International communication, ethnography, and the challenge of globalization

Patrick D. Murphy*, Marwan M. Kraidy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This article articulates media ethnography with international communication theory in the context of globalization. It explores the history and regional trajectories of media ethnography, as well as anthropology's epistemological and political issues of representation that have become relevant to media studies. The authors argue that rethinking the limits and potential of media ethnography to address cultural consumption also necessarily involves considering how ethnography can serve to engender a vision of international communication theory grounded in the practices of everyday life. This reformulation is crucial at a time when some media scholars celebrate difference via microassessments of postcolonial locales and the plurality of cultures without attempting to consider global structural concerns. In fact, the authors argue, if media ethnographies are rigorously developed, they can offer international communication theory the material to bridge the gap between meaning and structure without losing site of the complexity, context, and power imbalances inherent in processes of globalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-323
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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