In Praise of Concept Production

Formats, Schools, and Nonrepresentational Media Studies

Geert Lovink and Ned Rossiter


In this chapter, Lovink and Rossiter argue that the field of media studies has yet to develop a theory of itself. Audience studies investigated fandom and the production of meaning, textual analysis preoccupied itself with signification processes attached to content, and political economy turned its gaze on institutional power. Medium theory, while close to the authors' own interests, still falls short, they argue, because it never changed the dialectic between old and new media or gave the relation a productive twist. Medium theory established a continuum between old and new media without considering how the media form itself gives rise to the production of new concepts. Media studies desperately needs new concept production, the authors argue, based in both online and face-to-face collaborative efforts. To develop new concepts, media researchers should begin with some reflexive mediation, examining how they use their object of study in the research methodology itself. From there, Lovink and Rossiter advocate moving the agenda beyond the analysis of visual representation to mobile media, miniaturization, smart technologies, and the integration of media into urban environments.

What does it reverse or flip into when pushed to the limits of its potential?

(Marshall McLuhan, Laws of Media, 1988)

I have seen the future – and it's not visual.

(Johan Sjerpstra) ...

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