• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book offers an introduction to communication theory that is appropriate to our post-broadcast, interactive media environment. The author contrasts the 'first media age' of broadcast with the 'second media age' of interactivity. Communication Theory argues that the different kinds of communication dynamics found in cyberspace demand a reassessment of the methodologies used to explore media, as well as new understandings of the concepts of interaction and community (virtual communities and broadcast communities).

Interaction Versus Integration
Interaction versus integration

In this chapter I will explore the difference between modern, extended forms of communication as forms of ‘social interaction’ and as forms of ‘social integration’. To do this it is necessary to also distinguish between ‘transport’ views of communication, whose interest is in interaction, and ‘ritual’ views of communication, which are interested in communication as the basis of a form of community or social integration such as a virtual (Internet) or audience (broadcast) community.

The philosophy of communication which underwrites the transport view will be assessed and the range of kinds of interaction which this view conjectures will be surveyed. Thereafter, the idea of ‘mediation’–that media are distinguishable by the fact that they are said to mediate interaction–is investigated. This view, ...

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