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Global Media Worlds and China, Vol. 20 - 2013, No. 4

Retrospection, Prospection and the Pursuit of an Integrated Approach for China’s Communication and Journalism Studies

, , pages: 5-16

Transcending a one-dimensional paradigm of globalisation, this article provides a kind of archeological analysis of communication and journalism studies in China. It examines the historical trajectory of the introduction of Western communication theories since the early 1980s, the articulation of Western theories and the initiatives of Chinese intellectuals of the time, and the complex social contexts of a transitional China in which a dominant US-based administrative paradigm has prevailed for decades. As a result of this articulation, communication and journalism studies in current China are widely considered an organic part of the leading paradigm of neoliberalism, and less attention has been paid to seeking alternative paradigms, or at least to rediscovering the distinctiveness of Chinese experience in the global sphere. To point out the limitations of this articulation, the article illustrates the increasing difficulties or misappropriations in using those Western theories to interpret the complex reality of both social and media transformations. A positive relationship between theories and practice prompts social justice and democracy rather than a tendency towards “uneven development” with growing social inequality. Therefore the article contends that China’s communication and journalism studies are standing at another historical crossroads today, compared with the time when Wilbur Schramm made his groundbreaking visit to Beijing in 1982. In pursuit of a reorientation in communication and journalism studies in the future, an integrated approach is suggested.

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