Is sociology of mass media undead?

06/01/2009 at 09:18 Leave a comment

I found Pooley and Katz’s article on why American sociology abandoned mass communication research a worthy read. They track mass media research from the Chicago School to its disconnect from sociology in journalism schools in the 50s and 60s.

Something similar must have happened in Europe, because I had numerous discussions with people about why it is that media and communication studies seem to have little connection to sociology and vice versa. Pooley and Katz think that at least Britain is different in this respect because the institutionaliziation of mass media research took place within or close to sociology departments. I have a hunch that this is not true for the rest of Europe, or at least for the German speaking parts.

For those who think like me that mass media should be an important topic in  sociology the article provides some hope: “The study of media is thrown into flux every time a major new medium arrives on the scene, and the disruption this time has been creative.” Sociology gets another chance with the web and other new communication and information technologies and will hopefully be taking it.

Pooley, J., & Katz, E. (2008). Further Notes on Why American Sociology Abandoned Mass Communication Research. Journal of Communication, 58(4), 767-786. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2008.00413.x. 

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Entry filed under: Mass media, Sociology. Tags: , , .

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