Communication Consultants in Political Campaigns: Ballot Box Warriors

By Robert V. Friedenberg | Go to book overview

nological changes, media technologies, campaign techniques, and research techniques. 6 In a survey of the state of the field in 1983, the same authors and Lynda Kaid found additional, more specific areas of concern such as the presidency, political polls, public opinion, debates, and advertising, to name a few. 7 Since the first study, they also noted a shift away from the rather strict behavioral approach.

A decade later, Dan Nimmo and David Swanson argued that "political communication has developed some identity as a more or less distinct domain of scholarly work." 8 The scope and concerns of the area have further expanded to include critical theories and cultural studies. While there is no precise definition, method, or disciplinary home of the area of inquiry, its primary domain is the role, processes, and effects of communication within the context of politics broadly defined.

In 1985, the editors of Political Communication Yearbook: 1984 noted that "more things are happening in the study, teaching, and practice of political communication than can be captured within the space limitations of the relatively few publications available." 9 In addition, they argued that the backgrounds of "those involved in the field [are] so varied and pluralist in outlook and approach, . . . it [is] a mistake to adhere slavishly to any set format in shaping the content." 10 And more recently, Nimmo and Swanson called for "ways of overcoming the unhappy consequences of fragmentation within a framework that respects, encourages, and benefits from diverse scholarly commitments, agendas, and approaches. 11

In agreement with these assessments of the area and with gentle encouragement, Praeger established the Praeger Series in Political Communication. The series is open to all qualitative and quantitative methodologies as well as contemporary and historical studies. The key to characterizing the studies in the series is the focus on communication variables or activities within a political context or dimension. As of this writing, nearly 40 volumes have been published, and there are numerous impressive works forthcoming. Scholars from the disciplines of communication, history, journalism, political science, and sociology have participated in the series.

I am, without shame or modesty, a fan of the series. The joy of serving as its editor is in participating in the dialogue of the field of political communication and in reading the contributors' works. I invite you to join me.

Robert E. Denton, Jr.


NOTES
1.
See Robert E. Denton Jr., The Symbolic Dimensions of the American Presidency ( Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, 1982); Robert E. Denton Jr., and Gary Woodward , Political Communication in America ( New York: Praeger, 1985; 2nd

-viii-

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