IJoC Publishes Special Section on Communication Activism Research


IJoC Publishes Special Section on Communication Activism Research

Despite calls within the communication discipline (and others) for engaged research that makes unjust social systems and practices more just, communication researchers largely have not produced such scholarship. Indeed, engaged communication research frequently avoids social justice, critiques without changing social injustices, or benefits powerful corporate and political interests that maintain injustices.

Communication activism research (CAR) offers a new form of engaged scholarship that involves communication scholars using their theories, methods, and applied practices to work with oppressed communities and activist groups to intervene into unjust discourses and material conditions to make them more just, and documenting their efforts. CAR, thus, involves communication researchers intervening and acting collectively with marginalized communities and activists groups to secure social justice.

This Special Section on Communication Activism Research examines and debates this engaged communication research approach. Guest-editors Kevin M. Carragee and Lawrence R. Frey first explain CAR and how it differs from other engaged scholarship, and then discuss challenges confronting CAR. Three prominent scholars then evaluate CAR critically from communication traditions that emphasize engaged research: J. Kevin Barge (applied communication), Robert W. McChesney (media research) and Michelle Rodino-Colocino (critical-cultural studies). This Special Section concludes with Frey and Carragee’s response to these essays.

Collectively, these essays in the International Journal of Communication offer an informed debate about how this new form of engaged communication research can be employed, including by engaged scholars working from other communication research traditions, to change systemic injustices.

We invite you to read these articles on communication activism research that were published August 15, 2016.  Ctrl + click on the title for access.

Communication Activism Research: Engaged Communication Scholarship for Social Justice — Introduction
Kevin M. Carragee, Lawrence R. Frey

Crossing Boundaries between Communication Activism Research and Applied Communication Research Discourses
Kevin Barge

Missing in Action: Engaged U.S. Communication Research in the Context of Democratic Decline and the Digital Revolution
Robert W. McChesney

Critical-Cultural Communication Activism Research Calls for Academic Solidarity
Michelle Rodino-Colocino

Seizing the Social Justice Opportunity: Communication Activism Research at a Politically Critical Juncture — Epilogue
Lawrence R. Frey, Kevin M. Carragee