Department of Communication, UCB 270
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0270
Office: 84 Hellems
Fall Semester: On sabbatical
My teaching and research interests are interdisciplinary, and span five areas. While these areas are diverse, I typically combine them in specific projects, seeking to develop innovative questions, research strategies, and theoretical arguments.
1) Security and Communication: How can communicative explanations help us to better understand security-related phenomena? I have recently turned to the field of Security Studies after 25 years of researching nuclear weapons communication. Those projects have examined nuclear weapons as a site of struggle in the Cold War and post-Cold War eras over both official policy and cultural memory. I'm particularly interested in security-related projects adopting communication-friendly perspectives such as public argument, discourse analysis, strategic communication, rhetorical criticism, and critical-cultural communication studies. I am currently working with a team of co-authors on an essay reviewing this literature, and individually on a series of projects cultivating the theoretical tradition of mimesis for critical-cultural studies of security-related communication and media.
2) Organizational Culture and Symbolism: How does communication work to create, maintain, and transform the "cultural" dimensions of organizational life? Here, I am interested in four diimensions of organizational communication: (a) the distinctive norms, values, and beliefs that are shared by organizational members; (b) the material forms (artifacts) they develop which embody these ideas; (c) the communicative practices which express their experience of work life; and finally, (d) their ongoing sense-making of these artifacts and practices, which produces both shared meaning and coordinated interaction. Theoretically, I am interested in responding to recent criticisms of this tradition, and cultivating its continued viability. I am also interested in critiquing media representations of organizational communication as normative pedagogy for participation in postindustrial and neoliberal society.
3) Qualitative Research Methods: What are the key assumptions which underlie our use of methods such as participant observation, interviewing, discourse analysis, and artifact analysis? How can these methods best serve the development of communication theory? What are the best practices associated with collecting and analyzing qualitative data in communication research? Thomas Lindlof and I have explored these and other questions in our leading textbook series, Qualitative Communication Research Methods (Sage; 4th edition planned for release in 2016). Currently, I am interested in the globalization of qualitative communication research methods. I have partnered with Romanian colleagues on the faculty of Communication and Public Relations, at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (Bucharest). We are studying the multi-generational assimilation of qualitative methods among Romanian communication scholars to understand how the forces of disciplinary identity, national cultures of higher education, and methodological tradition interact to create distinctive communication research programs.
4) Critical and Cultural Communication Studies. How do ideologies shape the identities of cultural members, and orient them to preferred forms of relationship and community? How do media texts and systems contribute to the circulation of meanings which maintain historical relations of power within and between groups? How might these relations be transformed? These questions exemplify the commitments of this perspective, and I am principally interested in using post-structuralist and postmodernist theory to examine the ongoing, discursive productions of subjectivity, embodiment, affect, and place.
5) Technology Studies. How do political-economy and globalization shape the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)? How do humans utilize ICT to develop shared meanings with each other? How do those shared meanings implicate the ongoing cultivation of identities, relationships and communities in contemporary culture? How is contemporary ICT influencing popular understanding of key concepts such as time, space, the body, gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality? I am particularly interested in applying critical and cultural theories to study the ethics and politics of security technologies. I am particularly interested in projects seeking to create a more just and accountable national security apparatus, and to cultivate informed, reflective and passionate forms citizenship required for democratic deliberation surrounding the development of security technology.