April  2021 56
傳播論壇Communication Forum
For a Comparative Communication Perspective: Reflections on the Localization and Innovation of Media Studies in Chinese Societies
作者 陳韜文
Author Joseph M. CHAN
關鍵詞 理論概念創新、比較傳播、比較研究方法、中華傳播、傳播學本土化
Keywords conceptual innovation, theoretical innovation, comparative communication research, comparative research methods, localization of communication studies, Chinese communication studies
摘要 本文首先以理論創新為出發點,說明何謂比較傳播研究視角及其在知識論上優勝之處。此外,本文也探討當今傳播學轉向比較研究的趨勢,並以中華傳播中實際的研究成果說明比較研究的可觀性及可行性。傳播學的理論概念經數十年而少變,可算貧乏。理論概念的創新就是改變這現象最直接的方法。比較是理論概念創新的必要過程,是研究方法中的最基本的步驟,可以用在概念化、提問、假設、理論、研究重要性發掘等各個研究環節。這裡所說的比較傳播視角,並非單指兩個或以上社會系統的正規比較研究,也包括單一系統研究中的不成文比較思維。無論是為了理論概念的創新,或是為了檢測理論概念的適用性,又或為了找出社會脈絡或社會系統因素對傳播的影響,比較研究都是富有成效的選擇。
Abstract This article seeks to explicate the comparative communication perspective with special reference to conceptual and theoretical innovations. While its epistemological strengths are highlighted, the article also examines what appears to be a “comparative turn” in communication studies. It illustrates the desirability and feasibility of comparative communication studies by drawing on various research projects done in Chinese societies. Communication studies have been criticized for its relative lack of concepts and theories. The best answer to this criticism is to innovate in conceptualization and theorization by adopting the comparative communication perspective. Comparison, a key component of conceptual and theoretical innovation, is applicable to every aspect of the research process, including conceptualization, research question formulation, hypothesizing, theorization, and the articulation of research significance. The perspective assumes that all communication phenomena are results of social contingencies. Comparisons can be formal and explicit. They can also be informal and implicit, meaning that the researchers can think comparatively, engaging in thought experiments, asking how the phenomenon in question may vary as the social context changes over time or space. The comparative perspective requires the contingencies giving rise to a communication phenomenon to be problematized and spelt out. It enables us to have a better understanding of the generalities and specifications of media theories and to have better knowledge of how variables at the systemic level can impinge upon communication behavior at other levels.



Citation of this article:

Chan, J. (2021). For a comparative communication perspective: Reflections on the localization and innovation of media studies in Chinese societies. Communication and Society, 56, 225–250.
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