When Communication Became a Discipline argues that speech and journalism professors embraced the concept of communication between 1964 and 1982. They changed the names of their scholarly societies and journals and revised their academic curricula. Five “strands” of scholarship became and remain central to this transformation. Communication is not a traditional academic discipline, but its scholars convinced their colleagues to understand and embrace it. When Communication Became a Discipline presents an argument with historical evidence that illustrates scholarly creativity at its finest.
William F. Eadie is professor emeritus of journalism and media studies and director of the School of Communication at San Diego State University.
Table of Contents
Chapter 9 After 1982: Communication’s Development as a Discipline
"An important mark of the maturing of a discipline is the maturing of its history, its sense of self. William F. Eadie’s When Communication Became a Discipline marks this stage of maturity, and is an important volume for that reason. This book examines a key turn of several decades’ making when today’s discipline of communication began to form the identity it has now. Scholars in communication, of course, but also in English and in journalism will find this volume essential for getting our bearings with the rest of the academy."
"In this wide-ranging and well-documented book, Bill Eadie provides a remarkable resource for students, teachers, and scholars. Suitable as a primary or supplemental text for a myriad of courses, this book offers concise, readable, and detailed introductions to the discipline and its organizations, an overview of its sub-fields, and summaries of key articles in each area. Although Eadie’s thesis about the emergence of the discipline is well-argued, the book’s primary value may be the breadth of its discussions and its extensive bibliographies. Only a determined non-specialist (explained in the book) could undertake and complete such a comprehensive survey."
"Is communication a distinct discipline, an interdisciplinary amalgam of ideas and methods, or fashionably post-disciplinary? Eadie offers a remarkable perspective on these questions. With a career spanning 50 years, including service in the office of the National Communication Association and as director of a school of communication that encompassed all aspects of communication, media, and journalism, Eadie is the right scholar at the right time to summarize the communication stories of the past, help us make sense of the current strands of conversations about communication, and offer a vision for the future. Reading this book is like taking a flight over the disciplinary history of communication at 35,000 feet—new vistas unfold and insightful patterns emerge. This important book is a must-read for students, scholars, educators, and practitioners who claim the communication discipline as part of their own story."
"While some may continue to debate the disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or post-disciplinary status of communication studies, When Communication Became a Discipline argues cogently, with historical evidence, that our field emerged as a discipline in the period between 1964 and 1982, when speech and journalism scholars transformed and renamed their departments, journals, and professional organizations under the culturally resonant symbol of ‘communication.’ The author, William F. Eadie, who later worked to consolidate and promote the new discipline as an association executive, editor, and administrator, brings personal commitment and an insider’s knowledge to the topic."
"When Communication Became a Discipline offers an origin story that celebrates our past endeavors for legitimacy amongst disciplines and our distinctive and varied contributions to understanding human behavior. Eadie deftly weaves together many different scholarly streams and pivotal points in disciplinary and association growth. In documenting highly controversial events, he grapples with the politicized nature of discipline-building and change. Throughout, individual scholars and communities struggle to be heard and built into the canon and association structures. Readers can’t help but feel as though some of our exciting current contestations are poised to re-story and situate our discipline even more prominently in local and global transformation."
"This is a must-read for all who study communication. When Communication Became a Discipline presents a cogent argument that the field of speech has matured into the discipline of communication. Eadie’s narrative is always informative and is uplifting when it describes how areas of study that sometimes appear divergent have in common a focus on the process, efficacy, and influence of human symbolic interaction. If there is a fault in the book, it is that Professor Eadie humbly omits his many contributions to the building of the discipline and its promotion of it among other learned and disciplinary societies."
"The academic study of communication has ancient roots and has produced scholarship, teaching, and practice since early in the twentieth century. We have strived and sometimes struggled to understand ourselves as a discipline. In fact, our largest national association has had five different names since its founding in 2014! William F. Eadie offers an argument for the development of communication as a discipline between 1964 and 1982, with discipline status following. Eadie traces the strands of this inherently multidisciplinary study, creating a must-read for scholars, students, and administrators of communication programs and for those interested in the study of this most centrally human process as we communicate and co-create selves, relationships, groups, communities, and cultures."
"If the anthropologist Edward T. Hall is correct—that identity is not so much about being, as it is about becoming—then Eadie’s book illuminates well the disciplinary identity of 'communication.' The book traces five historical strands of communication scholarship, weaving the fabric of a vibrant and changing discipline. The concluding chapter offers its own tour-de-force performance of the 'becoming' of the communication discipline."
"The communication discipline has long needed When Communication Became a Discipline. Thankfully, Eadie has done the work and written it. Primarily concentrating on 1964 to 1982, he recounts of how both journalism and speech forged the field and charts how the field’s three primary professional organizations (NCA, ICA, and AEJMC) adapted to changing intellectual and social currents. Fans of communication, like me, will devour and delight in this book."