Historical methods, ranging from research based on interview data and oral history to archival and textual materials, are important tools for understanding media policy. Historical analysis brings into focus larger and longer-term processes and patterns. It reveals power structures that elude more cursory analyses of contemporary policy debates. In doing so, a historical approach to media policy sets up status quo relationships and assumptions as constructs that should be scrutinized and perhaps contested. Such a critical analysis restores policy debates to the public arena where they can be more inclusive and open to reformist impulses. Ideally, all policy scholarship should aim to historicize its subject matter to some degree. With this in mind, this chapter takes a broad approach to historical methods, provides examples, and discusses some of the big picture objectives and questions involved with this kind of research.
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