Critical mediation: tracking the social imaginary

2018-10-25T11:26:55Z (GMT) by Reginald A. Clifford
Since the pioneering work of Harold Innes and Marshal McLuhan, accounts of social and cultural change that assign a key role to innovations in media have enjoyed considerable currency. These Medium Theories, as Joshua Meyrowitz has usefully dubbed them, are particularly concerned with how the shift from oral to literate to electronic media has successively reconfigured both cultural systems and their everyday deployment. This model of mediation suffers from major weaknesses however. It is media-centric, crudely deterministic, ethnocentric, and takes no account of patterns of social inequality. Hence, while this thesis retains Medium Theory's core concern with the impact of different modes of mediation, it draws on work in Critical Sociology and communications studies to address these deficiencies and develop an alternative model of Critical Mediation. Using contemporary Mexico City as a case study, the potential of this approach is pursued through a detailed study of the ways in which different forms of mediation shape the organisation and uses of the communal symbolic spaces that make up the Social Imaginary. [Continues.]