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.

Technological Determinism

Technological determinism

Few have ever labelled themselves technological determinists but, once recognized, we can see that technological determinism (TD) is a pervasive commonsensical assumption. It is the view that technologies achieve dramatic effects on society of their own accord. ‘Technology’ and ‘society’ are so thought of as more or less separate entities. It is important to remember that TD is a pejorative critical term, usually employed as a criticism of others.

Raymond Williams has provided what is certainly the most influential definition of TD employed within media studies. The following much-cited passage sets the scene for this discussion as well as the related concept of cultural form (Williams, 1974a: 13):

It is an immensely powerful and ...

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