A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies

By Klaus Bruhn Jensen | Go to book overview

11

Contexts, cultures, and computers

The cultural contexts of mediated communication

Klaus Bruhn Jensen
• a definition of key concepts relating media to the rest of society: context and culture
• a review of studies concerning different levels of the cultural contexts of media: national, local, intercultural, and global
• an examination of research on subcultures, cultural imperialism, and postcolonialism
• a special section on computer media and virtual cultures.

FROM MEDIA, TO COMMUNICATION, TO CULTURES

Contextualization and recontextualization

An important characteristic of ‘media’ research around 2000 has been a renewed emphasis on the practices of ‘communication.’ Information and communication technologies support multiple forms of interaction at many levels of the social structure. Neither theoretically nor empirically can the media be understood as separate entities - add-ons or plug-ins. Instead, the technological media are necessary infrastructural resources in maintaining and structuring modern societies (Giddens 1984; Thompson 1995).

The moments of mutual constitution, concrete interchange, and structuration may be examined as ‘contexts.’ These contexts extend

far beyond the stages of impact of media on particular audiences.

contexts as nexus between media, cultures, and societies

This chapter reviews selected research traditions which examine the geographical, technological, institutional, and discursive contexts of media - linkages between media and the rest of the social structure (even while not all of these traditions may subscribe to the meta-theoretical perspective of ‘contexts’). The logic of the presentation proceeds from subcultures and communities, via the nation-state as an essentially modern context that has depended upon print and broadcast technologies, to issues of transnationalism and postcolonialism. The final section examines the (still unresolved) status of those social ‘contexts’ which are established in and of computer media networks. While frequently at odds with each other in their theoretical and political assumptions, each tradition has been important in addressing questions of media impact and determination, not at the level of individual response or socialization, but at the institutional and cultural levels of social structuration.

From the classic question regarding the relative determination of social life by either economic, political, or cultural factors, follows the question of how the media, in particular, affect and respond to their various social contexts. The distinctive, reflexive function of media may be summed up, first, as ‘contextualization.’ The media relate issues and events in the world to each other, and allow audiences to contemplate

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A Handbook of Media and Communication Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I - History 13
  • 2 - The Humanities in Media and Communication Research 15
  • 3 - Media, Culture and Modern Times 40
  • Part II - Systematics 59
  • 4 - The Production of Media Fiction 62
  • 5 - The Production of News 78
  • 6 - The Study of International News 91
  • 7 - Discourses of Fact 98
  • 8 - Mediated Fiction 117
  • 9 - Media Effects 138
  • 10 - Media Reception 156
  • 11 - Contexts, Cultures, and Computers 171
  • 12 - History, Media and Communication 191
  • Part III - Practice 207
  • 13 - The Quantitative Research Process 209
  • 14 - The Qualitative Research Process 235
  • 15 - The Complementarity of Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies in Media and Communication Research 254
  • 16 - The Social Origins and Uses of Media and Communication Research 273
  • References 294
  • Index 326
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