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Introduction The Challenges Of this Encyclopedia

Wolfgang Donsbach, General Editor


Subject Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.00005.x


Extract

The reader of this introduction who expects of it a concise description of what the field of communication is and an overview of its state of the art will be massively disappointed. I am very confident, however, that this overview can be found within this encyclopedia. In my view, the best available account, describing development, fields, paradigms, and current problems of the academic side of “communication,” is an entry by one of the advisory editors, and therefore I refer readers to Robert T. Craig's entry on “Communication as a Field and Discipline.” In a pluralistic manner, being fair to the rival camps, it gives a detached, analytical, and encompassing description of where we came from and where we stand today – at least to the extent of what can be said in 6,000 words. If a whole field can be packed into an encyclopedia it means that there is at least some chance of defining its borders and naming its consensual evidence. Despite the fact that methodological and meta-theoretical disputes occur in any discipline (and belong to the sciences by default), communication has still been different in this from most of the other disciplines, particularly the natural sciences, which at least are more or less unanimously defined according to the scope of their objects and the canonization of their evidence. Textbooks, readers, or encyclopedias in, for instance, physics or economics ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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