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).



Rethinking Community

For a term that is so over-used in media publics, it is remarkable how under-theorized ‘community’ is today. Since the nineteenth century, when Ferdinand Tönnies formulated what has become the most widely referenced understanding of community, in his Community and Association (1995), little formal analysis of community has been undertaken. And yet a certain regard for community has constantly endured throughout the discourses of modernity as a key term of reference and as a legitimating narrative for the human sciences and civic discourse.

For example, in the documentation of modern field research, ‘community’ is a key identifier for research into ‘impact assessment’. The destination of such ‘impacts’, whether they are of electronic media, urban developments or just about any governmental policy it is possible ...

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