Intellectual poverty and theory building in African mass communication research

M'Bayo, Ritchard Tamba; Sunday, Oloruntola; Amobi, Ifeoma
September 2012
Journal of African Media Studies;Sep2012, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p139
Academic Journal
After years of heated controversy over philosophical orientations among communication researchers, a consensus seems to have emerged that recognizes the value of both the American and Europeans traditions. It was in the wake of the 'ferment' debates among communication scholars in the late 1970s and early 1980s that African communication scholars also started to take stock of their field and take a closer look at their historical and cultural experiences. In trying to situate their own unique perspectives within the study of communication, these scholars lamented the paucity of authentic African theoretical perspectives. All human communication behaviour is grounded in culture. Hence, authentic African communication theories attempt to explain such behaviour from the African cultural context. Over the years, however, African communication researchers engaged more in 'reactive scholarship' than in original theory building and relied largely on Eurocentric theories to explain African realities. Our study seeks to assess what progress has been made towards theory building among African communication scholars, and to determine whether such efforts still remain largely 'reactive', consist-ing mainly of criticisms of Eurocentric models and theories. The data revealed that after 30 years of debate on the ferment in communication research, there is still a gaping hole in African communication research, one that is devoid of authentic African communication theories that reflect the cultural, linguis-tic and social cleavages of the African society.


Related Articles

  • The magnification and minimization of social cleavages by the broadcast and narrowcast news media. Mandelsohn, Matthew; Nadeau, Richard // International Journal of Public Opinion Research;Winter96, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p374 

    This paper provides an empirical test of the argument that the broadcast news media help create a ‘national’ public opinion and mute localized opinion rooted in sociodemographic characteristics. Using Canadian data, we provide evidence that major social cleavages are reduced as...

  • De-Westernizing Communication Theory and Research: An Asiacentric Bibliography. Miike, Yoshitaka // China Media Research;Jul2011, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p111 

    This Asiacentric bibliography builds on the two previous bibliographies of Asian communication theory and research published in China Media Research (Miike & Chen, 2006; Miike, 2009) and lists over 270 publications on the continuity and change of cultural traditions and communication practices...

  • El impacto de la comunidad en las brechas del conocimiento. De Riccitelli, María Teresa Banquerin // Comunicación y Sociedad;jun2007, Vol. 20 Issue 1, p9 

    The inequities involving knowledge among socioeconomic groups have been empirically approached by researchers trying to analyze those differences through the close assessment of individual factors --like motivation as well a relevance of the subject discussed-- and social factors, as the...

  • Aspekte der Medien-Theorie: Welche Funktion haben die Medien in Handlungssystemen? Jensen, Stefan // Zeitschrift für Soziologie;apr1984, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p145 

    The media of interaction are supplementary features of everyday language. They have two functions. First, they serve as (positive or negative) sanctions in the course of interaction - as measures to which one has recourse in order to get results. The best example of a positive sanction is...

  • Dallas prate dell audience. Per ulna rilettura delle pratiche di consumo mediale. Andò, Romana; Marinelli, Alberto // Sociologia del Lavoro;2008, Issue 108, p55 

    This paper proposes the argument the higher the penetration of the media in our daily lives, the more opportunities prevail for the audience. In the style and taste that is recognized by this media. We ca say that with the other components the audience practices (on and off line) for this media...

  • Interacciones entre vida, obra científica y estructuras académicas: el caso de Gerhard Maletzke. Lacasa-Mas, Iván; Meyen, Michael; Löblich, Maria // Communication & Society;04/01/2015, p101 

    This article discusses the work of German communications scientist and sociologist Gerhard Maletzke. The author comments on his work in academia and his theories regarding the development of and relationship between mass media and communication. His research imethodologies in these fields are...

  • Lo específicamente humano en la obra de Manuel Martín Serrano. Ayala, Salvador Corrales // Chasqui (13901079);jun-sep2011, Issue 114/115, p87 

    The article looks into the life and work Manuel Martín Serrano, which the author calls exemplary. Since the publication of his first book, "La mediación social," in 1977, until 2007, when his other book "Teoría de la Comunicación - La comunicación, la vida y la sociedad," came...

  • Elogio del pensar. Constantes y algunas variantes sobre el pensamiento de Antonio Pasquali. Karam Cárdenas, Tanius // Chasqui (13901079);mar2010, Issue 109, p29 

    The article examines the thinking of Venezuelan communicologist Antonio Pasquali on communications. It finds that Pasquali's writing reflects a tendency toward the philosophical essay, that he often takes positions contrary to the status quo, and that his work frequently addresses the interests...

  • Information Gathering. Rubin, Alan M.; Rubin, Rebecca B. // Media Education Assessment Handbook;1997, p189 

    In this chapter we identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that communication students should have for gathering information. We also describe print and electronic sources that students need to access. Students should know what types of sources exist, what sources are most useful, and how...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics