In the Company of Media: Cultural Constructions of Communication, 1920s-1930s


In the Company of Media advances the idea of a new media history that has its roots in the cultural discourse of society where it privileges the articulation of media uses and practices. It contains a number of essays that address the rise of new technologies- such as radio and photography- and the transformation of old ones- such as newspapers- during the 1920s and 1930s, a period of social and political change in the United States, Germany, and the Soviet Union. How do artists, writers, and journalists articulate a new media culture? What happens when media are separated from their institutional definitions and reconstructed in ways that reflect the specific needs or purposes of their users? And what are the images of media that appear in the respective public narratives of a culture?The book offers examples of cultural constructions of communication in a modern world. They range from the place of newspapers in urban America, the transformation of news work in the Soviet Union, and the conditions of photojournalism in Germany, to explanations of radio, both in the United States and Germany. The resulting texts- informed by artistic expressions and social commentaries- constitute surface phenomena of a culture in the margins of dominant explanations of media uses and practices. Their appearance constitutes the articulated consciousness of an increasing media presence in the discourse of society and is a response to the rise of new means of communication. By proffering the potential of a decentered media history, the book suggests a turn from institutional explanations to cultural expressions of media uses and practices at specific historical moments of a societal discourse.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Boulder, CO
Publication year:
  • 2000


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