This paper raises the question of whether comparative national models of communications research can be developed, along the lines of Hallin and Mancini’s (2004) analysis of comparative media policy, or the work of Perraton and Clift (2004) on comparative national capitalisms. Taking consideration of communications research in Australia and New Zealand as its starting point, the paper will consider what are relevant variables in shaping an “intellectual milieu” for communications research in these countries, as compared to those of Europe, North America and Asia. Some possibly relevant variables include:
• Type of media system (e.g. how significant is public service media?);
• Political culture (e.g. are there significant left-of-centre political parties?);
• Dominant intellectual traditions;
• Level and types of research funding;
• Overall structure of higher education system, and where communications sits within it.
In considering whether such an exercise can or should be undertaken, we can also evaluate, as Hallin and Mancini do, the significance of potentially homogenizing forces. These would include globalization, new media technologies, and the rise of a global “audit culture”. The paper will raise these issues as questions that emerge as we consider, as Curran and Park (2000) and Thussu (2009) have proposed, what a “de-Westernized” media and communications research paradigm may look like.