Feminist research is inherently linked to action, since it integrates scholarship with activism and seeks a fundamental social change. As such, it studies communciation processes as action-oriented on two complimentary levels: (a) action within – the perpsective of meanings created as a result of active negotiations with texts by specifically socially-situated audiences; and (b) social action – the perspective that understandings of human communication should be applied for the improvement of social life. Such a perspective emphasizes subjectivity as the central form of knowledge-making and studying, it encourages reserachers' reflexivity upon their personal, social and political positioning, it prioritizes interdisciplinary and multidimensional cooperation, it encourages non-hiereachical and empowering researcher-researchee relationships, and redefines a host of ethical research-related issues. The result is a series of challenges to normative assumptions about conducting and presenting science, and about the value of social knowledge and its emancipatory implications. A variety of case-studies applying feminist perspectives to communication research will be presented to illustrate these issues from the areas of news, advertising, children's culture, media texts and construction of gender identities, and the use of new technologies. The implications of the feminist approach to the redifinition of communication studies, and its possible contribution to bridging theory and practice, research and social change, academy and everyday life, will be highlighted.
© Walter de Gruyter