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Progress, Paradigms, and a Discipline Engaged: A Response to Lang and Reflections on Media Effects Research



In 2013, Annie Lang argued that the field of mass communication faces a Kuhnian crisis, born from the inability of its dominant paradigm to make progress in answering questions about media effects. The present article takes issue with her analysis, arguing that the field is not in crisis, but has made impressive strides in answering media effects questions and explaining influences of media on different levels. Elaborating on how the Kuhnian paradigm-in-crisis model does not accurately describe the current state of mass communication research, this article discusses the role that the time-honored media effects narrative plays in the discipline, positive aspects of Lang's vision, and conceptual issues to consider in efforts to theorize about the constantly-changing communication environment.

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