Media Studies 101
Erika Pearson, University of Otago
Pub Date: 2013
Conditions of Use
This book covers very comprehensive topic in communication studies. Even though communication studies is very broad area, this book covers a pretty read more
This book covers very comprehensive topic in communication studies. Even though communication studies is very broad area, this book covers a pretty great amount of area with definitions and examples. One thing I impressed is some chapters include links to read the (part of) original text written by the author they introduce in the chapter. That helps me a lot to learn more if I am interested in a certain topic or concept they introduced. Also, using hyperlink, this book provides glossary. However, I think the definition of each concept on the glossary is too brief. Some concept are too simplified in the glossary. Other than these points, I think this is a great source to start Media Studies.
I think this book needs to improve accuracy. Overall, it maintains some levels of accuracy. Media studies handles various controversial and/or critical issues. Thus, a great media studies book introduces various research, concepts, and scholars that have different perspective to each other. However, this book too simplifies the controversial topic or introduces just one side of perspectives. It would be enough for students who will have supplemental textbook, but, if not, it could be dangerous to learn biased perspective of media studies. In this sense, it could be too weak that use this book as the main textbook in class. Interpreting a scholar's idea as technological determinism without a clear investigation on TD could be one example.
Creating very up-to-date media studies book is very difficult because our media culture changes so quickly. Considering that, this book offers a pretty up-to-date example and theory. However, some of them should be updated. Specifically, chapters on technology are a bit out-dated. There are various new fields to study technology and agency, such as Latour's Actor-Network Theory, German Media Studies, Cybernetics, and so forth. I think technology part should be updated. Also, the latter chapters on film, fan culture, and/or gender also could be better if it has more recent example.
There is no jargon and technical terminology. This book explain all concepts in very simple and clear way. However, some chapters too briefly explain complex concepts. In terms of clarity, there are a huge gaps between chapters. Some chapters very clearly explain all terms and theories through direct quote and elaboration, but some chapters are too weak and short to understand all terms they are explaining. I think the glossary can be helpful if it is updated a bit.
First three parts (Part I-Part III) are very consistent. However, I cannot understand the consistency on the Part IV. Part IV includes too broad topics without a clear explanation of consistency. Some of them are not very related to media studies. I think it could be improved if they provide the chapter outline in the beginning of each big part and write paragraph of connection in every chapter to make a consistency of overall flow.
This book has a great modularity. Even though most of chapters do not have subheading and subchapter, it can be easily divisible and editable. Overall structure and text are very concise and not overwhelming. Also, each information have separate paragraph, so it can be easily used by its parts. All texts in this book can be divided in a small chunk.
It is helpful to all chapters pose possible discussion questions in the end. Also, the first three parts have pretty good organization and structure between each chapter. However, the book's overall flow seems like to be updated. It is related to consistency category in that some chapters seemed alien. For example, some chapters on Part IV are a bit overlapped with chapters on Part I. I think most of chapters on Part IV could be incorporated into different chapters in earlier part. Also, some of discussion questions harm the book's logical flow. Some of questions are irrelevant with media studies. I think discussion questions could function as a connection between chapters, if the last question brought some issues that can connect to the topic of the chapter with the next one.
This book doesn't have any interface issues. This book is a great example to use online interface for the textbook. Some chapters incorporate links of original text, artworks, interviews, and so forth; and all links work without interface issue. Their usage of images also are very appropriate to understand concepts on chapters. I think incorporating various hyperlink and multimedia texts in this book is the biggest strength of this book in that this is media studies book.
There is no significant error on this part.
Since this book clarify that this book is written by and for New Zealand and Australia culture. In that I am not familiar with those cultures, I cannot give an useful feedback on this part. However, it seems like culturally relevant in terms of their interpretation of each theory and its application. Also, some of theories and chapters are culturally relevant with the american culture and other worldwide issues as well. One big part they missed is a topic of race and ethnicity because that is very significant topic in media studies in history. I think it could be okay for New Zealand and Australia; but incorporating those issues could be helpful to the American readers or other countries.
No additional comments. I think this could be a great guide book to people who start to study Media Studies. As I mentioned, however, I wish this book develops more in structure (logical flows between chapters) and consistency. Also, I hope this book adds more worldwide and contemporary example for each topic. I think chapters on technology could be an exemplar for this part. Lastly, I suggest to use this book with other required textbooks or original texts of the scholar they introduced. Using only this book could be a bit biased and weak media studies class. If you want to know a big overview of media studies, I highly recommend this book!
Table of Contents
Introduction, and How To Use This Text
Part One: Reading Media Texts
- Analysing Texts: Media and Theory
- Communication & Culture
- Intercultural Communication
- Signs and Signifiers
- Sign Systems
- Semiotics and Communication Processes
- Two-step flow of communication
- Gender and politics
- Limitations of minimal effects model
Part Two: Culture and Contexts
- Discourse, Institutions, and Power
- Discourse and Institutions
- Media and Democracy
- Habermas' Public Sphere
- Who is 'the Public'?
- Media Effects - introduction
- The Hypodermic Needle
- Minimal effects models - the post WWII years
- Agenda Setting
- Uses and gratifications model
- Post-Cold War: strong effects model
Part Three: Production and Structures
- Political Economies
- Political Economies of Mass Culture
- The Audience Commodity
- The Propaganda Model
- Political Economies of Digital media
- Commons and P2P Production
- Political Ecologies of Media
- Technology and Agency
- Technology and the Body
- Technology, Time, and Space
- Technology and Politics
- Globalisation and Convergence
Part Four: Audiences & Identity
- Audiences and Audience Research
- Researching Audiences
- Consumer Cultures
- Consumerism and Subjectivity
- Identity and Fan Cultures
- Impressions Management
- Looking-Glass Self
- Postcolonialism Race and Ethnicity
- A History of Modern Political Economy
About the Book
Media Studies 101 is the open educational resource for media studies studies in New Zealand, Australia, and Pacifica. We have constructed this text so it can be read in a number of ways. You may wish to follow the structured order of 'chapters' like you would in a traditional printed textbook. Each section builds on and refers back to previous sections to build up your knowledge and skills. Alternatively, you may want to go straight to the section you are interested in -- links will help guide you back to definitions and key ideas if you need to refresh your knowledge or understand a new concept. This text is open under a Creative Commons NZ BY license.
About the Contributors
Erika Pearson is a senior lecturer at the department of Media, Film and Communication at the University of Otago, Dunedin. She first used the internet in the days of dial-up modems and has stayed there ever since. She researches social groups, personal identity, trust, and gift networks online, and is also interested in digital media and digital culture. She has recently presented about Big Data on National Radio and at the Royal Society.