This text comes to you through a medium. Just like the news, your entertainment, the messages of your friends and family. Modern media surround you. They let you observe your social and natural environment, even yourself. On average our daily media consumption amounts to a staggering 10 (!) hours a day. You are immersed in mediated communication, in a culture of the media. What do you know about it?
The transformation of social structures and cultural patterns in modern society are often closely tied to the centrality of the media in our day and age. Concepts like mediation, mediatization and media culture try to come to terms with analyzing such changes:
“The increasing centrality of media for the exercise of power as well as for the conduct of everyday life in modern society, both for system and for life-world, as well as, crucially, their inter-relationship […] has drawn the study of mediation to the centre of the sociological agenda. The analysis of mediation […] requires us to understand how the processes of mediated communication shape both society and culture, as well as the relationships that participants, both individual and institutional, have to their environment and to each other.” (Silverstone 2005: 202f.)
The above quote by the late Roger Silverstone sets the stage for our engagement with contemporary media culture. We work under the premise that there is sufficient reason to argue that we live in a media society, and the media’s impact surmounts any mere increase in communicative efficiency: it is a thoroughly cultural process that affects nearly every aspect of social life. Two basic observations guide the analysis of media culture:
- The fact that all human sociality is based on the human ability to communicate in a myriad of ways so that our species lives in a cultural realm based on communication as much as in a natural environment.
- That modernity might be understood as fundamentally based on technological means of communication that drastically alter our modes of communication, allowing for further “modernization” of our social systems.
The notion that lies at the heart of any investigation of Media Culture is the constructedness of individual and collective realities in a complex interplay of technology, society and culture. The Juniorprofessorship for Media Culture attempts to tackle these issues in an interdisciplinary way, employing cultural theory, media studies and sociology to arrive at a better understanding of how we all are engaged in shaping our realities.
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Media Culture | Introductory Readings
BA | MA | Topics
Marian Adolf, CV