Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

About the Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture (CSCC)

Academic journal article Communication Research Trends

About the Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture (CSCC)

Article excerpt

The Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture was established in 1977, as the result of discussions that had been going on within the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) since about 1971, concerning how the Society might best assist the Catholic Church to better understand and use what had been called, in Church documents, "the instruments of social communication." The driving force behind CSCC's establishment was Very Rev. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, then Superior General of the Jesuits. CSCC was located in London, England, which was felt to be the best site for relatively easy and inexpensive international transportation and communication on which the Centre would depend for its work with church-related decision-makers and communicators around the world, as well as for good library resources to use in its research. Britain also was the location of organizations and institutions with which CSCC hoped to collaborate, such as the World Association for Christian Communication, the International Institute of Communication, and the University of Leicester's Institute for Mass Communication Research. A Swiss Jesuit, Father Stefan Bamberger, SJ, who had recently been Father Arrupe's secretary for social communication, was appointed to be the Centre's first executive director.

CSCC immediately began to develop library resources and periodical exchange relations with other communication research institutions and their publications, as well as starting to assemble a staff of Jesuits and others trained in social science research and related disciplines. Rev. Robert White, SJ, assumed the role of research director of the Centre in 1978, after completing his doctorate in rural sociology at Cornell University, with a concentration in the application of mass communication technology to the needs of the rural poor in developing countries.

Several research projects were undertaken, including a study of the communication training of seminarians in three countries, and several books were published, notably a series of ten titles in Spanish designed to promote interest in communication studies in Latin America, in particular. Publication of a simple newsletter, began in 1979. The newsletter was replaced by the more formal quarterly publication, Communication Research Trends, in 1980. "Trends" concentrated on one topic in communication studies in each issue and attempted to present an overview of research being done on that topic around the world, with special stress on its relevance for church-related communication decision-makers and practitioners. CSCC collaborated with the Gregorian University, St. Paul's University in Ottawa, the University of Dayton (Ohio, USA), and other institutions in conducting seminars and colloquia, resulting in various publications.

Ecumenical collaboration also was emphasized, especially in conjunction with the World Association for Christian Communication. About the same time, an ambitious project of book publication was begun, in cooperation with the World Association for Christian Communication and Sage Publications. Eventually about twenty-five titles by leading scholars in social dimensions of communication appeared in that series, "Communication and Human Values." They were designed to embody research on social and cultural dimensions of communication studies that directly promoted the enhancement of human dignity, human rights, and social justice.

Meanwhile, the Centre's offices and residence, in London's South Hampstead neighborhood, hosted many visiting international scholars and made its library available to others already doing research in the many universities and institutes in the London area.

Father Bamberger left CSCC to become provincial of the Swiss Province of the Jesuits, in 1982, and was followed by Rev. Jean Desautels, SJ, a French-Canadian Jesuit with long experience in East Asian religious communication work. Other senior researchers added to the Centre's permanent staff in those early years included James McDonnell, who had been a bibliographer with the British Library, and Rev. …

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