chapter  17
The Future of Communication
Pages 12

Since its academic introduction in the form of propaganda studies after World War I, social scientific approaches to communication have struggled but been able to maintain scholastic and practical relevance, all the while suffering from identity crises (e.g., Gonzalez, 1988; Peters, 1986, 1988), concerns over our legitimacy (Frey, 2009; Seeger, 2009), and occasional hand-wringing about the very interdisciplinary nature of our work (Herbst, 2008; Scott, 2009). In con - sidering the future of communication as social science, it is perhaps wise to first consider some of these historical and ongoing concerns as a means of providing a direction for the future. After all, an understanding of these historical concerns would aid the discipline to move forward in self-aware and productive ways. Thus, in this chapter we will discuss communication’s interdisciplinary nature, consider the debate over communication’s credibility, consider its external impact, and reflect on how theory and technological adaptation may coalesce as distinct but interdependent ideas. We will then conclude with considerations for the future direction of communication scholarship.