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Media Evolution and Cultural Change: Discussing Medium Theory and Mediatization

International Workshop
Media Evolution and Cultural Change

Workshop on September 3, 2011 at the University of Bremen

We live in “mediatized worlds“: Lifestyles, work and leisure, identity and relationship, culture and society are increasingly shaped by media. Communication nowadays is deeply converged with media technologies. Renowned experts in the field of Medium Theory and Mediatization Theory discuss how media of communication evolved with regards to their importance for cultural and social change.

Medium Theory, as it is well known, refers to the work of Harold Innis, Marshall McLuhan, Walter Ong, Jack Goody, Joshua Meyrowitz, and others. In contrast to the dominant paradigm of media effects in communication studies, medium theorists analyse the influence of different types of Media on culture and society. It is closely related to the field of media ecology.

The Mediatization approach assumes a long-term meta process called Mediatization by the ongoing development of media. This meta process is grounded in the modification of communication as the basic practice of how people construct the social and cultural world: communicative action becomes mediated, as people more and more use media and depend on media. Here, it is analysed how these processes work and how they can become theoretically grasped. 

The workshop aimed to bring together leading theorists to discuss new perspectives at the intersection of media evolution and cultural change. This is one of the rare occasions that Joshua Meyrowitz, an international authority in communication theory, comes to Europe. Beside the keynotes there was also a roundtable discussion with Lynn Schofield Clark and further participants.

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Contact information:

University of Bremen
ZeMKI, Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research
Iren Schulz
Linzer Str. 4
28359 Bremen, Germany
Phone: +49-421-218-67629
E-Mail: iren.schulz[at]uni-bremen.de