Internationalization Through Americanization: The Expansion of the International Communication Association's Leadership to the World

Thomas Wiedemann, Michael Meyen


Based on Bourdieu’s concepts of sociology, this article explores the International Communication Association’s internationalization effort involving recruiting non-U.S. scholars into top positions. Therefore, it examines both the habitus and the capital of the 26 communication researchers from outside the United States who have been distinguished as ICA presidents and fellows. The study contributes to the discipline’s reflexivity and shows that despite the expansion of ICA’s leadership, the field’s power pole is still a U.S.-centered enterprise. Today, ICA’s international leadership is located in world regions closely linked to the United States and educated at U.S. universities or heavily influenced by North American research traditions, even if it includes a numerous contributions from other associations and alternative approaches. Consequently, this internationalization hardly changed ICA but instead changed the world’s communication field. At least up to a certain extent, new perspectives are perceived at the discipline’s power pole. However, in return, national academic environments in U.S.-affiliated countries became Americanized, especially via ICA fellows serving as role models to get scientific capital. Thus, ICA’s efforts to expand its leadership are assumed to have an unintended effect of conserving the power structures in the field.


internationalization, International Communication Association, Bourdieu

Full Text: