My colleague and friend, Scott Timcke, recently posed a challenge on twitter to list five "key books" in communication studies. This can't be a "best of" list, though, as the field of communication is too broad and/or balkanized for any five books to be key--or even relevant--to all, most, or many of us. I started out trying to think of "foundational" texts but abandoned that tack when my mind kept turning to books I'd never actually read in their entirety (sorry, George Herbert Mead). So, what follows is an idiosyncratic list of five books that have really influenced how I think about media, communication, and cultural studies.
- John Durham Peters, Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999)
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: 1780-1950 (New York: Columbia University Press,  1983)
Mark Kingwell, A Civil Tongue: Justice, Dialogue, and the Politics of Pluralism (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995)
Russell Keat, Cultural Goods and the Limits of the Market (Houndsmills, Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 2000)
Nick Couldry, Listening Beyond the Echoes: Media, Ethics, and Agency in an Uncertain World (Boulder, CO: Paradigm)
What are five great books in your field? Post them on twitter with the hashtag #nocanonwars.
Update: When I went to post this to twitter, I came up with this syntax for putting up your five: