Constituents of a Theory of Media

TitleConstituents of a Theory of Media
Publication TypeBook Chapter
AuthorsEnzensberger, HM
EditorCaldwell, JT
Book TitleElectronic Media and Technoculture
Chapter2 (pg 51-76)
PublisherRutgers University Press
CityNew Brunswick
Constituents, electronic, media, media theory, theory

Never before has the future been so systematically envisioned, aggressively analyzed, and grandly theorized as in the present rush to cyberspace and digitalization. In the mid-twentieth century, questions about media technologies and society first emerged as scholarly hand-wringing about the deleterious sweep of electronic media and information technologies in mass culture. Now, questions about new technologies and their social and cultural impact are no longer limited to intellectual soothsayers in the academy but are pervasive parts of day-to-day discourses in newspapers, magazines, television, and film.

Electronic Media and Technoculture anchors contemporary discussion of the digital future within a critical tradition about the media arts, society, and culture. The collection examines a range of phenomena, from boutique cyber-practices to the growing ubiquity of e-commerce and the internet. The essays chart a critical field in media studies, providing a historical perspective on theories of new media. The contributors place discussions of producing technologies in dialogue with consuming technologies, new media in relation to old media, and argue that digital media should not be restricted to the constraining public discourses of either the computer, broadcast, motion-picture, or internet industries. The collection charts a range of theoretical positions to assist readers interested in new media and to enable them to weather the cycles of hardware obsolescence and theoretical volatility that characterize the present rush toward digital technologies.