Rethinking Communication: Vol.1.Paradigm Issues. Vol.2.Paradigm Exemplars

Dervin

Grossberg

O'Keefe

Wartella

These books co-exist as byproducts of an ambitious and creative project undertaken to heal the theoretic schisms which have formed in the field of communication. These tandem publications are inspired by, and are an extension of, the dialogue initiated in the 1983 publication of the "Ferment in the Field" issue of the Journal of Communication. Likewise, the 1985 International Communication Association (ICA) Convention further explored this theme of "paradigm dialogues."

In Vol. 1. Paradigm Issues, five noted communication theorists articulate their views of the crucial issues currently facing the field of communication and their position in relation to those issues. These five essays are: (1) "Paradigms Lost and Regained" by Karl Erik Rosengren; (2) "Ideology and Communication Theory" by Stuart Hall; (3) "The Orthodox Consensus and the Emerging Synthesis" by Anthony Giddens; (4) "On the Ethics of Constructing Communication" by Klaus Krippendorff; (5) "Communication as a Practical Discipline" by Robert T. Craig. Twenty-five short commentaries follow (three to six pages long), written by a wide range of accomplished thinkers and established scholars from communication and related disciplines. Each commentator was chosen by the editors to represent the widest possible range of background, theoretic perspective, and political preference. Each commentator was asked to read the five essays and offer his or her response through a synthesis of the themes or issues appearing in these essays.

Vol. 2. Paradigm Exemplars is under separate cover and offers a separate format. This text examines the contemporary research scene by providing examples of research from a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. Thirty original essays are presented in this volume with interpersonal, linguistic, mass communication, and organizational concepts looked at from a variety of strategic perspectives. This text is similar to other collections of essays dealing with various topics in our field. The editors feel that a companion volume was needed to com- plete the task of discussing the disparate paradigms in our field and the type of research currently being conducted which spring from these various paradigms.

Volume 1 accomplishes the editors' belief that "...genuine dialogue among proponents of sharply contrasting theoretical and epistomological positions would help clarify the issues of debate and shape the course of development of communication as a field." This is an approach which should be emulated more often in our field. The spirit and essence of dialogue is wonderfully captured and enhanced through this effort.

Volume 2 is less unique in its conceptualization and presentation. Unfortunately, the text is not organized in any fashion at all. The 30 essays could have been grouped in several appropriate schemes. Also, a description of each section could have effectively eludicated the commonalities of each essay in that section as well as connected the research essays in this volume to the paradigms discussed in the first volume. This conceptual link is not made between the two volumes.

A useful addition to Volume 2 is the Chapter Abstract offered for each of the 30 chapters. This assists in deciding upon the relevance of the chapter's content to one's literature search.

Overall, each volume could stand alone as either a course text or as a reference source, at either an advanced undergraduate or graduate level. Volume 1 would be an excellent conversation-generator in any theory seminar. Volume 2 could be used as a reader in an eclectic theory and methods course. Both texts are useful as a reference.

The editors are to be highly commended for their efforts in helping us take a significant step forward in the evolution of our field.



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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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