Nick CouldryMedia, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice

Polity Press, 2012

by Jeff Pooley on February 4, 2013

Nick Couldry

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In Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice (Polity Press, 2012), Nick Couldry provides a sweeping synthesis of his important media theory over the last decade. Couldry reassesses his work on media rituals, media power, and the “hidden injuries” of representation in light of cross-cultural diversity as well as the sudden eruption of social media. The book argues convincingly that these theories remain relevant to a social media age, in a rich, chapter-by-chapter engagement with contemporary social theory. Couldry makes a cogent case for a “practice approach” to media studies that treats a wide range of social activity—and not just production or consumption—as media-related and worthy of study. The book is concerned with big themes—social order, justice and power—but also furnishes a toolkit of mid-range theories that deserve to be applied, and wrestled with, in empirical research. Media, Society, World provides a nuanced verdict on the prospects of digital democracy, advances a de-territorialized notion of “media cultures,” and furnishes a theory of media power through a highly original rethinking of Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory. The concluding chapter asks readers to engage with a literature—and a set of questions—that media scholars rarely address: media justice in the context of moral and political philosophy. The book is a major statement from the leading media theorist working today.

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