A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

12

History, media and communication

Paddy Scannell
• an overview of the history of history as a field of research
• a discussion of ‘media history’ as an inclusive phenomenon
• a presentation of histories of oral and written communication
• a review of histories of different technological media, including the press and broadcasting
• an example of archival research on historical data.

INTRODUCTION

In this chapter, I review developments in historical studies of communication and media. In order to contextualize these developments it is necessary to consider, historically, the formation of history as an academic discipline. Throughout the chapter, I attend to theoretical and

methodological issues concerning historiography (the practice of writing history) in order to illuminate some of the more specific problems in writing histories of media and communication. What is not dealt with in this chapter, since to do so would turn a chapter into a book, are questions concerning the nature of history itself. The given facticity of history as an academic field of inquiry is taken as the starting point, but it is obvious that history itself - whatever it may be - is not something invented by historians; that is, the emergence of history as an academic domain is itself a reflection of the historical process. It is precisely a question for historians as to why it should be - at a particular time and in particular places - that a new kind of historical consciousness should emerge, one of whose manifestations is academic historiography.

historiography

A historical sensibility comes fully into being in nineteenth-century Europe and North America, and is undoubtedly connected with the unprecedented speeding up of technological innovation, economic, political, and other social change - in short, the phenomenon of modernity.1 Transformations in communication and the continuing development of ‘new’ media (radio in the 1920s was as much a matter of wonder for the contemporary world as the Internet is today) have contributed to the heightened sense of social change - the sharp awareness of the difference between past and present, then and now - which is the mark of historical consciousness. Recent social theory (e.g., Giddens 1990; Harvey 1989) has also shown a renewed interest in time and space, and especially in the consequences of their shrinkage to the point of disappearing as obstacles to be overcome in the circulation of information and commodities. At this point in time, however, the Internet has no history to speak of, but only a future. The work of historians - unlike that of social theorists - begins only as the past emerges as distinct from the

1 modernity - Chapter 11, p. 173

-191-

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A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I - History 13
  • 2 - The Humanities in Media and Communication Research 15
  • 3 - Media, Culture and Modern Times 40
  • Part II - Systematics 59
  • 4 - The Production of Media Fiction 62
  • 5 - The Production of News 78
  • 6 - The Study of International News 91
  • 7 - Discourses of Fact 98
  • 8 - Mediated Fiction 117
  • 9 - Media Effects 138
  • 10 - Media Reception 156
  • 11 - Contexts, Cultures, and Computers 171
  • 12 - History, Media and Communication 191
  • Part III - Practice 207
  • 13 - The Quantitative Research Process 209
  • 14 - The Qualitative Research Process 235
  • 15 - The Complementarity of Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies in Media and Communication Research 254
  • 16 - The Social Origins and Uses of Media and Communication Research 273
  • References 294
  • Index 326
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