IAMCR on the East-West Battlefield: A Study on the GDR’s Attempts to Use the Association for Diplomatic Purposes

Michael Meyen


This article contributes to the Cold War history of the field of communication in general and international communication associations in particular. Based on Bourdieu’s sociology and using files from Leipzig’s University Archive and the Berlin Federal Archives, the present study shows how the German Democratic Republic (GDR) used the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) as a tool in the country’s fight for international recognition. The communists in East Berlin tried to influence both the association’s program, including the respective publications, as well as its leadership recruitment. Despite the limited success of these efforts, this episode changed the field’s structures. Since IAMCR was hampered by political fights, the International Communication Association (ICA) was able to embark on its procession to become the world’s leading scholarly communication association. 


History of Communication Research; Associations; Bourdieu

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