What is it about?

In this essay I argue that we can begin an interdisciplinary conversation by acknowledging the contributions political communication can make to social movement studies (and visa versa) as well as critically assessing how each discipline can productively contribute to the other. Social movement scholarship, for instance, can contribute key definitions and specifications to core concepts such as activism to political communication research. Communication scholarship can provide movement scholars a methodological toolkit that will help them better understand (and study) audiences, particularly how audiences understand movement messages. I conclude the essay by arguing that increased interdisciplinary engagement will grow the impact of both fields on public discourse and policy processes. An unwillingness to think across disciplinary boundaries, however, threatens to transform us into the worst version of our academic selves – close minded intellectuals unwilling (or unable) to change with the times.

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Why is it important?

Scholars need to engage in better interdisciplinary work. This paper offers some suggestions on how.

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This page is a summary of: Symposium on political communication and social movements: ships passing in the night, Information Communication & Society, January 2019, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/1369118x.2019.1568514.
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