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.



‘Modern’ is an unusually distinctive signifier. It was one of Raymond Williams’ central keywords – arguably the most central to his later work. Some keywords for Williams’ historical semantics signify key points around which other keywords cluster. Modern is plainly one of those. So, unlike a key concept, the possibilities of ambiguity and contestation of meaning are extremely high. There can be little prospect of pointing to an intellectual consensus concerning a core definition of it. Nor is ‘modern’ a mere precursor concept of postmodern(ism), even when limited to its aesthetic sense. Moreover, we have taken ‘modern’ as our defining term for this entry so that we can point to its central ambiguity, ...

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