Challenging the ‘New Descriptivism’ – Rod Benson’s talk from QualPolComm preconference

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“ANT-takedown” via http://installingorder.org/

Qualitative Political Communication Research

Rod Benson (NYU) served as a respondent at our conference on Qualitative Political Communication Research in May at ICA in Seattle.

His response created quite a stir (it has become known in some circles as his “ANT-takedown”) and was clearly aimed at more than the four particular papers on the panel.

We are happy he has agreed to share the text of his talk, posted below. It’s very good, provocative, and we hope it will spur debate.


Rodney Benson

“Challenging the ‘New Descriptivism’: Restoring Explanation, Evaluation, and Theoretical Dialogue to Communication Research.”

Remarks at the Qualitative Political Communication Pre-Conference,

International Communication Association

Seattle, May 22, 2014

Given time constraints, I will cut to the chase. I’ve been asked to stir things up a bit, so I’ll see what I can do.

We’ve just heard two excellent ANT (actor-network theory) papers (Joshua Braun; Burcu Baykurt) and two excellent systems/institutional theory papers…

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