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The presence of ALAIC in the Latin American community of Communication Sciences

Margarida M. Krohling Kunsch

The search for an institutional identity

The Latin American Association of Communication Researchers (ALAIC), created in 1978, emerged to bring together Latin American researchers, trying to include Latin America in the world community of communication science researchers. Under the leadership of Antonio Pasquali and Luis Ramiro Beltrán, a group of researchers from different countries decided to found an association that would allow greater institutional representation of the region before the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). ) and the International Association for Social Communication Studies (Aiecs).

In this context, the entity aimed to support research on the democratization of the mass media, the preservation of national cultures and the development of projects aimed at strengthening the proposal for a New World Information and Communication Order (Nomic ). The initial performance of ALAIC, although restricted to a small group of researchers, was intense. One of its most relevant initiatives, for example, was the publication of communication bibliographies produced in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru, which expressed the research and scientific production that had been generated in the field.
The economic problems that devastated the region in the 1980s and the weakening of UNESCO, after the withdrawal of the United States and England from its bosom, resulted in a shortage of resources for projects aimed at Third World countries. , directly affecting the natural growth cycle of ALAIC. The entity was constrained and lost institutional visibility in the face of the academic community of the region.

Reconstruction and new dimensions

In 1988, during the biannual Aiecs conference held in Barcelona, the fragility of individual and institutional representation in the Latin American region was noted. At that time, the need to unleash a process that would bring together Latin American communication scholars became evident. The challenge was to reconstitute ALAIC. And this was done through the scientific entities active in the region, such as the Brazilian Society of Interdisciplinary Communication Studies (Intercom) and the Mexican Association of Communication Researchers (AMIC)
As president of Intercom at that time, I participated, along with other Brazilian and Mexican colleagues, in the reconstruction of the entity, rescuing its original statutes from the documentary collection of the International Center for Higher Communication Studies for Latin America (Ciespal) and participating in the reconstitution assembly. This took place in 1989, on the occasion of the celebration of the XII Brazilian Congress of Communication Sciences (Intercom), in Florianópolis, where the Brazilian professor and researcher José Marques de Melo was elected president.

From then on, ALAIC acquired another dimension. Thanks to a series of activities, it was projected together with the international community. In 1992, he held the First Latin American Congress on Communication Sciences in Guarujá (Brazil). The seed planted at that time germinated and, since then, ALAIC promotes its biennial congresses at universities in different Latin American countries. These events have become a valuable instrument for dialogue between researchers in the region and the configuration of the so-called Latin American School of Communication.


La configuración de la comunidad latinoamericana

The Latin American community

The Latin American community, due to its own entrepreneurial capacity, has managed to overcome infrastructural-institutional and financial difficulties, and generate new knowledge. Due to the peculiarity of his thought and the richness of his scientific production, he could occupy a much more prominent space in the world academic environment. In my opinion, there is a lack of greater self-esteem on the part of the researchers themselves and a better assessment and dissemination of the available literature. A specific case, for example, is the scant use of Brazilian books and newspapers by the region's Hispanic community. This is mainly due to the absence of clearer institutional policies in this direction.

Research groups scattered throughout Latin American countries

There are several research groups scattered throughout Latin American countries. It is difficult to establish in these lines the status of the research of these groups, a task that would require a profound study. Some of these groups stand out for being pioneers in some subject, for their number of postgraduate courses or for their scientific production. There are countries where these are emerging and offer very interesting future prospects; such is the case of Bolivia, where in 1999 the Bolivian Association of Communication Researchers (Aboic) was created.Muchos de los pioneros de la Escuela Latinoamericana de Comunicación, en sus respectivos países, formaron toda una nueva generación que hoy despunta y se amplía. Por otro lado, una parte de aquellos protagonistas fundadores se aisló o abandonó la Academia, como ocurrió, por ejemplo, en Chile. Este hecho demuestra por qué algunos países avanzaron más que otros y hoy tienen grupos de estudio más sólidos.

Brasil se destaca por ser el mayor centro de postgrado de la región y por su significativo número de doctores en comunicación. Por cierto, son muy pocos los cursos de postgrado stricto sensu existentes en Latinoamérica. Así, muchos investigadores están obligados a recurrir a otras áreas de las ciencias sociales o a cursar su postgrado en otros países y por medio de convenios.

The new generation

If we compare the institutional conditions of the generation of researchers that emerged from the 1990s with those of the generation of researchers of the 1970s, we will see that the new generation is at a disadvantage. Research funding is increasingly scarce and in most of the poorest countries there are no policies to encourage and support science and technology. In general, these are young people who are assuming leadership positions in their home universities, with a lot of potential, but without the ideal conditions for a more profitable intellectual growth.

The plurality of communicational thinking

In the complex society in which we live, it is difficult to make forecasts. Latin America follows world trends, standing out in the study of topics such as: communication and education; information society; cyberculture; Internet; media processes; political communication; social exclusion/citizenship; social responsibility; communication policies; intercultural communication; political economy of communication; public communication; reception studies; cultural studies; organizational communication; professional practices in the area, etc.
All these topics are covered by ALAIC’s 21 working groups (WGs), which constitute an important space for analyzing the major contemporary issues studied in universities and research centers. The sessions of these WGs, in the biennial congresses, allow a plural debate, which converges in the exchange of experiences and greater integration among researchers. Its creation was the best way found by ALAIC to fulfill its mission as a scientific entity of Latin American communication, opening a space for current and future generations to consolidate more and more Communication Sciences in our societies.

(Translation: Luis A. Albornoz)
Source: Krohling, Margarida (2004), La presencia de ALAIC en la comunidad latinoamericana de Ciencias de la Comunicación.
Telos Magazine. Nº 61 Second Epoch.