R U Global—Resources for World Leaders: International Communication: A Reader

International Communication: A Reader, by Daya Kishan Thussu.
New York: Routledge, 2010.

Reviewed by Sara Baron, Dean of the University Library

Communication is no longer bound by geography, medium, or even language. The globalization of media, the rise of information industries, and the internationalization of higher education have propelled the study of communication into a worldwide context. This reader, compiled by University of Westminster (London) professor Daya Kishan Thussu, offers a comprehensive examination of contemporary scholarship and policy related to global communication. The book is divided into six sections covering the following topics: infrastructure for international communication, theoretical terrains, global media systems, dominant and alternative discourses, communication and power, and cultures of global communication.

The first section covers the infrastructure that supports and transmits transnational communication, namely satellites, the network society, and global media policy. Sociological and communication theories discussed in the second section include modernization, post-colonialism, development theory, and digitization. Global production and distribution of media, from both macro and micro perspectives, are reviewed in the systems chapter.

Discourses related to international communication, covered in section four, include cultural imperialism, cultural proximity and media, identity representation on the Internet, and alternative media forms. Section five deals with communication and power in an international context as they relate to mass media, propaganda, and political and economic persuasion. The last section discusses the influence of culture on communication, particularly the social construction of meaning, ethnoscapes, diasporic media, global media consumption, and the “new digital media ecology.”

Policy documents affecting international communication include reports from UNESCO, the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, Google, and the U.S. Department of State.

The editor argues that International Communication “will contribute to the understanding of the impact of the globalization of media and communication on research and teaching in the field” and will inform anyone interested in culture, communication, and media. First published in July 2009, the book has garnered glowing reviews, including the following endorsement from Cees Hamelink, Professor Emeritus of International Communication at the University of Amsterdam: “As the field of communication studies expands and internationalizes, there is a growing need of global resource material. Daya Thussu has brought such material together in a reader that will prove invaluable for teaching on the political, economic, cultural and technological dimensions of global communication. Not only a ‘must read’ but also a ‘must use’. Highly recommended!”