Sunday, 18 March 2007
If we want to understand where our media culture is going we need to understand where it is coming from. The hyperbole of techno-culture enthusiasts is usually resolutely a-historical. This book introduces some of the ways in which we might begin to study computer games culture by looking at its mass market as it has developed in the past ten years. The post-Playstation era has seen the game console become a ubiquitous part of the Western domestic media economy. Our study locates itself in the everyday experiences of millions of console gamers worldwide. In so doing, it attempts to understand the nature of the gameplay phenomenon.
Our approach to the study of computer games uses the methods developed within Cultural Studies to study popular culture. Within this tradition, generally speaking, popular culture is understood as a critical site of both the circulation and contestation of dominant ideologies. Cultural Studies also affords us ways of thinking about media consumption, identity and pleasure in everyday life. This broad approach will find its focus through the emergent traditions of a New Media studies. That is to say a Media Studies which takes digital media as its objects of study, but which is also ‘new’ in the sense that this process is having the effect of reconfiguring traditional Media Studies itself. We find ourselves constantly having to check to see if the disciplinary tools developed during the analogue age of the late twentieth century still function during the dawning of the digital twenty first century. This checking often produces interdisciplinary raids; for instance, systems theory, Cyberculture studies, Artificial Intelligence and Human Computer Interaction studies all find their way into ‘traditional’ Media Studies’ attempts to explain digital culture. (see Lister et al 2003, Mayer 1999).
Nevertheless, many of the traditional frameworks of Media Studies will continue to serve us as starting points for our investigations, offering the non-specialist reader a pathway into the new theoretical paradigms which the study of computer games produces. For instance political economy, textual analysis, the study of representation and of the ways in which fan cultures actively rework mediated experiences are all ‘foundational’ to our work in this book. These conceptual frameworks will only get us so far. We run the risk of misunderstanding and misrepresenting computer games if we analyse them using methods derived exclusively from literature, film or other mass media. As Espen Aarseth argues in the editorial manifesto of the first edition of the academic journal devoted to computer games, Game Studies:
"Games are not a kind of cinema, or literature, but colonizing attempts from both these fields have already happened, and no doubt will happen again. And again, until computer game studies emerges as a clearly self-sustained academic field". (2001 online)
Here Aarseth calls our attention to the specificity of the computer game, which needs new ways of thinking, and breaks with existing traditions.
The list below indicates the significant conceptual debates which will underpin the issues explored in this volume. Such a listing is in no way intended to imply a steady progress between ‘old’ and ‘new’ media – on the contrary , the way we study computer games is produced through the tension between these approaches.
Media Studies - New Media Studies
Media Studies: The effects of technology are socially determined.
New Media Studies: The nature of society is technologically determined.
Media Studies: Active audiences
New media Studies: Interactive users
Media Studies: Interpretation
New Media Studies: Experience
Media Studies: Spectatorship
New media Studies: Immersion
Media Studies: Representation
New Media Studies: Simulation
Media Studies: Centralised Media
New Media Studies: Ubiquitous Media
Media Studies: Consumer
New media Studies: Participant/Co creator
New Media Studies: Play
Wednesday, 14 March 2007
If I was not able to make this clear, I suggest this excellent article (which my PhD student Fei Zhang showed me this morning): Blogging and the Emerging Media Ecosystem by John Naughton.
Naughton shows that, even if you are not interested in media audiences / users / participants (or whatever you want to call them), the changing nature of engagement with media - where more and more people can and do make their own - forces the whole system to adapt.
So some changes on the audience/user side of things (people making their own stuff as well as consuming material made by traditional media companies, and other individuals) leads to a change in the whole 'ecosystem'. Naughton puts it much more elegantly than me, and his article is highly recommended.
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
On the point about political economy, of course we welcome that and are engaged with those issues. I would say, though – and this is one of the points in my original article – that we need to think through the traditional issues to do with power and ownership in a new way, and do it thoroughly. To illustrate what I mean:
One of the more caustic responses to my article, posted on the New Zealand media studies email list I think, simply said “Doesn’t he know who owns YouTube?!”
Of course I do know that a large corporation, Google, owns YouTube, but what I want to explore is what this really means. Does it mean that the YouTube phenomenon can be explained away as just another big corporate enterprise that we simply snub our noses at? How does that help us understand anything?
I want to explore political issues in a meaningful way, rather than simplistically assuming that we can simply read off a diagnosis based on who owns what. There is surely far more going on than that. So this is not ‘de-politicised’; I would see it as a call for a deeper political understanding, really thinking through the questions of what the complex web of ownership and production really means when the people producing the content are not, and have nothing to do with, the owners. I am not sure that conventional political economy could claim to have properly addressed these questions yet.
Finally, William Merrin was quite right to pick up ‘Anonymous’ on ridiculously claiming that we want to live in a postmodern hyperworld! Our argument is quite the opposite – it’s grounded in the empirical reality of the changing media landscape, whereas fanciful non-empirical ‘postmodern’ cultural studies, with its faith in its own expert readings of media texts, is precisely one of the things that I so rudely rubbished in the outline of Media Studies 1.0…
From my [materially aware discursive-constructionist] position the debate David’s paper has generated, over how things can mean, or how they might be, is inevitable. Yet, despite a certain heat within posts [do we need to be rude?] I am not sure that positions are so radically different from one another in what is being said. They all highlight, in various ways, the complexity of media, the range of forces in play, and key developments. They also highlight what happens when someone puts a stake in the sand, especially one that can be wilfully interpreted as overly simplified. However, there is a resonant common core that makes these voices recognisable as those of media scholars coming holding a reasonably common ‘lens’. It is this consonance that makes me wonder if this debate is being defined through an overly narrowly view of what constitutes the field of ‘media studies’.
Other voices can be collected under the heading ‘media studies’, voices from a wider field of definition and activities. They represent people and practices that are not being engaged with here but I would argue that they need to be part of what is being debated if we are considering what is ‘outdated’ or deserving of challenge. What ‘media studies’ constitutes is defined not only through the ‘academic’ but also through practices in other fields, fields where different logics have dominance. Though it is pretty unfashionable to speak about it these days the positivist-post-structuralist/social constructionist division is alive and well in much of what is funded as research and published as ‘media studies’. In fact, the majority of tax funded research informing the development of Western media policies is still structured through logics that most of academic media studies would not recognise as legitimate. Shouldn’t we challenge the vast, ongoing production that is touted as meaningful media research that so directly contradicts the logic of what we espouse? It certainly has a significant impact on shaping lived experience. Believe it or not post-structuralist/constructionist positions are still radical in psychology, mainstream marketing, and corporate capitalism. The logics and practices of the mainstream continues largely untroubled by challenge from media studies ‘proper’, because just as much of mainstream media research sits outside of what is recognised as media studies by us what we do sits outside of dominant logics. All media research is media studies and we are part of a much bigger debate. Perhaps the constant division between academic theorisation and ‘real world’ research, in part, reflects the problem with the logic that there can be any division between theory and practice? Whether anyone ‘likes’ it or not theory is vitally important because all practice is theory.
Things are changing, yes. But histories remain important. Within histories lie the logics and struggles that are structuring much of present debates. Contents may well be engaged with in fascinatingly diverse ways, structured through complex positions and experiences, not least of which can be length of time lived. But it is not all relative. Certain ideas resonate, sometimes across age and gender; ideas, for example, about age and gender. We should not lose sight of the issue that contents deserve attention for their implications, despite the uniqueness of contextually located interpretive engagements.
I am a proponent of a meta-theoretical position within which a range of other contingent theoretical possibilities are realised through ‘realities’ of contexts and experiences. Meta-theory is also unfashionable but, I would argue, disingenuous to refuse when it is always already implied in our positions. It is at a fundamental meta-theoretical level of how we make sense of the world that I see much media research as needing challenge. Meta-theory has very important implications for how people live and are treated in their worlds. Media contents perpetuate meta-theoretical logics of the subject/s, gender, ethnicity and class. Media, capitalism, economics, politics, they are all structured through dominant logics. Let’s debate these concerns as parts of the bigger picture within which media sits. However ‘real’ or sensible a way of seeing the world seems to be it is always in debate with other ways of knowing and there are no guarantees of outcome. Debate needs to be outside as well as within….
I contributed to the MeCCSA board debate and David's blog - these two posting however, make me want to respond.I think the heart of the problem with the 2.0 'manifesto' is that all these points that you now bring out were not discussed - it seemed polarised, and now from your points, overly simplisitic and so it encourages keen responses such as the one you are responding to here.Your last point is rather harsh - and do remember we are all having an academic debate here [accepted. I've removed it. It was a response to a somewhat bitter poster - WM].
Pat Thomas said...
William Merrin's understandably vigorous response to the somewhat provocative anonymous critique is revealing. In defending 2.0 from the allegations of being uncritical and depoliticised, he redefines the original parameters of the new paradigm to include questions of political economy which 'anonymous' had, I think, rightly discerned as being largely overlooked in the manifesto. As Faye Davies has suggested, if media studies 2.0 really is intended to embrace and extend these lines of enquiry, perhaps it ought to foreground them as clearly as it has its other academic priorities. Otherwise, we shouldn't be surprised if it's misinterpreted and criticised. Perhaps our anonymous colleague is calling our bluff though- do the proponents of 2.0 embrace critical enquiry and questions of power and inequality, or are these just peripheral issues to which lip service is paid whenever political economists point an accusing finger?
I accept the problems I've created here. Many posters are responding to David's article and I can't reply for him and I'm not trying to speak for him or change his original ideas. David, I'm sure, will reply to points made against his article. I was only trying to keep debate going, respond as best I could to points being made and explain what the idea of media studies 2.0 meant to me.
David and I discovered we were both using the idea of a media studies 2.0 and despite the many differences I'm sure we have in our approaches and specialisms we seem to be united in an interest in new media and in the belief that this requires a change in media studies. That's the core of what I mean by a media studies 2.0.
I'd become increasingly disspirited by many of the text books and mainstream monographs I was reading in the discipline - they seemed so complacently limited in their treatment of media - in their lack of history, lack of theory, predictable and ring-fenced references, ignorance of the changing media environment and resort to what were becoming cliched arguments in the discipline (to mention them would be career suicide but there are so many). I was also becoming increasingly interested in how much was changing in media - how there was no media being left untouched and how so few colleagues/texts seemed to be following or thinking about what was changing ... and all the time our students were leaping ahead of us in their knowledge and use of media ... My own call for a media studies 2.0 was a desire to see every part of media studies broaden its knowledge and references and retest and update itself to get to grips with the new media revolution. As such it made me far more accepting of other parts of the discipline I'd had less interest in before and made me think (and hope...) interdisciplinary boundaries might be forced to break down ...
It's been heartening to see many people have been aware of these issues for so long but it's still remarkable to see how any mention of new media produces fear and hostility in many media studies lecturers and a desperate desire to deny anything's going on, to refute the significance of the changes and to de-escalate any argument that threatens their comfortable view of media, laid down over so many years. Common tricks to help in this include historicising developments to make them disappear; references to an implicitly moral position that makes any discussion of new media appear a wrong-headed luxury ('look at how many poor people/countries haven't got it ...'); claiming a moral highground in a different content or emphasis that is presented as more serious or real (this is how that commentator employed political economy); accepting aspects of new media as an add-on but refusing to see any real significance in them or need to change the content or methods beyond updating a few lecture notes to look on the ball; references to hyperbole or uncritical celebration or utopianism (stating that something is happening doesn't make one a fan of it), and finally, petulant insults (I haven't heard 'postmodernism' as an insult for years ... it took me back to the early 90s... Only media studies today could still use that as an insult. Most other discplines worked through it years ago). Let's be clear all of this is intended to avoid or discredit any attention being paid to new media changes. I'm not changing the parameters of David's ideas - he can defend them for himself; nor am I paying lip-service to anything here (as I've said I employ political economy). Nor am I interested in saying what can't be in media studies - I'm more interested in considering how we change what's in it to get to grips with the present; how we expand that content to make it more informed; how we push that content to make it relevant and to keep up and how we frame new questions in keeping with the changes around us and explore new subject areas that traditional media studies never bothered with. To give one example, issues of security have never been part of media studies, nor of our experience of media (beyond the possibility that someone might physically nick your telly!). Today security and threats to one's media, one's information, one's identity, privacy and property etc. are central issues and media studies has to include this. Find me an introductory media studies textbook at the moment that mentions it ... This should be our project and starting point for discussion here: positively framing how we update and reorient the discipline.
Tuesday, 6 March 2007
1. MEDIA STUDIES 2.0 REPRESENTS A PARADIGM WHICH HAS LITTLE USEFUL TO SAY ABOUT MEDIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY. IT IS FRAUGHT WITH QUESTIONABLE ASSUMPTIONS
WM: No, it is a paradigm that aims to explicitly confront and understand 21st C media.
2. 2.0 IS PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN AUDIENCE RECEPTION STUDIES, AND HAS NO INTEREST IN SELF-EVIDENTLY IRRELEVANT QUESTIONS OF THE RELATION BETWEEN TEXTUAL FORM/ CONTENT AND CONDITIONS OF PRODUCTION.
WM: Not necessarily. I have nothing to do with audience studies and I don't even think that a video game player, net user, mobile phone user etc., are even 'audiences'. I recognise that debates on the active audience have an important place in understanding new media (a far more important place than they did in understanding older forms of TV and film etc. where their claims of activity and resistance seemed forced) but as a theorist and fan of medium theory I balance that with an interest in the role technology plays in forming our lives and experiences. I think questions of form/content and production remain important and have to be included - but, like all other parts of media studies, they need to be rethought in relation to a new environment and rapidly changing forms.
From my perspective a Media studies 2.0 doesn't have to exclude anything (in fact it is mainstream media studies that has done that with its emphasis on broadcast media and audience studies leading to a neglect of different media, media history, newer media theory, technology, political economy, power etc.). My feeling is a media studies 2.0 is more interested in asking how these subjects should change and be revised to make them relevent to the present.
3. THE 'FUNDAMENTAL' CHANGE MIGHT BE NEWS TO THE OTHER HALF OF THE WORLD WHICH HASN'T YET MADE A PHONE CALL... AND THERE ARE MANY CONTINUITIES AS WELL AS SHIFTS (LOOK AT THE CORPORATE BUY-OUTS OF POPULAR WEBSITES LIKE YOUTUBE). THE OLD POLITICAL ECONOMY QUESTIONS ABOUT OWNERSHIP, CONTROL, ACCESS, AND INTERESTS ARE BECOMING MORE, NOT LESS IMPORTANT IN THE DIGITAL ERA. BUT 2.0 MAKES NO REFERENCE TO THESE ISSUES.
WM: When the first nuclear weapon was exploded we entered the nuclear age, regardless of whether or not you owned, used or experienced a nuclear weapon. We live under and are defined by the limit of our development in so far as it affects/encompasses us. Yes, large parts of the world haven't got these technologies but their countries are still affected by them - by the global transmission of information (media, money etc.), by their integration into world economies and media systems and - if nothing else- by the global reach of western spy satellites and electronic weapons systems. No part of this world is unaffected and we have to pay attention to the impact of new forms (as well as the old) across the world. The situation is actually more complex, as many poorer countries are using new media where they never fully developed old media - the mobile phone is popular in Africa, for example, vs. the older landlines which were expensive to build and maintain so had very limited reach ... (Incidently, the implicit argument here that we shouldn't emphasise new media because parts of the world haven't got it doesn't work. Large parts of the world aren't even literate so does that disqualify any academic interest in pictograms, ideograms, hieroglyphics and cunieform and phonetic alphabetic systems and anything coming after...? )
On the second point, for the reasons given above I don't see a reason why media studies 2.0 excludes political economy. If anything it allows us to move away from endless papers on Buffy and Sex and the City and pay it more attention again. In fact political economy is thriving in the new media literature - more so than in mainstream media studies. We do, however, have to look at how political economy has been transformed by new technology and how political economy employs new technology to do new things. As an example, I've just written an article on 'digital rights management' technologies in online music retailing, that argues that capitalism has both returned to an older form of traditional laisser-faire capitalism (fighting over formats for a monopoly position and refusing interoperability) and radically extended this traditional capitalism by using new DRM to monitor possession beyond the point of sale and control and direct one's relationship to one's legally purchased goods in the home (which it couldn't do before). This enables it to redefine 'ownership' and introduce a system of what I call 'digital user management' or 'DUM'. That's hardly a rejection of a political economy approach. Again, all I can say is the question is less about leaving things out than upgrading - about redefining and retesting all our knowledge and perspectives and discovering new ones in the attempt to keep up with the changes around us. I started my Media Studies 2.0 blog so I could keep track of the news stories associated with new media so I could keep my lectures up to date. It was only when I did that I realised how much is actually happening - entire industries and relationships between media and with media are being fundamentally transformed before our eyes. The only way to deny that is not to look.
4. TEACHING CRITICAL MEDIA LITERACY IS NOT ABOUT IMPOSING PREDETERMINED POLITICALLY-CORRECT IDEOLOGIES ONTO STUDENTS BUT HELPING THEM ASK INTELLIGENT, PERTINENT QUESTIONS SO THAT CAN UNDERSTAND HOW MEDIA FORMS MIGHT SHAPE, ENABLE AND CONSTRAIN THEIR LIFE-CHANCES. SO IF TECHNO-SAVVY ADOLESCENTS NEED NO GUIDANCE FROM ACADEMIC FUDDY-DUDDIES THEN WHY EVEN BOTHER WITH 2.0? IN THE CONTEMPORARY MEDIA ENVIRONMENT, STUDENTS NEED MORE HELP IN UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THEIR MEDIA ENVIRONMENTS, NOT LESS.
WM: I don't disagree. Its about teaching tools of analysis suitable for our contemporary world. For me this is why theory is still so important. I like the fact that 'theory' is from 'theoria' meaning 'vision' or 'to see' and I teach a range of theory to give students different ways of seeing, to translate their existing, often superior knowledge of many media into a broader understanding. Interestingly, media studies 1.0 doesn't teach theory very well at all. If you were a sociology or cultural studies student you would do historical modules in the development of theory in that discipline, taught by lecturers who specialised in theory and wrote books on particular theorists. Media Studies rarely does this. Only Stevenson's book makes any attempt to offer an overview of a history of ideas/key movements and thinkers. Instead our field got stuck on Hall and audience theory and has missed the boat theory-wise. The most interesting new media theorists have been explored better in sociology and cultural studies. They're barely mentioned in media studies text books; instead you have to go to 'cyberculture' to find them. For me a media studies 2.0 should embrace newer theory to help understand new media forms plus it should broaden our historical knowledge of theory by considering other thinkers or authors who have discussed technology and media and who have been neglected in the field. We need to read Ure, Butler's Erewhon, Kapp, Jarry's Supermale, Muybridge and Marey, Forster's The Machine Stops, Marinetti's manifestos and his Mafarka the Futurist, Spengler, Sombart, Mumford, Giedion, Weiner, Innis, Ellul, Toffler, FM-2030 (add whomever you can think of too) ... As usual, you'll search in vain in the mainstream media textbooks for a mention of any of these. In fact if you want a laugh then look up Innis in McQuail's Mass Communication Theory - in the edition a student showed me he couldn't even get Innis's name right ...
5. IS THERE REALLY A NEW MEDIA REALITY REQUIRING NOT ONLY EMPIRICAL UPDATING BUT NEW FORMS OF KNOWLEDGE AND METHODOLOGIES?
WM: Yes! McLuhan said it best when he said we live in 'the rear-view mirror': travelling at speed forwards but looking backwards, interpreting what we see through the comfortable tropes of what we are familiar with - of the past. He also said he wasn't interested in predicting the future - that was too easy; he was interested in the hard one - in predicting the present. This required a speculative theoretical method - 'the probe' - to push interpretations forward to reach a possible insight. Ok, you don't have to buy into McLuhan but the broad point seems more relevent than ever: the key problem of media studies today is predicting the present - of seeing what is actually happening and making sense of it. We need a radical 'presentology'!
6. 2.0 APPEARS TO BE A CELEBRATION OF THE OSTENSIBLE CREATIVITY OF THE ON-LINE COMMUNITY IN PARTICIPATING IN MEDIA CONTENT PRODUCTION. THIS OVERLOOKS QUESTIONS OF ACCESS AND ABILITY TO MAKE USE OF NEW MEDIA.
WM: No it doesn't. That can be easily recognised without overturning the point that an increased participation/activity is possible today. Growing up in the 70s my only media output was a couple of drawings in 2000AD and even until recently the most I could manage was a run of letters in The Guardian - all of which depended upon an editor liking them. Now when I press 'publish' here I have more broadcasting power than any media institution or corporation in history prior to the web: none of them could publish instantly and globally and I now can. That, to me, seems worth thinking about. I know that 5 minutes from where I live is an estate in which PCs and broadband connections and IT skills are undoubtedly rare and that has to be explored but it doesn't detract from the democratisation of media power that has at least taken place. Again underdevelopment can't be used as a reason not to look at what is happening.
7. MOREOVER, IT OVERLOOKS THE PROBLEM THAT CERTAIN TYPES OF MEDIA FORM PRESUPPOSE SOME FORM OF PROFESSIONAL TRAINING- IF ONE CONSIDERS NEWS MEDIA, HAS THE NEWS BECOME MORE ACCURATE AND RELIABLE BECAUSE OF AMATEUR BLOGS? ALTHOUGH THERE IS PLENTY WRONG WITH MAINSTREAM JOURNALISTIC PRACTICES, THIS IS UNLIKELY TO BE AMELIORATED BY COLLECTIVE AMATEURISM. THERE IS STILL A NEED FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDIA TRAINING- AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS.
WM: Read Gillmor's We the Media. Big media corps and technologies and journalists aren't going away, they're just being supplemented. And yes, the news has become more accurate because of blogs and new media - the 'long tail' of amateur writers has fact checked the news' claims and broken and continued with stories that the mainstream press have not seen or ignored. The insult 'collective amateurism' is comical and the product of fear - plus there's more than enough amateurism in journalism itself.
I'll give you an example. Last year I saw an ITV news story about a Youtube clip of kids on a roundabout being thrown off and injured as they span it round with a motorcycle. The 'professional' journalist was outraged and actually called for the UK government to intervene to police the web (all of it presumably). It was moronic. He didn't call for teenagers to be policed, for motorbikes to be policed, for parks to be policed or roundabouts to be policed, or the mobile phone camera that filmed it, no it was just the medium it was shown on ... Also anyone with any cultural knowledge would immediately recognise it was a copy of a stunt in the film Jackass so presumably film should be policed by the British government too? Plus it was a logical extension of the 'you've been maimed' clip TV shows that ITV itself helped pioneer in the 90s where you get to watch people hurting themselves for your amusement, so presumably TV should also be policed by the British government? No, only the net should be policed, he concluded. And this is a 'professional' journalist? Another example. I saw a breaking news story on SKY news about a woman who'd been killed. They suspected she'd met her killer over the net so headlined it 'INTERNET KILLER' and discussed the dangers of the net. By the next day they'd arrested the man in the flat above. Interestingly they didn't headline it 'FLAT KILLER' and call for controls on who you rent next to. In conclusion, I agree with you. There is a need for professional media training: in Media studies 2.0 and journalists should be made to sign up first.
8. OF COURSE THAT ASSUMES SOME RATHER OLD FASHIONED NOTIONS SUCH AS THE PUBLIC'S NEED FOR INFORMATION CORRESPONDING TO AN EXTERNAL REALITY. PERHAPS THERE IS NO PLACE FOR THIS IN THE POSTMODERN HYPER-REALITY WHICH MEDIA STUDIES 2.0 CLAIMS AS ITS SUBJECT DOMAIN?
WM: Great, let's call media studies 2.0 postmodern and throw in 'hyperreality' so we can scare people off it without having to argue anything substantial, read anything or know what we're talking about ... If you're interested (and you won't be), the concept of 'hyperreality' has a much longer history and can be applied to many earlier media forms - for example the perspective boxes of the renaissance artists and later peepshows, phantsamagoria shows, the panorama, the stereoscope ... so it has no necessary relationship to postmodernism. In fact the flat, screen-based 'realisms' of photography, the cinema and TV etc. were specific replacements for earlier modes of media experience and entertainment that had an extra quality of realism, or a hyperrealism; one that many contemporary new media are trying to reproduce (see Merrin, W. 'Buckle Your Seat-Belt Dorothy ... Cause Cinema is Gouing Bye-Byes', in Furby/Randell (ed.) Screen Methods. Comparative Readings in Film Studies, Wallflower press, 2005, pp. 167-74).
9. ULTIMATELY, 2.0 REPRESENTS A CHARTER FOR DEPOLITICISING MEDIA STUDIES. AT BEST IT REPRESENTS A NARROWING OF THE FIELD AND AN UNCRITICAL ACCEPTANCE OF THE 'POPULAR' CULTURAL PARADIGM.
WM: Hornswoggle. See all of the above.
Faye Davies, University of Central England.
05 March 2007 19:58
Monday, 5 March 2007
Taking an overview, there seemed to be three different kinds of response:
(1) ‘We’re doing this thing you call Media Studies 2.0 already, and your 1.0 model is well out of date’
... In which case, good, fine! I am glad that you have changed with the times, and I know my 1.0 model is well out of date, which was the point. Of course there are lots of lovely people out there who are vigorously engaged with our exciting, changing subject matter. However if you look at a lot of college and university reading lists online, or look at recent textbooks, you would be hard pressed to assert that the 1.0 model is no longer taught. This point was confirmed by the larger number of people in the second group, who said something along the lines of:
(2) ‘Eek! Don’t replace the solid traditions and critical expertise of Media Studies with your ephemeral, pointlessly trendy 2.0 stuff’
... The predictable conservative, frightened response. Incidentally, as William Merrin has argued, Media Studies 2.0 would not throw away the insights of the past - of course - but would just need to rework some of the tools, and extend the analysis beyond the familiar. And personally I see Media Studies 2.0 as more interdisciplinary, too, reaching for useful theories across the histories of different fields. (And to defensively demonstrate that I’m not a new-tech philistine - and not as a gratuitous plug (!) - I am obliged to clarify this by mentioning that my new book, for example, makes use of German and French philosophers and sociologists of the 19th and 20th centuries alongside 21st century neuroscience, art and creativity specialists).
(3) ‘Yes, this is a welcome debate’
... Unsurprisingly I was pleased to find that there were a number of other people willing to admit that some changes could not be ignored, and that ‘the internet’ could not be tacked on as an ‘extra’ subject, and that we need to discuss these things and not be too defensive about preserving our own grand traditions.
Finally, of course - as some people observed - the opposition I made between Media Studies 1.0 and 2.0 is artificial, contrived, and designed to provoke argument. Nevertheless, it was interesting, in the various responses, that those people who got worked up about some apparently wrong/unfair aspect of my characterisation of Media Studies mostly managed to demonstrate my point, by using that as an excuse to go over familiar territory again, whilst failing to address the challenge at the heart of the ‘2.0’ manifesto.
Saturday, 3 March 2007
As Dean says: "The problem with a lot of new media critique, hyperbole and upgrade culture is that, like the cyclops, it lacks parallax. It looks monocularly just at the now and is prepared to junk genealogy, archaeology, etc. etc. When it does look for the patterns, tracing and mapping genealogies, the notion of revolution looks less and less appropriate."
What follows isn't an argument with Dean, it's merely taking his ideas as a starting point for my own arguments ...
1. First, the question of media history in media studies:
This is interesting to me because I consider my interests to include both new media and media history. To me the two seem inextricably linked: If you have any interest in media history then it should encompass the continuing transformations we can see around us today. In practice I'm not sure that happens. Though there are notable exceptions, many media historians I've read seem closed off to new media. Also we have to recognise that media history is badly served within media studies. Not many departments offer media history modules whilst the history that is taught is almost exclusively the history of those mass media/broadcast forms such as print, cinema, television and radio, as if 'media' began in the mid 15th C and only encompasses select technologies. Look at books on 'media representations' to see how useless our field is on the question of history - apparently images are historically new, mostly magazine advertisements or film or TV images and are best approached through semiology ... I wonder if the people of Byzantium would agree? ... Thus the entire history of image making and its anthropological, philosophical, theological and political and cultural significance in the west as well as in non-western countries and traditions is utterly elided ... The result is that we're producing an a-historical media studies, or at least one that's stunted in its scope to mass/broadcast forms ... which is just what we should expect from a media studies formed in the era of mass media - from a Media Studies 1.0 ... A Media Studies 2.0 needs to be more historical, learning from the longer history of media forms and processes.
Other media histories don't appear in our field. To understand the history of new media - of computers, of the net, of mobile phones, of video games - you have to go to books on popular science, IT, technology, cultural history and cultural studies. You won't find many written by media studies lecturers or from within the discipline. I have a long standing passion for the field of (what is badly described as) 'pre-cinema'. I love panoramas, dioramas, peepshows, magic lanterns, stereoscopes, optical toys etc. and I teach these to my students. You won't find these even mentioned in most media studies textbooks or discussions. The texts are written instead by historians, by experts outside the field and by the collectors. I had to become a collector in order to understand these forms and in order to teach them to my students (I've now built up a good collection of stereoscopes, lanterns, daguerreotypes etc. I use in my classes), because mainstream media studies could tell me nothing about them. Again, therefore, like the history of the image in media representations, entire media worlds and forms don't exist in our discipline ...
I've also just finished a module on Reality TV and the books within the field were so predictable. Almost without exception they provide excellent histories of the idea of Reality TV in relation to television and cinema but their consideration of other forms was so limited. In the end the best lecture I gave was using Vanessa Schwartz's Spectacular Realities (she's a history professor), using her examples of the late 19th C panorama, of the wax museums and of the public exhibition of dead bodies at the Paris morgue in the late 19th C to demonstrate the drive for the real as entertainment preceding 'modern' mass media forms. No media studies texts even thought of discussing anything like that ... But, hey, these are media studies text books on Reality TV that don't even mention Baudrillard so what can you expect ...
Ultimately media studies' ignorance of media history is important because it is related to and reinforces the field's ignorance of new media. Missing out on most of the history of media it also fails to see how new forms are emerging today. Media history, however, is essential for new media studies. New media need contextualising in the history of media forms and the history of what these forms were attempting to accomplish. Only that grand view can inform us of what is happening today and where it might go. To understand the drive for HD and stereo TV, for immersive video games and VR you have to understand the panorama, the stereoscope, the zogroscope, the mareorama ...
Although there should be a close relationship between new media and media history, more commonly media history is deployed in the field to dismiss any need to look at new media: If we can historicise it enough then there's no revolution so we can all go back to sleep; If we can show how earlier aspects of the form or its processes existed then we don't need to consider anything as new. It's lazy. Ideally media history should be used to show us how new media revive or remediate older forms and functions and to show us how these new forms may be new or have new effects and consequences.
2. New Media have a history and they are revolutionary.
Very simply, we can trace the history of the computer, for example, back through the introduction of PCs, through developments in processing, storage, networking, interfaces, etc., back through the WWII machines, back through the relay machines, back to Hollerith and Babbage and maybe, even, to Jacquard and his punch card looms. We should trace this history and understand it, just like we should understand the history of the net, of the mobile phone, of video games, of the telephone, of the telegraph, of the discovery and theorisation of electricity etc. We should understand all these separate histories and their historical effects and impact etc. But the fact that there is such a history - whether we read it linearly, through traditional historical methods, or construct our reading of it through the tools of genealogy and archaeology - does not conjure away the possibility that a revolution can/has taken place.
The idea of a new media 'revolution' is justifiable as soon as we understand that these forms with their own history become revolutionary when they reach a certain point of critical mass; when they have a concentrated cultural, political and social impact and when they begin to produce important interrelationships. Ok, we can conjure away any sense of the internet as a 'revolution' if we want to by emphasising its origins in 1969, when the first node went online, but the fact remains that the net did became a popularly efficacious - and thus a transformative - medium in the early-mid 1990s, when it began to infiltrate the popular consciousness and began to be used by a broader public. A historical approach can be used to simply dismiss such 'moments' by endlessly historicising them but this would be a misuse of history. The same goes for other new media. Agar provides a great history of the mobile phone but the mobile phone's cultural power only really manifested itself when it began to become ubiquitous (for us) in the mid to late 1990s ... So what I'm saying is that histories exist but revolutions still happen and that they happen when media forms go 'critical' ... and when forms go critical together we certainly have a revolution ...
This interlinked critical mass of technologies is what we're seeing today and this is why a new media revolution is happening. What we're seeing is the cultural, critical mass of three processes - the digitalisation of previously analogue content (and thus the convergence of forms upon the digital), the centrality of computer processing power and the rise of networked computing (allowing forms to communicate with each other and cross traditional barriers). What this adds up to is a revolution in which previously separate media forms become translated into a digital form and content; in which our media experiences (sound, images, motion, alphabetic information etc.) become available on digital platforms and cross digital platforms in a way they barely could before and begin to impact upon and spur on each other. The transhumanists talk about the 'singularity' or the 'spike' - about how exponential developments feed on and drive on themselves. Even if we're not heading for that singularity, contemporary media developments take on an interconnected and exponential form once they become digital, feeding on, adding to and playing off each other...
McLuhan used metaphors derived from physics to describe the incredible 'explosion' of cultural energy caused by the 'fusion' of forms - from the evolution of media and their 'hybridisation'. It's an idea that works well today: the 'mobile phone' is no more a 'phone' than a computer is a 'computer' - it is a hybrid digital device, built upon computer processing technology, that incorporates and hybridises the phone, the TV, the net, the video-camera, the camera, whilst remediating and hybridising the letter and the telegraph in the text message etc. and its all singing and all dancing ability to cross all these media explains the remarkable cultural energies it has produced, the waves of which continue to sweep over us ...
Of course this hybridisation causes problems for McLuhan and for the traditional media studies' distinction of form and content. Does TV remain TV if it's available on a phone? Surely radio isn't radio if it's available on a computer or TV? - it no longer uses broadcast radio waves and has no geographic limits and its sensory balance is altered ... So has media form dissolved into simply being a word for types of 'content' on digital platforms, in which case we only have one 'form' today - that of the computer ... and even my fridge and car are now computers ...?
I don't think we've begun to think through these questions yet. I do know that we're not in a position to begin thinking about them until we see what's happening... To continue the lyrical theme of Dylan's 'Ballad of a Thin Man', Dean picks up on - "Well, you walk into the room, like a camel and then you frown /You put your eyes in your pocket, and your nose on the ground".
Time to get those eyes out.
The revolution has already happened and Media Studies 1.0 has to change.
'Wake up. It's Time to die'.
Friday, 2 March 2007
'Now you see this one-eyed midgetshouting the word "NOW"’
It’s not that smug to complain about students’ historical and cultural ignorance. I agree that Media and Cultural Studies has a pretty appalling record on the question of technology, but it’s clued-up at least in its emphasis on contextuality and articulation. The problem with a lot of new media critique, hyperbole and upgrade culture is that, like the cyclops, it lacks parallax. It looks monocularly just at the now and is prepared to junk genealogy, archaeology, etc. etc. When it does look for the patterns, tracing and mapping genealogies, the notion of revolution looks less and less appropriate. I agree with an awful lot of what you say, though. I’ve experienced the same things with students. They’re busy all night on World of Warcraft while I’m still trying to get to grips with Grand Theft Auto on my console (There’s obvious relief sometimes when they discover they’re talking to a lecturer who has at least played computer games in some form). They’re busy Myspacing and MSNing while I’m trying to find time to trawl through emails and update my research profile for the faculty website. And, yes, they’re passing on mobile phone porn when I’m struggling with just my tepid imagination. On the other hand, it’s always ugly when dads dance. A different (networked) experience of time is partly what it’s about. And unfortunately – I think it is unfortunate - it seems to mean students haven’t got time any more for books. I do worry about this - that they’re missing out on something valuable in so fully embracing the time of the network and refusing to do the slow time that books and critical reading require. Wikipedia is fabulous for all sorts of things, but sometimes it just doesn't cut it. Sometimes you just need to sit down with a few pages of Baudrillard or whoever and agonize a while about just what does this mean... Thinking just takes time. It still, as you know, demands blowing the dust off old tomes occasionally.
Dept of Media Production
University of Lincoln
Having seemingly killed the email exchange on MeCCSA stone dead with my suggestion (which was not really my intention) I feel obliged to take up your hospitable offer and post something here. Symptomatic of the theme of this discussion I thought I had to first set up a Google account - followed by a Blogger account. Setting up the Blogger account led to me automatically creating a blog page (called Frappant - which was the first unused title I came up with).To the point - having read both your posts I sense the frustration but feel that the picture is lacking tonality. I'm well aware of distrust and even hostility from some colleagues at even the mention of the internet, let alone the evil Wikipedia/YouTube/MySpace conspiracy, but most are pragmatic and have a reasonably keen sense of what's been happening over (at least) the last ten years. The curriculum has been evolving - as have approaches to delivering it, despite a whole range of constraints on time and resources as well as increasingly intrusive (and usually unrealistic) productivity demands handed down from above. The notion that 'Media Studies' (whether 1.0 or 2.0) as some monolithic entity that can be defined by a narrow set of parameters doesn't match my experience of a terrein with vastly different and ever changing vistas at every turn of the road. The infusion of many different viewpoints emerging from a wide range of concerned areas - Literature, Sociology, Linguistics, Fine Art (Practice & History), Aesthetics, Economics, Philosophy, Law, History and more - have meant that it's no easy task to pinpoint characteristics of 'Media Studies' as a discipline or even as a cohesivee subject area with a strongly defined identity. If anything the inevitable conlicts that arise from such a cross-disciplinary mish-mash are one of its greatest assets that save it from stagnation.We know some areas of the media are changing (although not all - and not as drastically as has been suggested) but there is much of 'the old' that remains, just as there is much of 'the new' that is destined for a very short shelf life. In my mind the diversity on which the study of the media is founded will cope with this challenge as ably as it has managed to cope with the decades of change that went before.Apologies for errors - I hate typing in small boxes.
Thursday, 1 March 2007
Responding to his critics in his 1968 Playboy interview, McLuhan acerbically commented, ‘for all their lamentations, the revolution has already taken place’. I don’t know how many decades it took these critics to realise this revolution had happened and was passing them by but I do know that everyone in media studies faces an equivalent challenge today. Something is happening here and the only question that counts is do you know what it is?
My moment of recognition came a few years ago when a student came to my office and asked if I could look at her essay. She handed me a memory stick – the first one I had ever seen. Not knowing what to do with it I held it up to the light and declared the introduction was weak, the argument needed clarifying and the bibliography needed to be improved. She didn’t look amused. What I realised that day was the absurdity of being a media studies lecturer when your students knew more about media than you. Sure, I knew more about media studies than them but that was no great consolation if it had no relationship to the media that were out there – the media that our students were using. I decided that day that everything had changed; that I had to get to grips with every aspect of the contemporary media revolution. I already knew the literature anyway. For the last decade I’d happily consumed every book on how the internet was going to change everything but somehow it never really did: the changes remained theoretical or confined to a small group of people. Now things were different. The waves of this revolution were visible. Major changes in media were happening on a daily basis and happening to all of us. Entire media forms and industries were being transformed right in front of our eyes.
This was a different world to the one I grew up in. The only difference between the television my mother watched in the 50s and the one I watched was two more channels. Although colour TV existed, we didn’t have it and the VCR took so long to come down in price that my mother only bought one as I went off to University. This was an age when the telephone was nailed to the kitchen wall, when it couldn’t take photos and when the only person walking around outside with one was my action man, with his giant telephone set strapped to his back. Television was only available on the television, you couldn’t get the radio on it and no-one was trying to hack into your set to steal your money or identity. For what seemed like half the time it wasn’t on anyway, merrily shutting down every few hours, not even starting until 9am and finishing not that long after I’d gone to bed. Still, as I went to sleep I could dream about the future … about going to work in a jet pack, about female robots and flying cars and Nottingham Forest remaining champions of Europe …
My son’s world is nothing like the one I grew up in. It’s one, however, that we have to understand if we’re going to teach media to our students and to the generations that follow. Too many media studies lecturers know too little about contemporary media. How many lecturers smugly complaining about the painful historical and cultural ignorance of their students know anything about what’s happening today? Our students may never have seen Cathy Come Home, heard of Godard or have a clue who owns what newspaper but how many media studies lecturers have a Facebook profile, play WOW or pass on mobile phone porn? Just look at the god-awful state of the textbooks we write for them. The same dreary topics and chapters and the same obsolete information. New media is barely covered and if it is it’s usually reserved for a final chapter desperately trying to signal its hip contemporaneity but in effect naively quarantining these technologies and processes, ignoring the fact that they’ve already changed everything the book’s covered. I can’t even think of a medium that hasn’t been affected in its production or reception –one way or another they all include new media, use new media, intimately link with new media or have become new media. The revolution has already taken place and we’ve barely begun to think through what it means. Books can’t even keep up. By the time they’ve been written and passed through a series of readers and editors to finally find a place in a busy publication schedule to be turned into pulped vegetable matter and by the time they’ve been sent to shops where someone might - eventually - buy them and perhaps even read them within the next few years, the entire media world has been transformed. The result is, for all of us, it’s a struggle even to keep up. Not many disciplines have this problem. I’m fairly certain chemistry lectures don’t have to turn up to the second half of a lecture and announce that things have just changed: that the bad news is they’ve just found three new elements but the good news is they’ve dropped argon as no-one was using it anymore. And not many chemistry lecturers sit giving lectures to students that know more about their subject than they do ...
Like I said, the revolution has already happened. There isn’t a choice here. This stuff is happening and its radically and constantly changing our entire field. Media studies has to keep up. To date the most exciting and innovative appreciation of new media has come from sociology and cultural / cyberculture studies. Media studies just didn’t want to look at technology because, after Raymond Williams, we’re all terrified of the sin of ‘technological determinism’. Plus we didn’t need any new theory because we had audience studies and endless interviews with Buffy and Sex and the City fans ... The result is it’s taken a long time for the subject to catch up and to catch on to the fact that the revolution has already happened. It’s time to upgrade Media Studies. It’s time for Media Studies 2.0
For years now I’ve kept old newspaper cuttings and printed off internet news stories to follow what’s been happening but these piles of folders and box files are increasingly unwieldy and barely searchable. I first began developing a news resource for myself and my students on my University’s ‘Blackboard’ virtual learning environment but then I realised that I was spending my time lecturing on Web 2.0 and how we can bypass the traditional authorities and the hierarchies of publishing and expression and not practicing what I preached. I was labouring away to produce content and value for the University that it owned and controlled access to and that I couldn’t take with me. Why not just do it myself: set up an external archive of links to stories, sorted by topic that could act as my own personal searchable database and that all my students could access, not just those registered on that module option – and, indeed, that all students and anyone else could access? So I have.
22nd November 2006
In a recent interview about the newly popular concept of 'Web 2.0', following a spate of mainstream media coverage of Second Life, Wikipedia, and other collaborative creative phenomena in autumn 2006, I found myself mentioning a possible parallel in a 'Media Studies 2.0'. Although I would not like to be introducing a new bit of pointless jargon, the idea seemed like it might have some value - for highlighting a forward-looking slant which builds on what we have already (in the same way that the idea of 'Web 2.0' is useful, even though it does not describe any kind of sequel to the Web, but rather just an attitude towards it, and which in fact was precisely what the Web's inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, intended for it in the first place).
In this article, I thought it might be worth fleshing out what Media Studies 2.0 means, in contrast to the still-popular traditional model.
Outline of Media Studies 1.0
This traditional approach to Media Studies, which is still dominant in most school and university teaching and textbooks, is characterised by:
- A tendency to fetishise 'experts', whose readings of popular culture are seen as more significant than those of other audience members (with corresponding faith in faux-expert non-procedures such as semiotics);
- A tendency to celebrate certain key texts produced by powerful media industries and celebrated by well-known critics;
- The optional extra of giving attention to famous 'avant garde' works produced by artists recognised in the traditional sense, and which are seen as especially 'challenging';
- A belief that students should be taught how to 'read' the media in an appropriate 'critical' style;
- A focus on traditional media produced by major broadcasters, publishers, and movie studios, accompanied (ironically) by a critical resistance to big media institutions, such as Rupert Murdoch's News International, but no particular idea about what the alternatives might be;
- Vague recognition of the internet and new digital media, as an 'add on' to the traditional media (to be dealt with in one self-contained segment tacked on to a Media Studies teaching module, book or degree);
- A preference for conventional research methods where most people are treated as non-expert audience 'receivers', or, if they are part of the formal media industries, as expert 'producers'.
Outline of Media Studies 2.0
This emergent alternative to the traditional approach is characterised by a rejection of much of the above:
- The fetishisation of 'expert' readings of media texts is replaced with a focus on the everyday meanings produced by the diverse array of audience members, accompanied by an interest in new qualitative research techniques;
- The tendency to celebrate certain 'classic' conventional and/or 'avant garde' texts, and the focus on traditional media in general, is replaced with - or at least joined by - an interest in the massive 'long tail' of independent media projects such as those found on YouTube and many other websites, mobile devices, and other forms of DIY media;
- The view of the internet and new digital media as an 'optional extra' is correspondingly replaced with recognition that they have fundamentally changed the ways in which we engage with all media;
- The patronising belief that students should be taught how to 'read' the media is replaced by the recognition that media audiences in general are already extremely capable interpreters of media content, with a critical eye and an understanding of contemporary media techniques, thanks in large part to the large amount of coverage of this in popular media itself;
- Conventional research methods are replaced - or at least supplemented - by new methods which recognise and make use of people's own creativity, and brush aside the outmoded notions of 'receiver' audiences and elite 'producers';
- Conventional concerns with power and politics are reworked in recognition of these points, so that the notion of super-powerful media industries invading the minds of a relatively passive population is compelled to recognise and address the context of more widespread creation and participation.
History and emergence of 'Media Studies 2.0'Media Studies 2.0 is not brand new and has been hinted at by a range of commentators, and connects with a range of phenomena that have been happening for some time. The above attempt to specify 'Media Studies 1.0' and '2.0' is merely an attempt to clarify this shift. Its emergence was suggested, for instance, by comments I made in the introductions to the two different editions of Web Studies, back in 2000 and 2004. In the first edition, under the heading 'Media studies was nearly dead: Long live new media studies', I said: "By the end of the twentieth century, Media Studies research within developed Western societies had entered a middle-aged, stodgy period and wasn't really sure what it could say about things any more. Thank goodness the Web came along".
I argued that Media Studies had become characterised by contrived 'readings' of media texts, an inability to identify the real impact of the media, and a black hole left by the failure of vacuous US-style 'communications science' quantitative research, plus an absence of much imaginative qualitative research. In particular, I said, media studies was looking weak and rather pointless in the face of media producers and stars, including media-savvy politicians, who were already so knowing about media and communications that academic critics were looking increasingly redundant. (The full texts are available at www.newmediastudies.com). I concluded:
"Media studies, then, needed something interesting to do, and fast. Happily, new media is vibrant, exploding and developing… New good ideas and new bad ideas appear every week, and we don't know how it's going to pan out. Even better, academics and students can participate in the new media explosion, not just watch from the sidelines - and we can argue that they have a responsibility to do so. So it's an exciting time again".
In the 2004 edition I reviewed these earlier arguments and noted that: "Most of these things are still true: you wouldn't expect old-school media studies to reinvent itself within three years. But the arrival of new media within the mainstream has had an impact, bringing vitality and creativity to the whole area, as well as whole new areas for exploration (especially around the idea of 'interactivity'). In particular, the fact that it is quite easy for media students to be reasonably slick media producers in the online environment, means that we are all more actively engaged with questions of creation, distribution and audience".
Soon after this book was published, the phrase 'Web 2.0' was coined by Tim O'Reilly. 'Web 2.0' is, as mentioned above, not a replacement for the Web that we know and love, but rather a way of using existing systems in a 'new' way: to bring people together creatively. O'Reilly has described it as 'harnessing collective intelligence'. The spirit of 'Web 2.0' is that individuals should open themselves to collaborative projects instead of seeking to make and protect their 'own' material. The 'ultimate' example at the moment is perhaps Wikipedia, the massive online encyclopedia created collectively by its millions of visitors. (Other examples include craigslist, del.icio.us, and Flickr).
The notion of 'Web 2.0' inspired me to write the above sections defining Media Studies 1.0 and 2.0. Soon afterwards, I checked Google to see if anyone else had tacked '2.0' onto 'Media Studies' to create the same phrase. This revealed an excellent blog produced by William Merrin, a lecturer in Media Studies at University of Wales, Swansea, called 'Media Studies 2.0' and started in November 2006. The blog mostly contains useful posts about new media developments. The first post on the blog, however, makes an excellent argument that Media Studies lecturers need to catch up with their students in the digital world.
Examples of Media Studies 2.0 in practiceInevitably my own experiences spring to mind, as I have attempted to find new ways of exploring people's contemporary media experiences by encouraging creative responses. This began in 1995 when I handed children video cameras to make films about their responses to the environment, instead of just interviewing them (Gauntlett, 1997), and has continued through various projects, culminating most recently in the book Creative Explorations: New approaches to identities and audiences (2007), which describes - amongst other things - my study in which people were invited to build metaphorical models of their identities in Lego.
Other instances of Media Studies 2.0 would include:
- The title of the journal Participations (launched 2003), an 'audience studies' journal that manages to avoid calling them 'audiences' - in its main title at least, although the subtitle 'Journal of Audience and Reception Studies' offers a perhaps inevitable translation into the language we are trying to get away from;
- The forthcoming conference Transforming Audiences, which seeks to undermine its own title by questioning the traditional approach to people who 'produce' media and people who 'use' media;
- Joke Hermes's book Reading Women's Magazines (1995), one of the first texts to demonstrate that Media Studies tended to over-emphasise its own consumption models;
Studies by Sonia Livingstone and by David Buckingham, in the past few years, which have rejected passive models of media consumption;
- More active participation, such as Campaigns Wikia, based on the idea that 'If broadcast media brought us broadcast politics, then participatory media will bring us participatory politics';
- William Merrin's blog, as mentioned above.
I would be very glad to hear of other examples of Media Studies 2.0 practice. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Media Studies 2.0' in the subject line.
Anderson, Chris (2006), The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, London: Hyperion.
Buckingham, David, and Bragg, Sara (2004), Young People, Sex and the Media: The Facts of Life?, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hermes, Joke (1995), Reading Women's Magazines: An Analysis of Everyday Media Use, Cambridge: Polity.
Gauntlett, David (1997), Video Critical: Children, The Environment and Media Power, London: John Libbey. Online version at http://www.artlab.org.uk/videocritical.
Gauntlett, David (2000), 'Web Studies: A User's Guide', in Gauntlett, David, ed., Web.Studies: Rewiring Media Studies for the Digital Age, London: Arnold. Also available at http://www.newmediastudies.com/intro2000.htm.
Gauntlett, David (2004), 'Web Studies: What's New', in Gauntlett, David and Horsley, Ross, eds, Web.Studies, 2nd edition, London: Arnold. Also available at http://www.newmediastudies.com/intro2004.htm.
Gauntlett, David (2005), Moving Experiences, Second edition: Media Effects and Beyond, London: John Libbey.
Gauntlett, David (2007), Creative Explorations: New approaches to identities and audiences, London: Routledge.
Lievrouw, Leah A., and Livingstone, Sonia, eds (2006), The Handbook of New Media: Updated Student Edition, London: Sage.