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Key Works in New Media Studies

The Language of New Media

Lev Manovich
Cited: 3748 times

In this book Lev Manovich offers the first systematic and rigorous theory of new media. He places new media within the histories of visual and media cultures of the last few centuries. He discusses new media's reliance on conventions of old media, such as the rectangular frame and mobile camera, and shows how new media works create the illusion of reality, address the viewer, and represent space. He also analyzes categories and forms unique to new media, such as interface and database.
Manovich uses concepts from film theory, art history, literary theory, and computer science and also develops new theoretical constructs, such as cultural interface, spatial montage, and cinegratography. The theory and history of cinema play a particularly important role in the book. Among other topics, Manovich discusses parallels between the histories of cinema and of new media, digital cinema, screen and montage in cinema and in new media, and historical ties between avant-garde film and new media.

Life on the screen

Sherry Turkle
Cited: 7161 times

Life on the Screen is a book not about computers, but about people and how computers are causing us to reevaluate our identities in the age of the Internet. We are using life on the screen to engage in new ways of thinking about evolution, relationships, politics, sex, and the self. Life on the Screen traces a set of boundary negotiations, telling the story of the changing impact of the computer on our psychological lives and our evolving ideas about minds, bodies, and machines. What is emerging, Turkle says, is a new sense of identity-- as decentered and multiple. She describes trends in computer design, in artificial intelligence, and in people's experiences of virtual environments that confirm a dramatic shift in our notions of self, other, machine, and world. The computer emerges as an object that brings postmodernism down to earth.

- Wellman, B. (1997). The Road to Utopia and Dystopia on the Information Highway. Contemporary sociology – A journal of reviews, 26(4), 445-449.
- King, E. (1996). Review: Life On The Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Journalism and Mass Communication, 73(2),490-491.
Remediation: Understanding New Media

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin
Cited: 3217 times

Media critics remain captivated by the modernist myth of the new: they assume that digital technologies such as the World Wide Web, virtual reality, and computer graphics must divorce themselves from earlier media for a new set of aesthetic and cultural principles. In this richly illustrated study, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin offer a theory of mediation for our digital age that challenges this assumption. They argue that new visual media achieve their cultural significance precisely by paying homage to, rivaling, and refashioning such earlier media as perspective painting, photography, film, and television. They call this process of refashioning "remediation," and they note that earlier media have also refashioned one another: photography remediated painting, film remediated stage production and photography, and television remediated film, vaudeville, and radio.

- Day, R. (1999). Book Review: Remediation Understanding New Media. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 50(8), 730-732.;2-D/abstract
- Dobson, S. (2007). Remediation – Understanding New Media – Revisiting a classic. Retrieved at September 15th from
Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World

Don Tapscott
Cited 738 times

A fascinating inside look at the Net Generation, Grown Up Digital is inspired by a $4 million private research study. New York Times bestselling author Don Tapscott has surveyed more than 11,000 young people. Instead of a bunch of spoiled “screenagers” with short attention spans and zero social skills, he discovered a remarkably bright community which has developed revolutionary new ways of thinking, interacting, working, and socializing. Today's young people are using technology in ways you could never imagine. Instead of passively watching television, the “Net Geners” are actively participating in the distribution of entertainment and information. For the first time in history, youth are the authorities on something really important. And they're changing every aspect of our society-from the workplace to the marketplace, from the classroom to the living room, from the voting booth to the Oval Office.

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

Lawrence Lessig
Cited: 2803 times

There’s a common belief that cyberspace cannot be regulated—that it is, in its very essence, immune from the government’s (or anyone else’s) control.Code argues that this belief is wrong. It is not in the nature of cyberspace to be unregulable; cyberspace has no “nature.” It only has code—the software and hardware that make cyberspace what it is. That code can create a place of freedom—as the original architecture of the Net did—or a place of exquisitely oppressive control.If we miss this point, then we will miss how cyberspace is changing. Under the influence of commerce, cyberpsace is becoming a highly regulable space, where our behavior is much more tightly controlled than in real space.But that’s not inevitable either. We can—we must—choose what kind of cyberspace we want and what freedoms we will guarantee.

Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

Henry Jenkins
Cited: 3224 times

Convergence Culture maps a new territory: where old and new media intersect, where grassroots and corporate media collide, where the power of the media producer and the power of the consumer interact in unpredictable ways.
Henry Jenkins, one of America’s most respected media analysts, delves beneath the new media hype to uncover the important cultural transformations that are taking place as media converge. He takes us into the secret world of Survivor Spoilers, where avid internet users pool their knowledge to unearth the show’s secrets before they are revealed on the air. He introduces us to young Harry Potter fans who are writing their own Hogwarts tales while executives at Warner Brothers struggle for control of their franchise. He shows us how The Matrix has pushed transmedia storytelling to new levels, creating a fictional world where consumers track down bits of the story across multiple media channels.

Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization

Alexander Galloway
Cited: 431 times

Is the Internet a vast arena of unrestricted communication and freely exchanged information or a regulated, highly structured virtual bureaucracy? In Protocol, Alexander Galloway argues that the founding principle of the Net is control, not freedom, and that the controlling power lies in the technical protocols that make network connections (and disconnections) possible. He does this by treating the computer as a textual medium that is based on a technological language, code. Galloway finds a new way to write about digital media, drawing on his backgrounds in computer programming and critical theory.

The Rise of The Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture.

Manuel Castells
1996 (2nd edition 2000)
Cited: 17472 times

This book is an account of the economic and social dynamics of the new age of information. It aims to formulate a systematic theory of the information society which takes account of the fundamental effects of information technology on the contemporary world.
The global economy is now characterized by the almost instantaneous flow and exchange of information, capital and cultural communication. These flows order and condition both consumption and production. The networks themselves reflect and create distinctive cultures. Both they and the traffic they carry are largely outside national regulation. Our dependence on the new modes of informational flow gives enormous power to those in a position to control them to control us.

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

Yochai Benkler
Cited: 3345 times

With the radical changes in information production that the Internet has introduced, we stand at an important moment of transition, says Yochai Benkler in this thought-provoking book. The phenomenon he describes as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time offering new opportunities to enhance individual freedom, cultural diversity, political discourse, and justice. But these results are by no means inevitable: a systematic campaign to protect the entrenched industrial information economy of the last century threatens the promise of today’s emerging networked information environment.
In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing—and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gained—or lost—by the decisions we make today.

Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture

T.L. Taylor
Cited: 660 times

In Play Between Worlds, T. L. Taylor examines multiplayer gaming life as it is lived on the borders, in the gaps--as players slip in and out of complex social networks that cross online and offline space. Taylor questions the common assumption that playing computer games is an isolating and alienating activity indulged in by solitary teenage boys. Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs), in which thousands of players participate in a virtual game world in real time, are in fact actively designed for sociability. Games like the popular Everquest, she argues, are fundamentally social spaces.Taylor's detailed look at Everquest offers a snapshot of multiplayer culture. Drawing on her own experience as an Everquest player (as a female Gnome Necromancer)--including her attendance at an Everquest Fan Faire, with its blurring of online-and offline life--and extensive research, Taylor not only shows us something about games but raises broader cultural issues. She considers "power gamers," who play in ways that seem closer to work, and examines our underlying notions of what constitutes play--and why play sometimes feels like work and may even be painful, repetitive, and boring. She looks at the women who play Everquest and finds they don't fit the narrow stereotype of women gamers, which may cast into doubt our standardized and preconceived ideas of femininity. And she explores the questions of who owns game space--what happens when emergent player culture confronts the major corporation behind the game.

The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television, and New Media like Real People and Places

Byron Reeves, Clifford Nass
Cited: 3620 times

According to popular wisdom, humans never relate to a computer or a television program in the same way they relate to another human being. Or do they? The psychological and sociological complexities of the relationship could be greater than you think. In an extraordinary revision of received wisdom, Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass demonstrate convincingly in The Media Equation that interactions with computers, television, and new communication technologies are identical to real social relationships and to the navigation of real physical spaces. Using everyday language, the authors explain their novel ideas in a way that will engage general readers with an interest in cutting-edge research at the intersection of psychology, communication and computer technology. The result is an accessible summary of exciting ideas for modern times. As Bill Gates says, '(they) ... have shown us some amazing things'.

Topic revision: r8 - 16 Sep 2012, JoeyDeJong
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