The IAMCR Story

In this section on the IAMCR, we publish both a brief history of the association and four very personal views on it delivered by leading scholars who made IAMCR happen, at least in part: Kaarle Nordenstreng, Yassen Zassoursky, Jan Servaes, and Janet Wasko.

As a platform dedicated to the history of the academic field of communication studies, BLexKom is mainly focused on the German-speaking countries. In addition to both biographical encyclopedia entries and articles or essays on the field’s development in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, we also publish interviews with contemporary witnesses. Altogether, this material should be a starting point for future historians. To put it differently, BLexKom doesn’t provide the one and only history of communication studies but tools to write a history of this academic field.

This section on the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) has the very same objective. Here, we publish four very personal views on the association delivered by leading scholars who made IAMCR happen, at least in part. Janet Wasko became president in 2012 and was reelected in 2016. As vice presidents, Kaarle Nordenstreng (born in 1941), Yassen Zassursky (1929), and Jan Servaes (1952) were involved in different stages and corners of the association’s development. Whereas Nordenstreng and Zassursky shaped IAMCR during the Cold War years, Servaes, together with Tom Jacobson, first started a working group on participatory communication research and then, rose within the association: “Some nominated me for a vice president position. There were a couple of internal fights. Many primadonnas around. When the votes were counted, Cees Hamelink, who was the chair of the election committee, told me that I got more votes than anybody else. I could have easily become the president if I would have been nominated for it.” Why didn‘t you go for presidency? “I wasn’t that ambitious. As a vice president, I argued that IAMCR should become more visible as a publisher and producer of research. I tried to get funding from Unesco and other sources. I already had experience in that regard.”

To provide a framework for such quotes and in order to get an overview on IAMCR’s path within the field (including the competition with ICA), we republish an essay on the association’s history by Michael Meyen (2016). This essay was taken from the volume The international history of communication study (Simonson/Park 2016) and adapted to BLexKom standards.


  • Michael Meyen: The IAMCR Story: Communication and media research in a global perspective. In: Peter Simonson/David W. Park (Hrsg.): The international history of communication study (pp. 90-106). New York: Routledge 2016.

Recommended Citation Form

Michael Meyen: The IAMCR Story. In: Michael Meyen/Thomas Wiedemann (Hrsg.): Biografisches Lexikon der Kommunikationswissenschaft. Köln: Herbert von Halem 2018. ‎(date of access).