This book covers the key concepts central to understanding recent developments in media and communications studies. Wide-ranging in scope and accessible in style it sets out a useful, clear map of the important theories, methods, and debates.

The entries critically explore the limits of a key concept as much as the traditions that define it. They include clear definitions, are introduced within the wider context of the field and each one is fully cross-referenced, is clearly illustrated with relevant examples, and provides a guide to further reading and an index.

This book is an essential resource for students in media and communications and for those studying sociology, cultural sociology, cultural studies, and sociology of media.



The challenge of explaining the concept of media or medium relates to the fact that it has different meanings for audiences, media consumers, media producers and media theorists.

Three Metaphors for Media

In commonsense usage, ‘media’ is regarded as the plural of ‘medium’. Nevertheless, there are several orthodox ways in which both media and medium are conceptualized, the dominant one being conduit. In this definition, a medium is likened to a container or vessel, a ‘means of connection’ or means of carriage between interactants. For such a metaphor to work, a strong distinction is drawn between the container and its content, which are radically separated, with a privileging of content.

Typically, when we ...

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