Rethinking Media Research in Africa

  • Tanja Bosch


This chapter reflects historically on the field of media and communication theory in Africa, paying specific attention to the evolution of the field in local contexts and arguing against the imagined binary between the empirical and the interpretive in approaches to research methodologies. The chapter explores the intersections of communication studies, mass communication and media studies, and suggests that we rethink media research in an African context, given Mitchell and Hanson’s (2010) call to consider media as a “prosthesis of human agency”, highlighting the social and cultural agency of media research. In particular, the chapter argues that media studies on the continent has the potential to be more than just a spin-off from English departments’ literary studies approaches (as has been argued by Tomaselli & Tomaselli, 2007 in the case of South Africa); or an amorphous loosely associated set of approaches versus a unified field (Mitchell & Hansen, 2010). Instead, media studies, the chapter argues, is a hybrid, interdisciplinary and dynamic field where humanities, social science and potentially other disciplines such as computer science come together.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Bosch
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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