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Media TechnologiesEssays on Communication, Materiality, and Society$
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Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262525374

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262525374.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Media Technologies

Tarleton Gillespie

Pablo J. Boczkowski

Kirsten A. Foot

The MIT Press

The once distinct intellectual trajectories of communication & media studies and science & technology studies have begun to gather around a common purpose: to understand media technologies as complex, socio-material phenomena. However, efforts to develop this conversation struggle against the residual force of two historical tendencies. First, in communication and media scholarship, the overwhelming focus has been on the meaning of texts, the industries that produce them, and the viewers that consume them; the materiality of texts, devices, and networks has been understudied. Second, STS scholars have until recently largely overlooked media technologies, preferring to study technologies of industrial and knowledge production, and information technologies only when they fit this mold. However, conceptual intersections between these trajectories afford fruitful intellectual exchanges. So what should come next? The chapters in this volume intend to serve as foundational starting points for a new set of questions going forward. They urge scholars of media technologies to attend to the linkages between the symbolic elements of media and the materiality of its artifacts, and to look beneath the artifacts and within the networks to where people construct, maintain, and ultimately disassemble these socio-material things.

Keywords:   media, technology, materiality, communication, science & technology studies (STS), mediation, society, information, culture

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