Communication models can have several functions: They can be used as models of reality. Such models can be empirically true or false. Models can be normative, suggesting favored ways of communicating (“public engagement”) or denouncing disliked practices (“deficit model”). Such models carry connotations of “right” or “wrong” in a moral sense. And models can be conceptual, i.e. analytically structuring a certain type of communication situation as an object of inquiry. Such models implicitly or explicitly guide research and are more or less useful in exposing challenging and promising research questions. In this paper I am mainly concerned with conceptual models.
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