• The Trials of Media Research

    Author(s):
    Jefferson Pooley (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    Cultural Studies
    Subject(s):
    Media studies, Media sociology
    Item Type:
    Blog Post
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6028PC6Z
    Abstract:
    Media research is a vexing enterprise. Trapped in the borderlands between social science and the humanities, the study of media and communication bears the liabilities of both. We have to contend with all the challenges that sociologists and literary scholars face: the subjective baggage of the analyst, her struggle to interpret unstable meanings, the strange fact that her descriptions double back on the reality she purports to merely describe. Those are our challenges too, but we face them with special ferocity. The stuff that we study—internet memes, for example, or self-learning algorithms—are characterized by ceaseless churn. Even the categories we use, like “audience” or “content” or “producer,” get washed away by the pace of change. There is nothing fixed or frozen to linger on; everything we study is on the move, looping, dynamic, and messy. The word itself, “media,” gets at this fundamental instability: a medium is something in between, the airy space in the interstices of solider things.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Online publication    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    5 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-ShareAlike
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