Theoretical Perspectives in Media-Communication Research: From Linear to Discursive Models


  • Monica Colombo University of Turin



media communication process, media effects, dialogical models, discursive approach


This paper aims to provide an overview on traditional linear models vs. dialogical and discursive approaches to the study of mass media communication processes. The ways of conceiving the process of media-communication have changed along with the evolution of the theoretical paradigms of psychology and the social sciences. The main limits of these models which were first developed in the area of media studies derive, on the one hand, from the rigid alternating between source and receivers, and, on the other hand, from the lack of integration of the social variables in the conceptualization of the communication process. This paper will show how an increased focus on the interactive aspects of communication leads to the replacement of traditional linear models with more complex models implying a redefining of the concept of communication, as, for example, the dialogical models and the discursive approach. It is in this perspective that the media is seen to have a fundamental role in the processes of constructing/reconstructing reality, and the development of qualitative methodologies is especially needed. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0402261


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Author Biography

Monica Colombo, University of Turin

Monica COLOMBO is a researcher in Social and Community Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Turin (Italy). Her main research interests are: discourse and narration, identity, qualitative research methods.




How to Cite

Colombo, M. (2004). Theoretical Perspectives in Media-Communication Research: From Linear to Discursive Models. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(2).