chapter  3
Differences that make a difference: The art and science of media and communication research
Pages 20

The field of media and communication research emerged at the crossroads of several disciplines and faculties, which themselves had taken shape over a period of 200 years. In 1798, around the time of the formation of the university as a modern research institution (Fallon, 1980; Rudy, 1984), Immanuel Kant had identified a conflict among its different faculties, arguing that the humanities (the philosophical faculty), not the theological faculty, should provide the foundations for inquiry into natural as well as cultural aspects of reality within the other faculties (Kant, 1992/1798). Around 100 years ago, the social sciences gradually detached themselves from the humanities to produce new forms of knowledge about, and more professionals to administer, increasingly complex modern societies (Murdock, 2002). About 50 years ago, an interdisciplinary field of media and communication research began to take shape in response to the greatly increased role of technologically mediated communication in society, drawing on concepts and methods from both the humanities and the social sciences and, to a degree, the natural sciences. Throughout its brief history, the field has remained a site of conflict among the faculties (on the history of the field, see K. B. Jensen, 2002d; Park and Pooley, 2008).1 Most scholars will agree in principle that apartheid is counterproductive to new knowledge – the difficulty is how, in practice, to avoid imperialism (K. B. Jensen, 1995: 141-45).2