A Theory Map for Media Studies and Mediology

Universes of Discourse, Affiliations, and Prior Methodologies

Traditions in the Theory Universe:
A map but not genealogical table

Media, Communication, and Information Theory since 1950s

(McLuhan, Goody, Innis, Havelok)

Structuralism and Linguistics since 1960

(de Saussure, Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss, Chomsky)

European-French neo-Marxism and Critical Theory

(Benjamin, Debord, Adorno, Althusser)

European Philosophy, "grand tradition" including hermeneutics

(Hegel, Marx, Husserl, Gadamer, Heidegger)


Sociology of media

(Hall, Fiske)

Semiology/ Semiotics

[signs andl meaning; intertextuality, interpretation]

(de Saussure, Peirce, Lotman, Barthes, Eco)

Received Academic and Professional Disciplinary boundary assumptions (and differences between US and French/ European disciplines)

(US acdemic disciplinary tribes; "human sciences" vs. science and technology)

Modern French philosophical and intellectual traditions


(Sartre, Bergson, Bachelard, Derrida)

US-UK Cultural Studies: cultural analyses of gender, race, class, ethnicity, identities


(Hall, Jameson and followers)

Reception Theory: history of cultural reception, interpretive communities

(Jauss, Iser, Fish, Roger Chartier, etc.)

Post-Structuralism, Discourse Theory, Deconstruction

(Derrida, Foucault, Lacan)

Post-Structuralist Sociology


Anglo-American Philosophy of Language

(Wittgenstein, Austin, Searle)

US feminist and gender studies

Materialist Social History

(Braudel, Foucault)

Media Studies

New Media Studies (post-digital)

Visual Culture Studies

Recent Marxian theory, 1980s-present

(Jameson, Lyotard, Baudrillard, Virilio, French po-mo, Zizek)

US Pragmatism and Critique of Theory

(Rorty, Fish)

Political-Economy and quantitative methodology for the study of media and communications



(Debray and the mediology group in France)

Mediology as a metatheory and point of view for analyzing media and institutions: A method for recombinant theory and practice in media and communication research

Martin Irvine, 2004