What is New about New Media?

9 September, 2013
2pm - 4pm

Professor Jostein Gripsrud (Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen)


Media@Sydney Research Seminar.

The digitalization of new media and especially the introduction and developments of the Internet have been accompanied by a host of attempts to understand the implications of these innovations in social, cultural, political and economic terms. Some of them are of an academic or scholarly nature, others more journalistic or business oriented. The majority of contributions in both categories have, firstly, argued for the radicalness of the changes digital communication technologies represent, often proclaiming that other media, such as television, are facing an imminent death and that (global) society is entering a totally new historical stage. Secondly, they have also tended to estimate the impact of digitalization very optimistically as a historical leap in terms of democratization, freedom and egalitarian values. The challenge for a more critical appraisal of digitalization is to balance these discourses with some cooler theoretical, historical and empirical perspectives without denying the obvious and impressive gains and potentials of the new media and communicative forms. On place to start is the discussion of technological determinism, e.g. in Raymond Williams’ Television: Technology and Cultural Form and various contributions to debates on the work of Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan. As for historical perspectives, the transitions from theatre to film and then television as the most popular medium of dramatic entertainment is worth looking at when talking about the death of older media as new ones arrive. In this presentation, however, the emphasis will be on the implications of digitalization for the structures and processes of the public sphere on the one hand and for socio-cultural stratification more generally on the other.

Jostein Gripsrud is Professor of Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. He has published extensively on a variety of topics in media and cultural studies. On television, he has published The Dynasty Years: Hollywood Television and Critical Media Studies (Routledge, 1995) and a number of articles, some of which have appeared in anthologies he edited or co-edited: Television and Common Knowledge (Routledge, 1999), Media, Markets & Public Spheres: European Media at the Crossroads (Intellect, 2010) and Relocating Television: Television in the Digital Context (Routledge, 2010). He has also co-published articles on cultural sociology (e.g. “Changing Relations: Class, education and cultural capital” , in Poetics, vol 39 (2011), pp 507-529) and published articles as well as co-edited and contributed to anthologies on public sphere theory: The Idea of the Public Sphere (Lexington Books, 2010) and The Public Sphere vol I-IV (Sage, 2011).


Media@Sydney is presented by the Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney.

Location: New Law Seminar Room 105, New Law Building (F10)

Contact:Madeleine King

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