Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

The Changing World of Media & Communication


Vineet Kaul

For whom and for what should we mobilize communication and media to address the complexity of current global conditions? Because communication has an ambiguous potential, the assumption that it always does good needs to be problematized. On the one hand, if and when understood and framed as a social right and a dialogic practice, communication can facilitate the recognition of others, enable meaningful social attachments and afford what Paulo Freire once called ”the practice of freedom”. On the other hand, in line with media’s role as central component of the deployment of neoliberal capitalism, communication can break people apart, ignite conflict and promote increasingly individualized and consumerist forms of existence. What is the implication, if everything ‘important’ is discussed in the media? How do communities change if we are connected via the social web? And what is the impact of all these media taken together? Questions like these are reflected when discussing the mediatization of our present life worlds. The core argument is that we have to grasp our present ‘worlds’ as being ‘mediatized’. The increasing ‘mediation of everything’ impacts the way we articulate cultures and societies on various levels: our everyday living and community building, the way we entertain ourselves, how we live religion, the forms of our political participation as well as our constructions of ethnicity. Such a mediatization of life worlds has to be understood as something transmedial: It is not solely related to ‘mass communication’, but includes at the same time various other forms of mediated communication; for example, communication via the Internet, mobile phones and newer forms of ‘intelligent’ communication systems. This means we have to develop an integrative approach which considers the different forms of media communication in their relevance for articulating present cultures and societies. Conceptualising ‘mediatization’ in the frame of ‘mediatized worlds’ means that present cultures and societies are mediatized in the sense that media are constitutive for them and that their reality construction is highly ‘moulded’ by various media. This also entails that media are articulated as a ‘cultural centrality’: what counts as important within these cultures are the things which are communicated by the media - not only as celebrities, but also in everyday life. However, mediatized worlds are highly dispersed, which is the level where we can carefully investigate them. To do this, we have to look not only at the communicative and social networks people build across various media, but also at the communicative figurations build in total.

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