With its aim to train the next generation of civic, social, and business leaders, the department’s research and teaching focus on five interrelated areas: Health Communication, Organizational Communication, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Media, Culture, and Identity, and Communication, Politics, and Policy. The image above includes just a small selection of the scholarship in these fields published by A&M faculty members. By using humanistic and social scientific approaches, faculty and students cultivate links between and across these research areas, which generate new and innovative ways to combine theory and practice. Whether it is developing best practices to deliver health information, analyzing and managing an organization’s public image, exploring and engaging in issues of citizenship, power, politics, and the pubic sphere, or researching global media and technological trends, the unique combination of research areas allows A&M’s Communication department to meet the academic and business challenges of the 21st century.
HEALTH COMMUNICATION: Health Communication researchers employ a diverse set of theoretical and methodological approaches to examine the role of communication and media in relation to the health and well being of individuals, families, and communities. Our contexts of study include public health, clinical settings, families, health care organizations, and community organizations. Topics of research include clinician-patient communication and health outcomes, health-related decision making in families, culture and health, social media and well-being, persuasive public health campaigns, and the impact of social and professional changes on communication within health care organizations.
ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION: Organizational Communication faculty study the role of communication in organizing processes and practices within and between organizations, stakeholder groups, and institutions and how these processes and practices enable organizations and publics to manage relationships, conflicts, and power. Faculty research focuses on how communication processes such as structuring, sense-making, advocacy, and collaboration shape the ways organizations and publics are organized in corporate, non-profit, and community contexts. Organizational communication scholars employ a variety of quantitative, critical/interpretive, and rhetorical methods to generate useful knowledge for organizations, publics, and institutions. Engaged communication scholarship represents an important mode of inquiry by providing one avenue for integrating theory and practice to address ethical, social, and civic problems within and between these organizations and publics and to create the potential for social change.
RHETORIC AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Scholars in this area are rooted in humanistic traditions and focus on how public discourse shapes and is shaped by choices confronting the public, ways in which texts and cultural practices of communication constitute identities and sustain democratic forms of citizen participation, and the interwoven fabric of power, politics, and speech-making in American society. Research in the program includes classical, contemporary, and critical rhetorical theory; rhetorical history and the criticism of American public address; feminism and the intersectional analysis of race, class, and gender; the presidency; social movements; contemporary political campaigns; policy and media; visual rhetoric, materialism, and monuments; and freedom of expression.
MEDIA, CULTURE, AND IDENTITY: Scholars in Media, Culture, and Identity explore the role of traditional and emerging media within and across historical, cultural, global, and international contexts. They use diverse approaches to study how media and technology influence culture and identity at the individual and societal levels. They examine how culture, communication, and identity (such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, religion, place, and social class) influence and are shaped by media and technology content, uses, practices, and effects. Faculty research topics such as media technologies, popular communication, media representations, digital cultures, intercultural communication, global media, mobile communication, media processes and effects, journalistic practices, entertainment media, media activism, and media literacy as these are constitutive of the power relations and processes of social change. Scholars studying and teaching in this area employ a variety of theoretical (such as feminist, critical, cultural, behavioral, and social psychological) and methodological (such as ethnographic, content analytical, interpretive, textual analytical, case study, survey, and experimental) approaches.
COMMUNICATION, POLITICS, AND POLICY: Scholars in Communication, Politics, and Policy explore the interactions among media organizations, technology, production, content, distribution, uses, systems, and ecologies within and across political, legal, cultural, social, economic, and geographic contexts and as they affect individuals, organizations, communities, and governments. Faculty research examines the ways in which law and policy shape the environments within which all communication takes place; the co-construction of law, society, and technology; interactions between political actors and journalists; media effects on political attitudes and behaviors; interactions between technological innovations and use; and the role of communication technologies in politics. Using a variety of theoretical, conceptual, and methodological approaches, they study historical and contemporary political communication as well as the politics, political economy, and law- and policy-making for and of all communication.