The New Media Theory Reader

The New Media Theory Reader

The New Media Theory Reader

The New Media Theory Reader

Synopsis

The study of new media opens up some of the most fascinating issues in contemporary culture: questions of ownership and control over information and cultural goods; the changing experience of space and time; the political consequences of new communication technologies; and the power of users and consumers to disrupt established economic and business models. The New Media Theory Reader brings together key readings on new media ndash; what it is, where it came from, how it affects our lives, and how it is managed. Using work from media studies, cultural history and cultural studies, economics, law, and politics, the essays encourage readers to pay close attention to the 'new' in new media, as well as considering it as a historical phenomenon. The Reader features a general introduction as well as an editors' introduction to each thematic section, and a useful summary of each reading. The New Media Theory Reader is an indispensable text for students on new media, technology, sociology and media studies courses. Essays by: Andrew Barry, Benjamin R Barber, James Boyle, James Carey, Benjamin Compaine, Noam Cook, Andrew Graham, Nicola Green, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Ian Hunter, Kevin Kelly, Heejin Lee, Lawrence Lessig, Jonathan Liebenau, Jessica Litman, Lev Manovich, Michael Marien Robert W. McChesney David E. Nye, Bruce M Owen Lyman Ray Patterson, Kevin Robins, Ithiel de Sola Pool, David Saunders, Richard Stallman, Cass R. Sunstein, Jeremy Stein, McKenzie Wark, Frank Webster, Dugald Williamson.

Excerpt

The study of new media opens up some of the most fascinating and challenging issues in contemporary culture: questions of ownership and control over information and cultural goods; the changing experience of space and time; the political consequences of new communication technologies; the role of governments in global networks; the power of users and consumers to disrupt established economic and business models. All these topics are vital current issues in economic, social and political life; all of them are also difficult to analyse and understand, because the technologies are fluid, the outcomes are uncertain, and the whole field is characterised by rapid innovation and adaptation.

So where to begin if we are looking for a deeper understanding of new media? Neat categorisations are rarely informative when describing the media, neither are they always the best place to begin a theoretical exploration of the subject. The term new media raises questions from the outset: what is it that is said to be new? What might be particularly useful about theories of new media? One useful thing would be to help us exercise some analytic caution at a time when so much is attributed to the power of new technologies: well into the second decade of the web, the promise of novelty still functions as a demand for attention, for resources, for special dispensations in the world of academic study as well as in the commercially and politically driven world of the media industries.

In selecting material for this book, we have attempted to encourage some detachment from contemporary new media enthusiasms. First, we encourage readers to pay close attention to that adjective ‘new’ and the many meanings it carries. Some writers in this volume see the special quality of new media in its democratic promise; others see it in the individual character of digital communication; others in the transformed social and economic relationships that new media sustain. Second, we aim to draw attention to new media as a historical as well as a contemporary phenomenon. As a number of contributions to this book show, new technologies have a past; and the challenges and problems they present also have histories. Although the term new media is itself a new one, dating back less than 50 years, the issues it raises are not . . .

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