Mediaspace: Place, Scale, and Culture in a Media Age

Mediaspace: Place, Scale, and Culture in a Media Age

Mediaspace: Place, Scale, and Culture in a Media Age

Mediaspace: Place, Scale, and Culture in a Media Age


Media Space explores the importance of ideas of space and place to understanding the ways in which we experience the media in our everyday lives. Essays from leading international scholars address the kinds of space created by media and the effects that spacial arrangements have on media forms. Case studies focus on a wide variety of subjects and locales, from in-flight entertainment to mobile media such as personal stereos and mobile phones, and from the electronic spaces of the Internet to the shopping mall.


Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy

Through every human being, unique space, intimate space, opens up to the world.

(Rilke, quoted in Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, 1969:202)

We live inside a set of relations that delineates sites which are irreducible to one another.

(Foucault, 'Of Heterotopias', 1986:23)

This book is an interdisciplinary project that brings together work in media and cultural studies, drawing on geographical theories and spatially articulated methodologies. Linking the chapters is the proposition that media, particularly electronic media, and the social processes that shape our perception and use of space are allied phenomena. In these links, we can read the complexity of contemporary social life. One could almost call media and space the obverse of each other, necessarily connected but, as Foucault says, 'irreducible to one another'. Hence the term 'MediaSpace'. As electronic media increasingly saturate our everyday spaces with images of other places and other (imagined or real) orders of space, it is ever more difficult to tell a story of social space without also telling a story of media, and vice versa.

There are, however, no easy symmetries. The spatial orders that media systems construct and enforce are highly complicated, unevenly developed and multi-scaled. In this respect, the development of electronic media is a spatial process intertwined with the development of regimes of accumulation in capitalism. 'Rather than creating a homogeneous space of operation,' notes television historian Michael Curtin, 'communication technologies have made capital more mobile and hence even more sensitive to the differences between places' (2000:52). This flexible and fractured spatial order, in turn, through its silent regulation of media flows, affects the terms on which media narratives can matter, where, and to whom, even if the implicit spatiality of media is hard to recognize in the 'space' of the media text.

Together, the chapters in this volume fill out, both in theory and in case studies, a conceptual realm we call MediaSpace. MediaSpace is a dialectical

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