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A Companion to New Media Dynamics by Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, John Hartley

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Chapter 1

Media Studies and New Media Studies

Sean Cubitt

History and Geography

Media studies lies at a crossroads between several disciplines, as reflected in the multiple names of academic departments dealing in media. This typically undisciplined discipline arose in a concatenation, still unresolved, of scholars from several traditions in the humanities and social sciences—ethnographers of everyday life, US and European communications scholars, interpersonal and commercial communications specialists, literary scholars, sociologists of subcultures—and today includes a range of activities whose approaches include economics and political economy, regulation, technology, textual analysis, aesthetics, and audience studies. There is no single canon of defining theoretical works, and only a loose assumption as to which media are to be studied, often defined by institutional matters: which media are studied may be circumscribed by the existence of journalism, pubishing, photography, or music schools claiming title to those media forms, as more frequently art history, literary, and linguistic studies bracket off their specific media formations. By media studies we presume the study of the technical media as they have arisen since the nineteenth century, in four broad categories: print, recording, broadcasting, and telecommunications. Given the typical shapes of neighboring disciplines studying specific media such as literature and music, a common concentration has been on industry, governance, ...

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