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.


Few concepts that have entered daily usage since the Second World War have been as imprecise and broadranging as ‘postmodernism’. Disagreements about when ‘postmodernism’ begins and ends, whether it is solely an aesthetic movement or a total cultural revolution in Western modernities, have never been resolved.

In range, ‘postmodernism’ doubles as a term for an aesthetic movement in architecture, art, literature and film as well as an intellectual movement in the human sciences, sometimes used interchangeably with poststructuralism. Its most popular usage, however, is for denoting a social form – postmodernity.


Postmodernity is thought of as a distinct break from the period of Western modernity, as well as the decline of the grand narratives and aspirations towards totality ...

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