[Loujia Inquiry] Li Lifeng: Development of Cross-Country Comparative Studies in Communication Studies

On the morning of March 30, 2018, the 20thlecture of "China Communication Innovation Forum", which was hosted by the Center for Studies of Media Development of Wuhan University, was held as scheduled. Professor Li Lifeng, Dean of School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, gave a lecture at the School of Journalism and Communication at the invitation of the organizer. By combining his personal experiences of participating in cross-country comparative studies, Professor Li Lifeng shared his views on the value, status quo, and problems of the cross-national comparison of communication studies.

The lecture focused on three aspects: First, he pointed out the important value of comparative research; second, he outlined the status quo of comparative research and the reasons for its development. Third, he used case studies to illustrate the practical operation, direction, and problems of cross-national comparative studies of communications.

Professor Li Lifeng believed that some phenomena are presented differently in different “context”, but it is difficult for social science research to abandon the pursuit of universality. In order to solve the universal problem of theory, research needs to simplify the special “context” into more general concepts. However, the conceptualization of the context has its own advantages and disadvantages. While helping with our research, conceptualization of the context also faces issues such as the selection and simplification of specific situations. The concept covers relatively limited content.

Professor Li then briefly reviewed the current situation of comparative studies in the world and found that there is a rapid development in recent years for three reasons: First, knowledge production and academia keep developing, the academic community starts to reflect on de-Westernization, and the research infrastructure such as talents, funding, institutions, keeps improving. Second, universities and institutions around the world attach great importance to internationalization. International cooperation is emphasized on the level of education, research, institution and individual; three, the factor of globalization and technological development also play a big role.

Prof. Li Lifeng concluded that in the age of globalization, the global village did not appear, and the international TV news in various countries/regions appears to take on a look of regionalism. (He Xinli)

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