Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts

A collection of classic and forgotten-but-noteworthy primary texts, biographical sketches of the authors, and four original interpretive essays by the editors. Writes new figures into the history of the field and re-interprets old ones. Also includes a list of historical films from the era related to the subject, and a bibliography. A useful volume for upper-level undergraduate and graduate classes, valuable scholarly aid, and good addition to the bookshelves of anyone interested in the history of thinking about media and communication.

This is an enormously useful collection, not only for students of the history of communications, but for all who are interested in the history of American social thought. It should also help in the important task of putting questions of large scale communication at the center of contemporary debates about the future of democracy.
Craig Calhoun, president of the Social Science Research Council and professor of sociology and history at New York University
This collection of classics is a major step toward the grounding of collective memory for our field.
Elihu Katz, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Includes nearly 70 papers or excepts from important theorists and researchers over a half century period vital to the formation of an academic discipline. A very useful addition to the literature which should open links for new readers to important historical work.
Communication Booknotes Quarterly

List of Contributors

Readings by: Jane Addams, Theodor Adorno, Gordon Allport, Sherwood Anderson, Raymond Bauer, Daniel Bell, Bernard Berelson, Edward Bernays, Herbert Blumer, Warren Breed, Ernest W. Burgess, Hadley Cantril, John Cheever, Charles Horton Cooley, Reuel Denny, John Dewey, George Gallup, George Gerbner, Nathan Glazer, Herta Herzog, Max Horkheimer, Donald Horton, Helen MacGill Hughes, Julian Sorrell Huxley, Harold Innis, Elihu Katz, Ernst Kris, Galdys Engel Lang, Kurt Lang, Harold Dwight Lasswell, Paul F. Lazarsfeld, Alfred McLung Lee, Elizabeth Briant Lee, Daniel Lerner, Walter Lippman, Alain Locke, Leo Lowenthal, Helen M. Lynd, Robert S. Lynd, Dwight Macdonald, Duncan MacDougald, Herbert Marcuse, Thelma McCormack, Marshall McLuhan, Robert K. Merton, Rolf Meyersohn, C. Wright Mills, Newton Minow, Lewis Mumford, Gunnar Myrdal, Robert E. Park, Hortense Powdermaker, Saul Rae, Stuart Rice, David Riesman, John W. Riley, James Rorty, Edward Sapir, David Sarnoff, Herbert Schiller, Wilbur Schramm, Dallas Smythe, Hans Speier, Leila A. Sussmann, Sidney Verba, Norbert Wiener, Malcolm Willey, Louis Wirth, R. Richard Wohl, and Charles Wright.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction: Mass Communication and American Social Thought: Key Texts, 1919-1968

Part I From Hope to Disillusionment: Mass Communication Theory Coalesces, 1919-1933

  1. "The Process of Social Change," from Political Science Quarterly (1897) by Charles Horton Cooley
  2. "The House of Dreams," from The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets (1909) by Jane Addams
  3. From Winesburg, Ohio (1919) by Sherwood Anderson
  4. From Introduction to the Science of Sociology (1921) by Robert Ezra Park and Ernest W. Burgess
  5. "Nature, Communication, and Meaning," from Experience and Nature (1925) by John Dewey
  6. "The Disenchanted Man," from The Phantom Public (1925) by Walter Lippman
  7. "Criteria of Negro Art," from Crisis Magazine (1926) by W.E.B. Du Bois
  8. "The Results of Propaganda," from Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927) by Harold Dwight Lasswell
  9. "Manipulating Public Opinion: The Why and the How" (1928) by Edward L. Bernays
  10. From Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture (1929) by Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd
  11. "Communication," from Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (1931) by Edward Sapir

Part II The World in Turmoil: Communications Research, 1933-1949

  1. "Conclusion," from Movies and Conduct (1933) by Herbert Blumer
  2. "The Integration of Communication," from Communication Agencies and Social Life (1933) by Malcolm M. Willey and Stuart A. Rice
  3. "Toward a Critique of Negro Music," from Opportunity (1934) by Alain Locke
  4. From Technics and Civilization (1934) by Lewis Mumford
  5. "The Business Nobody Knows," from Our Master's Voice (1934) by James Rorty
  6. "The Influence of Radio upon Mental and Social Life," from The Psychology of Radio (1935) by Hadley Cantril and Gordon W. Allport
  7. "Foreword," from Public Opinion Quarterly (1937)
  8. "Human Interest Stories and Democracy," from Public Opinion Quarterly (1937) by Helen MacGill Hughes
  9. From The Fine Art of Propaganda (1939) by Alfred McLung Lee and Elizabeth Briant Lee
  10. "A Powerful, Bold, and Unmeasurable Party?" from The Pulse of Democracy (1940) by George Gallup and Saul Rae
  11. "Democracy in Reverse," from Public Opinion Quarterly (1940) by Robert S. Lynd
  12. "Needed Research in Communication," from the Rockefeller Archives (1940) by Lyman Bryson, et al.
  13. "On Borrowed Experience: An Analysis of Listening to Daytime Sketches," from Studies in Philosophy and Social Science (1941) by Herta Herzog
  14. "Art and Mass Culture," from Studies in Philosophy and Social Science (1941) by Max Horkheimer
  15. "Administrative and Critical Communications Research," from Studies in Philosophy and Social Science (1941) by Paul F. Lazarsfeld
  16. "The Popular Music Industry," from Radio Research 1941 (1942) by Duncan MacDougald, Jr.
  17. From Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno
  18. "Nazi Propaganda and Violence," from German Radio Propaganda (1944) by Ernst Kris and Hans Speier
  19. "Biographies in Popular Magazines," from Radio Research 1942-1943 (1944) by Leo Lowenthal
  20. "The Negro Press," from An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944) by Gunnar Myrdal
  21. "A Social Critique of Radio Music," from the Kenyon Review (1945) by Theodor W. Adorno
  22. "The Social and Cultural Context," from Mass Persuasion (1946) by Robert K. Merton
  23. "The Requirements," from A Free and Responsible Press (1947) by Hutchins Commission
  24. "Mass Media," from UNESCO: Its Philosophy and Purpose (1947) by Julian Sorrell Huxley
  25. "The Enormous Radio," from The Enormous Radio and Other Stories (1947) by John Cheever
  26. "Mass Communication, Popular Taste, and Organized Social Action," from The Communication of Ideas (1948) by Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Robert K. Merton
  27. Table from "Communication Research and the Social Psychologist," from Current Trends in Social Psychology (1948) by Paul F. Lazarsfeld
  28. "Information, Language, and Society," from Cybernetics: Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (1948) by Norbert Wiener
  29. "Consensus and Mass Communication," from American Sociological Review (1948) by Louis Wirth
  30. "What 'Missing the Newspaper' Means," from Communications Research (1949) by Bernard Berelson

Part III The American Dream and Its Discontents: Mass Communication Theory, 1949-1968

  1. "Industrialism and Cultural Values," from The Bias of Communication (1950) by Harold Innis
  2. "Emerging from Magic," from Hollywood: The Dream Factory (1950) by Hortense Powdermaker
  3. "Storytellers as Tutors in technique," from The Lonely Crowd (1950) by David Riesman, with Reuel Denney and Nathan Glazer
  4. "Our Next Frontier. . .Transoceanic TV," from Look (1950) by David Sarnoff
  5. "Communication in the Sovietized State, as Demonstrated in Korea," from Public Opinion Quarterly (1951) by Wilbur Schramm and John W. Riley, Jr.
  6. "The Consumer's Stake in Radio and Television," from Quarterly of Film, Radio and Television (1951) by Dallas Smythe
  7. "The Unique Perspective of Television and Its Effect," from American Sociological Review (1952) by Kurt Lang and Galdys Engel Lang
  8. "Technology and Political Change," from International Journal (1952) by Marshall McLuhan
  9. "A Theory of Mass Culture," from Diogenes (1953) by Dwight Macdonald
  10. "Sight, Sound, and Fury," from Commonweal (1954) by Marshall McLuhan
  11. "Between Media and Mass," from Personal Influence (1955) by Elihu Katz and Paul F. Lazarsfeld
  12. "The Theory of Mass Society: A Critique," from Commentary (1956) by Daniel Bell
  13. "Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction: Observations on Intimacy at a Distance," from Psychiatry (1956) by Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl
  14. "The Mass Society," from The Power Elite (1956) by C. Wright Mills
  15. "FDR and the White House Mail," Public Opinion Quarterly (1956) by Leila A. Sussmann
  16. "Notes on a Natural History of Fads," from American Journal of Sociology (1957) by Rolf Meyersohn and Elihu Katz
  17. "Mass Communication and Socio-cultural Integration," from Social Forces (1958) by Warren Breed
  18. "Modernizing Styles of Life: A Theory," from The Passing of Traditional Society (1958) by Daniel Lerner
  19. "The Social-Anatomy of the Romance-Confession Cover Girl," from Journalism Quarterly (1959) by George Gerbner
  20. "The State of Communication Research," from Public Opinion Quarterly (1959) by Bernard Berelson
  21. "The State of Communication Research: Comments," from Public Opinion Quarterly (1959) by Wilbur Schramm, David Riesman, and Raymond Bauer
  22. "What is Mass Communication?" from Mass Communication: A Sociological Perspective (1959) by Charles R. Wright
  23. "Social Theory and Mass Media," from Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science (1961) by Thelma McCormack
  24. "Television and Public Interest" (1961) by Newton Minow
  25. "The Kennedy Assassination and the Nature of Political Commitment," from The Kennedy Assassination and the American Public (1965) by Sidney Verba
  26. "TV Overseas:The U.S. Hard Sell," from The Nation (1966) by Herbert Schiller
  27. "Aggressiveness in Advanced Industrial Societies," from Negations (1968) by Herbert Marcuse
  1. Afterword and Acknowledgements
  2. Other Readers and Historical Collections in American Mass Communication Study and Related Subjects
  3. Suggested Films
  4. Select Supplementary Reading List
  5. The Intellectual History of North American Media Studies, 1919-1968: A Selected Bibliography