Communication Research in An Era of Recession: Reflections from China

Jack Linchuan Qiu: The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Are we prepared, theoretically and methodologically, to study communication in an era of global economic recession? The answer is no. Why is this the case? One crucial reason, as I shall contend, is because communication scholars in the past two decades have paid insufficient attention to social class, defined not only in the classic Marxian sense but also with new characteristics of the global network society.

We have invested too much in communication research in an era of prosperity. Its limitations have been exposed by the economic crisis, whose long-term effect on communication studies has only begun to be seen. We need communication research in an era of recession, which arguably shall be a hallmark of communication studies in the twenty-first century.

Drawing on recent trends in China's media industry, communication discipline, and grassroots cultural patterns, I shall discuss the key conceptual and empirical issues for the development of "communication research in an era of recession" under the theoretical framework of working-class network society. These shall include such crucial factors as information and communication technologies (ICTs), material and immaterial labour, citizen journalism, commercialization, and globalization. Besides the uniqueness of China, more emphasis shall be put on the universality of the Chinese experience, its generalizable lessons and global implications.


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