Media Anthropology represents a convergence of issues and interests on anthropological approaches to the study of media. The purpose of this reader is to promote the identity of the field of study; identify its major concepts, methods, and bibliography; comment on the state of the art; and provide examples of current research. Based on original articles by leading scholars from several countries and academic disciplines, Media Anthropology provides essays introducing the issues, reviewing the field, forging new conceptual syntheses.
Chapter 6: Media Rituals: Beyond Functionalism
Media Rituals: Beyond Functionalism
In the past decade, a consensus has begun to emerge on a new approach to media research that escapes the confines of earlier media studies.1 This new approach seeks to work not just on the level of media texts and institutions but on the broader and more subtle ways in which the very existence of media in our societies transforms those societies, for good or ill. If Joshua Meyrowitz's (1994) term medium theory smacks too much of technological determinism, a better label for this shift might be mediation:2 What do we mean when we say our societies are “mediated,” and what are the long-term implications of this for their distribution of power? The question, if in different language, ...