Remembering Denis McQuail

Denis McQuail with Helena Sousa, coordinator of the session

Special Session

Denis McQuail was a truly foundational figure in our field. His intellectual leadership across a range of institutions and organisations helped to establish media and communications as an essential field of both scholarly inquiry and policy debate. As a writer his panoramic grasp of relevant research and argument and his unrivalled ability to summarise and clarify key debates, ensued that his text, Mass Communication Theory, rapidly became the go-to source for generations of students wanting a comprehensive and open-minded introduction to core questions. As a teacher, mentor and colleague he was unstintingly generous with his time, support and encouragement. And with those lucky enough to spend time in his company socially he was endlessly welcoming, witty and convivial.

He was for many years active in IAMCR and despite his declining health was able to attend the opening of the conference in Leicester in 2016 and meet old friends. But all of us now working in media and communications research owe Denis a huge debt of gratitude for the legacies he has left us.

Denis passed away last June. During this special session we will formally acknowledge and celebrate his scholarly work, his notable character, and his enduring contribution to establishing media and communications research as in indispensable contribution to understanding contemporary life and change.

Speakers:

  • Helena Sousa, University of Minho, "Denis McQuail: Defining the field of media and communications research"
  • Janet Wasko, University of Oregon, "Across the Pond: Denis McQuail in North America"
  • Kaarle Nordenstreng, University of Tampere, "News and journalism: still central in the middle of all theorizing"
  • Graham Murdock, Loughborough University, "Media and Contemporary Life: Questions of Ethics and Responsibility"
  • Johannes Bardoel, ASCoR/University of Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen, "Denis McQuail in Amsterdam and the Atlantic turn in Communication Science"
Photo by Luís Antonio Santos. Denis with Helena Sousa at the 2010 IAMCR conference in Braga, Portugal