In This Article International Communications

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Academic Centers
  • Conferences
  • International Organizations
  • Journals and Blogs
  • Nongovernmental Organizations
  • Regulators
  • Data Sources
  • History
  • Theory
  • Broadband, Mobility, and Networking
  • The Cloud
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy
  • Freedom, Democracy, and Human Rights
  • Development and the Digital Divide
  • Intellectual Property and the Commons
  • The Internet and the Web
  • Global Media
  • Policy and Regulation
  • Governance and Institutions

Communication International Communications
Jonathan D. Aronson
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 June 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0066


International communications is an impossibly broad, interdisciplinary topic. To master communications, experts must have at least some knowledge of engineering, computer science, politics, economics, sociology, anthropology, business, law, and public policy plus in-depth expertise on two or three of these topics. To master international communications, experts need the same wide-ranging knowledge for several countries or regions. Tackling this topic requires choices on what to include and what to exclude. Most of the citations annotated here come from a political economy perspective, with a strong historical, theoretical, policy, and governance flavor. These articles focus on information and communication technologies in terms of content that flows across borders, infrastructure and networks that span continents, and software that ties everything together plus their consequences, regulation, and governance. Also included are issue-based sections, each of which contains seven or eight important items to introduce readers to key issues. These are (1) broadband, mobility, and networking (but not net neutrality); (2) the Cloud; (3) cybersecurity and privacy (but not cyberwar or cyberterrorism); (4) freedom, democracy, and human rights; (5) development and the digital divide; (6) intellectual property and the Commons; (7) the Internet and the web; and (8) global media. Academic centers, conferences, international organizations, journals and blogs, nongovernmental organizations, regulators, and data sources that deal with important aspects of international communications are also noted. Web links are provided when available to allow readers to find and often download the books and articles cited here. This bibliography does not attempt to cover intercultural, interpersonal, or mass communications and intentionally has little information about dealing with media and comparative media systems. International public relations and corporate communications are also excluded. Further, this bibliography does not focus on commercial or technical issues related to international communications, such as standard setting, spectrum allocation, and satellite communications. Finally, national and comparative communications studies are not included here, with rare exceptions. This bibliography was prepared with the assistance of Tamara Baumann, Stacey Goldstein, Mark Goodnight, Alex Laverty, David McDougall, Soumya Nath, Teruhiko Sato, Vanessa Valdivia, and Tina Zeng.

General Overviews

General overviews relevant to international communications include the following sources. The classic works by Schiller 1992 and Innis 2007 explore the role of communications media in the formation of empire. McPhail 2010 provides an overview of international communications, and Hanson 2008 summarizes the information revolution and globalization in the context of world politics. The Castells 2000–2004 trilogy covers the transformation of the information age that accompanied the rise of networks and the changing relationship between communication and power. Global media is not stressed in this compendium, but a basic overview of key issues can be found in the following references. Herman and McChesney 1997 is a basic text on global media. Winseck and Park 2007 reviews “global media” history between 1860 and 1930. Chapman 2005 covers comparative media history. Taylor 1997 traces the increasing involvement of the media in international affairs.

  • Castells, Manuel. 2000–2004. The information age: Economy, society, culture. 2d ed. 3 vols. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

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    Vol. 1, The rise of the network society; Vol. 2, The power of identity; Vol. 3, End of millennium. There are few seminal works on communication and fewer still on international communication. Of these, Castells’ three-volume masterwork soars above the rest. Even a decade after the second editions, his insights about the economic, social, and cultural transformations that unfolded and continue to unfold in the new age of information provide insights on every page. Read The Information Age. Revel in it. Ponder it.

  • Chapman, Jane. 2005. Comparative media history: An introduction: 1789 to the present. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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    In the tradition of Briggs and Burke’s Social History of the Media (3d ed., Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2010), Chapman compares media developments across the centuries and continents to show how today’s international media institutions evolved from past historical traditions. This is a clearly written, excellent textbook for media students.

  • Hanson, Elizabeth C. 2008. The information revolution and world politics. New Millennium Books in International Studies. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    Hanson provides a well-organized, readable, “big picture” textbook that provides an overview of the information revolution and globalization in the context of world politics. It is extremely useful for the relevant courses in both communication science and political science.

  • Herman, Edward S., and Robert Waterman McChesney. 1997. The global media: The new missionaries of corporate capitalism. London: Cassell.

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    This much-cited text is critical of the commercialization of the mass media and its increasingly global nature. The authors sharply criticize corporate claims that the market protects consumers, and they worry about the consequences of a few firms dominating the media and undermining democracy and the working class.

  • Innis, Harold A. 2007. Empire and communication. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

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    Innis surveyed how communications media influenced the rise and fall of empires from ancient times to the mid-20th century, arguing that each media was biased in space or time. Media that emphasize time were durable (parchment, clay, and stone) and often led to decentralization. Less durable media that emphasize space (papyrus and paper) usually favor large, centralized administrations. To endure, empires needed to strike a balance.

  • McPhail, Thomas. 2010. Global communication: Theories, stakeholders, and trends. 3d ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    McPhail provides an overview that serves as a handy textbook focusing on issues, stakeholders, and institutions in international communication. Each addition is updated with new articles. The third edition also contains chapters by Nancy Snow (“Public Diplomacy”), Alex Robertson (“Euromedia”), Lawrence Pintak (“Arab Media and the Al-Jazeera Effect”), and Junhao Hong (“Media Globalization in Asia”).

  • Schiller, Herbert I. 1992. Mass communications and American empire. 2d ed. Boulder, CO: Westview.

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    Originally published in 1969 (New York: A. M. Kelley), Schiller critically examined the structure and policy of US mass communications in relation to their most important economic and political functions. He stressed the private takeover of public space and public institutions at home and US corporate domination of cultural life abroad, especially in the developing nations.

  • Taylor, Philip M. 1997. Global communications, international affairs and the media since 1945. London: Routledge.

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    Taylor shows the increased involvement of the media in issues of peace and especially war since the 19th century. He investigates how communications work within the international arena and how communications interact with foreign policy in practice. Building on evidence from the Gulf War and Vietnam, Taylor discusses current problems of reporting within a comprehensive historical context.

  • Winseck, Dwayne R., and Robert M. Park. 2007. Communication and empire: Media, markets, and globalization, 1860–1930. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    The authors examine the rise of the global media between 1860 and 1930. They argue that the empire of capital and global imperialism are not coterminous, specifically that the role of the imperial contest, while significant, has been exaggerated. They provide analysis of the connections among the development of global communication infrastructure, the creation of national telegraph and wireless systems, and news agencies and the content they provided.

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