ICA Annual Conference: Challenging Communication Research
Communication research traditions are recent, by scholarly standards, and in a perennial state of flux that can call the whole idea of “traditions” into question. This dynamic state is no transitional phase on the way to some definitive, ultimate form of the field. Rather, the morphing nature of communication research reflects the changing nature of communication itself and its participants, stakeholders and contexts. Communication and media are multidimensional phenomena, open to the wider society beyond the research community; and communication research is a fundamentally dynamic space where disciplines meet, share, conflict and engage. Communication scholars are destined to continually reinvent the field and its questions, interests and methods.
The ICA 2013 Conference theme, Challenging Communication Research, provides communication researchers an opportunity to reflect on the field’s multifaceted and increasingly open character in an era of shifting social relations, formations, and technologies. We must consider the challenges these developments pose for us as researchers, teachers, citizens, creative professionals, and cultural participants.
Among these challenges, we might include:
• How communication research is conducted: its approaches, perspectives, assumptions, and methods
• How communication research identifies, classifies, and understands its objects of study
• How communication research challenges society and public discourses that are increasingly dominated by powerful economic, political, and technical interests
• How communication research challenges authority, privilege and power in times of uncertainty and change
• How communication research challenges common, taken-for-granted conceptions about the communication process itself
• How communication research itself is challenged: by financial pressures, by political and power shifts, by technological change and the reconfiguration and control of communication infrastructures and systems, and by cultural debates and conflicts.