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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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“What Do We Want?” “Materiality!” “When Do We Want It?” “Now!”

“What Do We Want?” “Materiality!” “When Do We Want It?” “Now!”

(p.119) 6 “What Do We Want?” “Materiality!” “When Do We Want It?” “Now!”
Media Technologies

Jonathan Sterne

The MIT Press

This article reviews essays by Pablo Boczkowski and Ignacio Siles, Leah Lievrouw, Finn Brunton and Gabriella Coleman, and Geoffrey Bowker. It argues that, in several areas of media studies and science and technology studies, scholars have gone off in search of materiality as a grounding term for their work. Yet there is little agreement as to the actual referent of the term materiality; it signals several traditions that sometimes contradict one another. In addition to giving an account of the confusion around the term, this paper offers a history of the constructivism against which many new materialists rebel, arguing that whatever epistemological position we want to take up, the political questions raised by the constructivists are still with us today.

Keywords:   materiality, material turn, constructivism, science and technology studies (STS), media studies

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