Linguistic Politics: Creating a Communication Canon Post WWII

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Ed McLuskie


What does it mean to communicate and how “best” can this action be accomplished? Perhaps the second part of this question, rather than the first, describes the history of approaches to ideas of communication and their practices. The first “official” textbook providing a window on this history reveals a remarkable consensus on what “communication” and related terms should mean, if not directly in models, then in their assumptions and, especially, their orientations -- both of which grew out of World War II and migrated quickly into the 1950’s. The field of communication was nascent when, in 1954, The Process and Effects of Mass Communication was published as educational content for budding scholars. The relevance of this “first” literature for the social sciences of communication is the variety of linearity growing out of that literature’s veiled militaristic language. This paper looks behind the veil.

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