This book covers the key concepts central to understanding recent developments in media and communications studies. Wide-ranging in scope and accessible in style it sets out a useful, clear map of the important theories, methods, and debates.

The entries critically explore the limits of a key concept as much as the traditions that define it. They include clear definitions, are introduced within the wider context of the field and each one is fully cross-referenced, is clearly illustrated with relevant examples, and provides a guide to further reading and an index.

This book is an essential resource for students in media and communications and for those studying sociology, cultural sociology, cultural studies, and sociology of media.



Discourse occurs in two major forms, with consequences for media and communications:

  • its strongly philosophical and theoretical usage by Jürgen Habermas and poststructuralist ‘post-Marxist’ thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe (for the latter especially, it is seen as a replacement for, or revision to, the concepts of ideology and hegemony)
  • the separate but related development of the field of discourse analysis – usually traced to functional linguistics – that has been applied directly to the media.

Poststructuralist versions of the first form given above have had a significant influence within cultural studies approaches to media and communication, most notably in the work of John Fiske. More recently, critical discourse analysis (CDA) has consolidated from the ...

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