The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media
What role was played by communication media in the formation of modern societies? How should we understand the social impact of new forms of ... Show synopsis What role was played by communication media in the formation of modern societies? How should we understand the social impact of new forms of communication and information diffusion, from the advent of printing in 15th-century Europe to the expansion of global communication networks today? This work addresses these and other questions by elaborating a distinctive social theory of communication media and their impact. It argues that the development of communication media has transformed the spatial and temporal constitution of social life, creating new forms of action and interaction which are no longer linked to the sharing of a common locale. The consequences of this transformation are far-reaching and impinge on many aspects of our lives, from the most intimate aspects of personal experience and self-formation to the changing nexus of power and visibility in the public domain. Drawing on the work of social and political theorists, cultural historians and communication researchers, this book develops its argument through a careful analysis of: the rise of mediated interaction; the creation of new forms of mediated visibility; the emergence of global communication networks; the transformation of tradition; the reshaping of the process of self-formation; and the changing nature of the public sphere. This book situates the study of the media where it belongs among a set of disciplines concerned with the emergence, development and structural characteristics of modern societies and their futures.