This introduction looks at the history of media production research, seeks axes for the interdisciplinary theorizing of media production, and offers a discussion of the current conjuncture for research on media production. From there I outline the rationale for the volume, its organizing themes and sections.
Media production is frequently the most invisible aspect of our relationships with the media. In the storm of media messages we encounter, we rarely consider where they came from, who made them, and how. The reader who is scanning my words now probably has not considered the creation of the text – the formation of the argument, the production of the book, the reproduction of the book in print and digital formats – much less the politically liberal context for my authorial voice, the economic drives of the academic publishing industry, the continuing culture of individual authorship in the humanities, the ethics of mental labor, and so on. This volume attempts to foreground some of these issues in the study of media.
Even in the annals of scholarship on the media, production and producers frequently take a backseat to other, more primary concerns about the effects of technologies or contents, consumer preferences and user access, or the functionality of the media for democratic or cultural spheres. Although many canonical critiques of mass media addressed production in their criticisms of propaganda (Lippmann, 1922), mass ...