Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society
Scholars from communication and media studies join those from science and technology studies to examine media technologies as complex, sociomaterial phenomena.
In recent years, scholarship around media technologies has finally shed the assumption that these technologies are separate from and powerfully determining of social life, looking at them instead as produced by and embedded in distinct social, cultural, and political practices. Communication and media scholars have increasingly taken theoretical perspectives originating in science and technology studies (STS), while some STS scholars interested in information technologies have linked their research to media studies inquiries into the symbolic dimensions of these tools. In this volume, scholars from both fields come together to advance this view of media technologies as complex sociomaterial phenomena.
The contributors first address the relationship between materiality and mediation, considering such topics as the lived realities of network infrastructure. The contributors then highlight media technologies as always in motion, held together through the minute, unobserved work of many, including efforts to keep these technologies alive.
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In fact, over time, approaches within STS that privileged the social side of the
sociotechnical framework faced important challenges from advocates of a more
dialectical, mutual-shaping, or co-production perspective, where artifacts and
Only secondarily, if at all, are material artifacts and devices themselves
considered to have anything like a parallel power to influence human action,
society, and culture, or do scholars insist as strongly on the influence or “agency”
of material ...
Nonetheless, once technological systems become stabilized and acquire
momentum, the artifacts generated by and ... notes, “This durable artifact acted
over time like a magnetic field, attracting plans and projects suited to its
Second, all the frameworks, to varying degrees, emphasize the heterogeneity of
technology, that is, as a multifaceted and dynamic phenomenon that entails and
imbricates not just artifacts, social practices and relationships, and knowledge, ...
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Part II The People Practices and Promises of Information Networks