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This book is a philosophical introduction to the field of communication and media studies. In search of the philosophical backgrounds of that relatively young field, the book explores why this overwhelmingly popular discipline is in crisis. The book discusses classic introductions on communication, provides an update on lessons learned, and re-evaluates the work of pioneers in the light of up-to-date philosophical standards. It summarizes various debates surrounding the foundations of system theory and especially its applicability to the Social Sciences in general and to Communication Studies in particular.
Communication schools promise their students an understanding of the source of a principal and dynamical power in their lives, a power shaping societies and identities, molding aspirations, and deciding their fates. They also promise students a practical benefit, a chance to learn the secret of controlling that dynamical power, improving a set of skills that would ensure them a critical edge in the future job market: become better media experts for all media. Yet no one seems to know how such promises are met. Can there be a general theory of communication? If not, what can (should) communication students learn? This book looks at the problem from a philosophical perspective and proposes a framework wherein critical cases can be tested.