By David K. Perry
This monograph examines the past, present, and potential relationship between American pragmatism and communication research. The contributors provide a bridge between communication studies and philosophy, subjects often developed somewhat in isolation from each other. Addressing topics, such as qualitative and quantitative research, ethics, media research, and feminist studies, the chapters in this volume: *discuss how a pragmatic, Darwinian approach to inquiry has guided and might further guide communication research; *advocate a functional view of communication, based on Dewey's mature notion of transaction; *articulate a pragmatist's aesthetics and connect it to Deweyan democracy; *discuss the similarities and differences between Dewey's notion of inquiry and the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer; *apply accommodation theory, linked to symbolic interactionism and more generally to the social behaviorism of George H. Mead and his followers, to media research; *interpret media-effects evidence in light of pragmatist ideas about inquiry; and *argue that pragmatism theorizes about despair and life's sense of the tragic. This book is written to be readily accessible to students and professional academics within and outside the field of communication studies without extensive training in specialized areas of communication study.