the two core problems of the sociology of communication, namely the problems of reproduction and fields. Again, at the intersection of these two approaches and in opposition to foundationalist approaches that define what is true and false, Bruno Latour focuses on the relations such as the assemblage and relational entities building the social structure, and makes contributions to the literature through “actor network theory” and interdisciplinary team work in Science, Technology, and Society Studies (STS). As he studies cultural interactions between humans and other actors in a non-essentialist manner, he produces lasting and timely critiques of the social structure.

Today, the theoretical debate within the critical approach seems to have lost its former intensity, but the dynamism of the historical and social context continues to breed new discussions in the field of communication studies. Class movements, new social movements, and the relation of information technologies to these movements continue the old struggle against changing forms of capitalism and globalization in new ways and force communication studies to adopt new perspectives. Thus, we dedicate the December 2020 issue “New Approaches in Communication Studies” of Moment Journal to studies that focus on new approaches in communication studies through a self-reflexive perspective. We invite you to submit your papers by October 1, 2020; the suggested themes include (but not limited to):

  • Theoretical Debates in Communication Studies
  • Methodological Debates in Communication Studies
  • Communication Studies from an empirical perspective
  • Effects of the convergence between public and private spheres on the field of communication
  • Case studies in the field of communication
  • Contributions of interdisciplinary research to communication literature
  • Information technologies, communication studies and art through inter-textuality/hyper-textuality/beyond-textuality
  • Media, representation and gender