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Book

1 Introduction and Overview

Denis McQuail

Communications and media as a field of research in Europe scarcely predates the Second World War, apart from the case of Germany where a press science ( Zeitungswissenschaft ) was quite well established in some German universities. Much of this work was historical or practical, but theory about the links between the press and society had also been developed by German sociologists (Hardt, 2003). For understandable reasons, this tradition did not have much influence on post-war development although a number of those engaged in the study of mass media and society were part of the 1930s’ diaspora, mainly to the United States (Averbeck, 2001), giving rise to an indirect effect. Early French sociologists, notably Gabriel Tarde, had attached great importance to the press and other means of publicity as influences on collective behaviour, the formation of opinion and the transmission to modernity. Pre-Second World War and immediate postwar British sociology, ...

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