The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies examines the theories, practices, and future of this fast-growing field. Editor John Downing and associate editors Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger, and Ellen Wartella have brought together a team of international contributors to provide a varied critical analysis of this intensely interesting field of study. The Handbook offers a comprehensive review within five interconnected areas: humanistic and social scientific approaches; global and comparative perspectives; the relation of media to economy and power; media users; and elements in the media mosaic ranging from popular music to digital technologies, from media ethics to advertising, and from Hollywood and Bollywood to alternative media.
Chapter 1: Overview of the Handbook
Overview of the Handbook
Identifying the Field
The field of communication and media studies is far from unique in having uncertain boundaries, a mixed history, and an unclear future path of development. In putting together this volume, the editors have implicitly presented a certain view of the field, based on their own judgments of significance and relevance. This introduction is not a collective effort but the view of one editor, describing and reflecting on the various strands and components that contribute to the story but that may be combined in different ways and with different degrees of emphasis. This is at least consistent with a central tenet of communication theory—namely, that there can be no unique or fixed version of any supposed reality.