by Robin Mansell, President of IAMCR (2004-2008)
The history of IAMCR connects us in many ways to the political, economic and cultural developments in the world over the decades since the Second World War. It brings to life the great narratives of the social sciences and humanities which are the context within which the phenomenal growth of the field of the mass communication research occurred and within which today's field of media and communication research is flourishing. IAMCR's history is an illuminating case of power and international relations -and the difficulties and rewards of international networking in the name of fostering the development of the research in our field.
IAMCR in retrospect sets out the history of our Association in words and pictures. It offers a panoramic view which sparkles with the personalities, agendas, and commitments of so many of those who struggled to maintain the integrity and visibility of IAMCR and its members.
IAMCR's founding conference was held at UNESCO in December 1957 and the official Press Release by UNESCO is included in this booklet. A new research institution, and especially not one that spans all regions of the world, is not created instantaneously. Readers of this booklet will find a fascinating prehistory of IAMCR, inviting us to the first years of UNESCO in the mid-1940s and to the 1948 UN Conference on Freedom of Information where Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted by those who included two future Presidents of IAMCR.
IAMCR in retrospect can only hint at the broader issues that underpinned and galvanized our founders and their colleagues to create IAMCR and then to mentor generations of researchers. A thorough history of IAMCR, both as a manifestation of the field and a catalyst of its promotion, is to be written in the coming years by Cees Hamelink and Kaarle Nordenstreng.
The longest serving President of IAMCR, James D. Halloran, intended to write our history. His declining health unfortunately did not allow him to do so. We are very fortunate that two of his longstanding colleagues -Hamelink and Nordenstreng- have been willing to prepare this short history and a subsequent more detailed account, with Jim Halloran's blessing before his death in May 2007.
IAMCR in retrospect is published by the French organizing committee of IAMCR's 50th Anniversary Conference in 2007 as a contribution to the field of media and communication research.
Professor Robin Mansell
President IAMCR (2004-2008)
London, June 2007
Download IAMCR in Retrospect as a PDF file: IAMCR in Retrospect (4.2 MB)