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Combining empirical studies and theoretical reflections, the volume offers a well-founded approach to the growing influence of media on our present lives.



Mediatized Worlds — Understanding Everyday Mediatization

1. Mediatized Worlds — Understanding Everyday Mediatization

While mediatization as a concept is nothing new in media and communication research, it has recently emerged as an international term: in 2GGS, Sonia Livingstone referred to ‘mediatization’ in her address as president of the International Communications Association (ICA) when she reflected the increasing ‘mediation of everything’ and its relation to changing approaches of media and communication research (Livingstone, 2GG9). Various panels and papers at the recent ICA conferences referred to ‘mediatization’ as a research-guiding concept. And, in 2G11/12, the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) set up a working group on mediatization. In addition to this, various special issues relating to the concept have been published over the past few years. For example, a special issue of Communications: European Journal for Communication Research (2G1G, 35(3)) focused on empirical perspectives on mediatization, an issue of Culture and Religion (2G11, 12(2)) on the mediatization of religion debate, an issue of Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication (2G13, 3(2)) on mediatization as part of more general ‘media processes’, a thematic issue of MedieKultur on mediatization and cultural change (2G13, 29 (54)), and, most recently, an issue of Communication Theory (2G13, 23(3)) on conceptualizing mediatization. In addition, Knut Lundby (2GG9c) edited the book Mediatization: Concepts, Changes, Consequences to present international reflections on mediatization across various research fields.

Andreas Hepp, Friedrich Krotz

Rethinking Mediatization


2. Mediatized Stories in Mediatized Worlds

Youth use digital media for self-representations in different life settings, and young people practise ‘digital storytelling’ in particular ‘mediatized worlds’. This book aims to explore the extent to which contemporary social worlds and lifeworlds are mediatized. The international Mediatized stories project may throw light on digital storytelling in mediatized worlds, and the dimensions of mediatized worlds — as laid out in the introduction to this volume — may help analyze findings from the Mediatized stories research. This is the double ambition of this chapter: to locate digital storytelling in mediatized worlds and to reinterpret those mediatized stories with the analytical categories of mediatized worlds.

Knut Lundby

3. Culturalizing Mediatization

The term ‘mediation’ denotes that something functions as a linking device between different entities. Media are socially organized technologies made for being used in the practices of communication that are prime examples of such mediating processes. ‘Mediatization’ refers to some kind of historical process whereby such media ‘increasingly come to saturate society, culture, identities and everyday life’ (Fornas, 1995, p. 1).1 However, there are many difficulties hidden in this concept of mediatization. Some of these issues will be identified and discussed here, in an effort to help clarify how the idea of mediatization can be made useful for transdisciplinary studies of contem-porary media processes, with a focus on the value of revitalizing culturally oriented approaches.

Johan Fornäs

4. When Mediatization Hits the Ground

How best can we think about the effects of media institutions’ existence on the space of the social, that is, on the underlying possibilities of social organization? I use the term ‘the space of the social’ not primarily in a geographical sense, but simply to refer to the whole mass of ways in which the social is organized. That is the question I want to discuss in this chapter. I will stay close to social theory, because there are some issues around mediatization’s relationship to social theory that need, I believe, to be sorted out. I will work towards resolving them, in part, by returning to some earlier work of mine on media meta-capital but also through a wider assessment of where mediatization research stands today.1

Nick Couldry

5. Media, Mediatization and Mediatized Worlds: A Discussion of the Basic Concepts

The discourse about mediatization (cf. Lundby, 2009) is still an open one. Different labels, different definitions and different ideas are being used. Also, there are a lot of open questions about how to do empirical research on mediatization, what to research exactly, and which methods and procedures to use.

Friedrich Krotz

Mediatization and New Media


6. Mediatized Connectivity: Historical Traits of Telephony and Theoretical Considerations about a New Dispositive of Communication

We are currently witnessing a process of mediatization which is, in turn, establishing a new dispositive of communication. Emerging out of the realm of mobile communication, techno-cultural developments have laid the foundation for a new status of ‘perpetual contact’ (Katz and Aakhus, 2002, p. 2), which is now on its way to a further extension as processes of convergence between the fields of mobile communication, the global infrastructure of the internet and additional applications of ubiquitous computing are setting new frameworks for communication. Today, we find the individual embedded within a structure of permanent connectivity, which on the one hand offers new chances for participation in media and communication structures, but on the other hand carries implied constraints and risks within a new communication structure that we can identify as a dispositive of ‘mediatized connectivity’.

Thomas Steinmaurer

7. Intensifying Mediatization: Everyware Media

The notion of mediatization, as recent as it is — still taking shape, in fact, with competing definitions — is nevertheless a concept that labels what are fast becoming past developments. Other terms already push beyond it. Roger Silverstone’s mediapolis (2006) and Mark Deuze’s media life (2011 and in this volume) imply another step in the mediatization process. Mediatization recognizes the emergence of the media as a full-fledged, independent institutional realm, while other institutions necessarily operate interdependently with the media. The ontology of mediapolis or media life, however, grows out of intensifying conditions of media ubiquity, portability, personalization and, most of all, invisibility. When the media are everywhere and used for nearly everything, they lose their familiar distinctiveness as material devices, discrete services and social practices. Instead, they become embedded, inter-twined and increasingly hidden. And their use begins to surpass simulation to become an extended social reality and augmented sensory and cognitive experience.2

James Miller

8. From Mediation to Mediatization: The Institutionalization of New Media

Within both scholarly research and wider public debate, profound influence on contemporary cultural and social affairs — positively and negatively — is attributed to new media, such as the internet and mobile phones. New media are regarded as either revolutionizing or significantly transforming culture and society, at both the level of global political power and the level of intimate human relationships. At the macro level of social affairs, Castells (2009) suggests that the internet allows a historically new form of ‘mass selfcommunication’ that may reconfigure the distribution and exercise of power in the network society. At the micro level of social affairs, Turkle (2011) provides a very critical view of new media and emphasizes that social relationships suffer in an online world: ‘The ties we form through the internet are not, in the end, the ties that bind. But they are the ties that preoccupy […] We defend connectivity as a way to be close, even as we effectively hide from each other’ (pp. 280–1). New media are also transforming older forms of mass communication, such as broadcasting and journalism, to the extent that we are witnessing a paradigmatic shift in mediated communication. Deuze (2007) prophesies that ‘journalism as it is, is coming to an end. The boundaries between journalism and other forms of public communication […] are vanishing, the internet makes all other types of news media rather obsolete’ (p. 141).

Stig Hjarvard

Mediatized Communities


9. Benedict in Berlin: The Mediatization of Religion

For a long time, it has been known that, when studying religion, one must consider the role of the media. In fact, one could argue that the science of religion started with the insight made into the difference between orality and literacy in the 19th century. As the science of religion and its literate objects have been more congruent, it took some time for the role of the electronic mass media to be accounted for. However, within the last decade, we have witnessed a rapid increase of studies in the media. Such studies include ‘electronic’ mass media but, recently, also consider ‘internet’ and digital media (Hoesgard, 2005; Krüger, 2012).

Hubert Knoblauch

10. Technology, Place and Mediatized Cosmopolitanism

The past two decades of media and communication studies have been dominated by a research agenda marked by an overwhelming attention paid to two phenomena: technological change and globalization. The study of digitalization and personalization of technology, particularly in its earlier phase, focused primarily on the emancipatory potential of information and communication technologies, or ICTs (e.g., Plant, 1997; Splender, 1995). While later research incorporated a more down-to-earth appreciation of technology, technological determinism continues to be reinvoked by way of casting new media tools as powerful agents of social change. This leads to the production of reductionist visions, particularly during times of perceived technological breakthrough (such as the Arab Spring and the case of Wikileaks), and a narrow conception of the mediatized worlds, which we find ourselves in today. Likewise, earlier theories of globalization foregrounded mediated and imagined dimensions (e.g., Appadurai, 1996; Beck, 2004; Castells, 2012; Rantanen, 2005) as well as cultural fusion and flows, with material aspects and complexities of ‘the everyday’ often overlooked or underplayed. One reason for this is cookie-cutter approaches to both globalization and technological change. Another is lack of empirical studies to support grand theoretical claims.

Miyase Christensen

11. Mediatized Worlds of Communitization: Young People as Localists, Centrists, Multi-localists and Pluralists

The role of the media in ‘communities’ and ‘community-building’ has been a fundamental question since the beginning of media and communication research. However, the focus of this research had mainly been the single community as such. To take some examples, one line of investigation has been the role of the media in building up the imagined community of the nation; another, the media as a reference point of fan cultures or certain scenes. More recently there has been increasing research on new forms of community-building in the internet and social web.

Andreas Hepp, Matthias Berg, Cindy Roitsch

Mediatization and Private Life


12. Media Life and the Mediatization of the Lifeworld

In 20th-century discussions about the colonization of the lifeworld by the systemworld (and vice versa), the ongoing mediatization of everyday life has gone barely noticed, to the extent that media are so pervasive and ubiquitous that they disappear. It is exactly the invisibility of media — their disappearance into natural user interfaces, the vanishing of concrete uses through convergence and portability, and their evaporation as the infrastructures of everyday interactions — that alerts us to their profound prominence. In this chapter, I will trace the unseen disappearance of media into the lifeworld, and explore how we can still ‘see’ media even if they have become invisible, turning the lifeworld into a lived experience of a completely medi-atized, multisensory, two-way interactive environment. This is not the Star Trek holodeck, nor is it The Matrix — as such habitats still pre-suppose a way out. It is argued that the mediatization of the lifeworld does not have an exit, nor does it inevitably lead to social cohesion or solitude. Instead, I like to argue that the mediatization of the lifeworld does pose a more or less new ethical and aesthetic challenge considering our being in the world.

Mark Deuze

13. Media Love: Intimacy in Mediatized Worlds

When we fall in love, we connect to the other person in multiple ways. Many of these connections involve media. We go to the cinema together or we watch television, listen to music or play a computer game; we increasingly have photographs in common; we compare (consciously and unconsciously) our relationship with those we see in literature, film and television; and when we are not together, we use various media technologies to close down the space between us. This use of media allows our connection to intensify, and it is this intensification that in part allows others and ourselves to recognize that we are in love.1 Although we call this Media Love,2 we certainly do not think that media have successfully colonized contemporary practices of romantic love. Many aspects of a romantic relationship do not involve a direct connection with media. Nonetheless, our research shows that contemporary romantic practice has become entangled in, and almost unthinkable without, media. There can be little doubt that people increasingly, and actively, use media as part of the architecture and choreography of a romantic relationship.

John Storey, Katy McDonald

14. The Meaning of Home in the Context of Digitization, Mobilization and Mediatization

Arguing for the lasting relevance of the home as meaning-giving sphere of media communications does not seem very popular these days. With the emergence, pervasion and increased centrality of online media and mobile technologies, the research focus of many communication scholars has been aimed at mobility rather than locality, and on networks rather than places. This is mainly due to the liberation of media from their physical restrictions that has characterized the better part of media innovations in the last two decades. As a consequence, the use of media technologies is no longer bound to well-defined settings, as was common for most of the last century when the television had its permanent place in the centre of the living room, and the telephone was considered perfectly placed in the entrance hall. Nowadays, media communications of all different kinds have shifted into the public sphere, permeating a plethora of places and cultural spaces. By using devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs, people can connect to their friends and families and have access to media content and online services from anywhere in the world. This has brought about several changes for the perception and understanding of the outside world which have increasingly become subject to negotiations and customizations by the media users. It is often overlooked, however, that significant changes are also taking effect within the home.

Corinna Peil, Jutta Röser

Mediatization in Organizational Contexts


15. Mediatized Politics — Structures and Strategies of Discursive Participation and Online Deliberation on Twitter

In today’s social environments, many activities implying the construction of cultural and social meaning are intrinsically tied to media. It is not only the interpersonal level of communication that has been shaped by technological innovations like e-mail, instant messaging or chat (Thimm, 2008); but so have complex societal processes. Whether in politics, economy or business, media traverse the whole society. They are part of the transformation of the public sphere and interwoven within the differentiation of new communication structures and segments. Consequently, media development and societal changes have to be seen as closely connected processes. The concept of mediatization offers an approach to explain the reciprocal impact of media on groups and persons, but it also sheds light on structures and processes within public, political, secular, institutional and private spheres and in daily life (see the contributions in Lundby, 2009). As Krotz (2001; 2007) points out, mediatization is one of the pivotal ‘metaprocesses’ by which social and cultural changes can be described and explained: ‘Today, globalization, individualization, mediatization and the growing importance of the economy, which we here call commercialization, can be seen as the relevant metaprocesses that influence democracy and society, culture, politics and other conditions of life over the longer term’ (Krotz, 2007, p. 257).

Caja Thimm, Mark Dang-Anh, Jessica Einspänner

16. The Quantified Listener: Reshaping Providers and Audiences with Calculated Measurements

Various relationships between providers, audiences and other participants of cultural production are changing today. In the case of platforms that offer their users recommendations for pieces of music, formerly unknown artists are providing a fan base detached from the traditional mainstream of the music industry. While these artists were previously only able to establish a niche as an alternative to mainstream distribution, today they are being culturally re-evaluated. We argue that this is due to changing practices when calculating user activities of online services, which we understand as an important, but quite often overlooked, aspect of the complex meta-process of mediatization (Krotz, 2001; 2009). Similarly to the traditional mass-media approach of constructing a dependable audience through statistical measurements, online services rely on complex computer-assisted techniques and methods to construct their specific audiences. But today every single activity on the net is also a quantifiable and measurable piece of data: whoever uses the net inevitably leaves traces, a huge and harvestable amount of data. When services use this, it is really in only the rarest cases for profiling single and individual users. Mostly they form comparisons by looking for similarities and differences between user collectives. These new forms of quantifying the listener do not try to establish an average taste to recommend a compatible range of average mass culture.

Jan-Hendrik Passoth, Tilmann Sutter, Josef Wehner

17. Schools as Mediatized Worlds from a Cross-cultural Perspective

If we think about education in the 21st century, we can identify a process of continuous change that is happening globally. Schools, in particular, are under constant reform pressure — from the Education Reform Act in the UK (1988), to ‘No Child Left Behind’ in the USA, (2001) to post-PISA in Germany (Programme for International Student Assessment). Furthermore, these processes are intertwined with meta-processes such as mediatization, globalization or commercialization. In order to understand the transformation of education, we need to understand the complex interplay between organizational reform (devolution, school autonomy and accountability) and changing media and their role in communication. The first is mainly induced by political pressure on the macro level, as well as on the micro level by parents. The second influences, and is influenced by, the way in which children learn and teachers teach, that is, communicate — inside and outside the classroom — and how administrators manage a school on the meso level. Hence, the traditional perspective of the functional distinction between the three levels of educational governance (Altrichter, Brusemeister and Wissinger, 2007) underestimates the process perspective across the levels, which is described by the meta-process of ‘mediatization’ (e.g., Hepp, 2013; Hjarvard, 2012;Krotz, 2007;2009;Lundby, 2009).

Andreas Breiter



18. Mediatization: Concluding Thoughts and Challenges for the Future

Mediatization is a theory. Or, perhaps more accurately, mediatization is a word that brings together scholars who are engaged in an international conversation about the role of communication technologies in relation to social and cultural change. The scholars who have contributed to this volume have been actively engaged in this conversation.

Lynn Schofield Clark


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