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Posts Tagged ‘media ecology’

In my writing about media, I’ve been using the words “ecology” and “ecosystem” fairly liberally. In a new piece called “The Limitations of the ‘New Ecosystem’ Metaphor,” The Columbia Journalism Review’s Lauren Harris argues that this metaphor is misguided. She interviews media scholar Anthony Nadler, who has claims that the metaphor “naturaliz[es] current trends in the diffusion and development of news practices.” Its use “suggests ‘spontaneous, self-ordering principles’ in the news market obscuring all the social, political, and economic decisions that undergird the status quo.”

I want to respond to that argument here by presenting the case that “ecology” is not a metaphor imported from biology, but that it’s more like the other way around: “media ecology” is a description of the world of media as much as it is a description of the world of biology. Both media and biology are constituted by the actions and processes of their constituents. In this sense, it is not a metaphor but a way of seeing, and it’s more important to ensure we understand what it is we are looking at.

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Shoshana Zuboff’s analysis of “The Coup We Are Not Talking About,” published in today’s Sunday New York Times, is an essential follow-up to her book Surveillance Capitalism, applying that book’s analysis to the situation we are living through. This other coup is the “epistemic coup” which, she writes, “proceeds in four stages”:

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French philosopher and psychoanalyst Félix Guattari, in his The Three Ecologies, was the first to articulate the threefold nature of ecology, but he failed to provide a clear articulation of why there should be three and only three ecologies — not two, not one, not four or more. What is the ontological justification for this […]

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There’s a fairly straightforward narrative about media and cultural hegemony in the United States that most scholarly observers have come to largely agree on (with the usual spectrum of variations in emphasis), but that more of the public ought to be aware of. It accounts for how we got here, into this situation where media […]

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Two points of social media use call for more attention as we make sense of this week’s events at the U. S. Capitol. 1) Videos and selfies from Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rallies are circulating online and making it easier to identify those who participated in the attempted coup at the Capitol. Images created and […]

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Conspiracy movements like QAnon are a kind of cultural virus that spreads rapidly and widely in the new global media environment. Like invasive species, they spread into diverse cultural ecosystems, colonizing them even as they take on new forms that mimic each environment’s original inhabitants. To understand how they do this, we need to understand […]

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Cross-posted from e2mc. Note that this post takes the Stoic strategy of preparing for the worst, so as to be pleasantly surprised when the worst fails to come to pass. Deep breath, Americanos. Let’s brace ourselves for what may be the messiest, most litigious and disruptive Interregnum in U.S. history. (“Interregnum” = the 79 day interval between […]

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I’ve begun posting updates on media coverage related to the U.S. presidential election (and related issues, such as social media disinformation) on my blog e2mc, which I’ve restarted to accompany my course “Media Ecologies and Cultural Politics.” Here is the latest post, which summarizes some key stories from yesterday’s Sunday New York Times. I may […]

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Cross-posted with the EcoCultureLab blog. Media+Environment has just published another article in its “States of Media and Environment” series, and this one should be of broad interest to environmental educators, media scholars, and environmentally concerned media users. “Streaming Media’s Environmental Impact” draws attention to an unpopular but inescapable issue: the adverse environmental effects of streaming media. […]

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I’ve just begun teaching a media course, entitled Media Ecologies and Cultural Politics, which I designed several years ago but have revised this year to focus on the issues of our current moment: the upcoming election, the Covid-19 pandemic, the crisis of racial justice, and what some have called the “crisis of information.” Preparing for […]

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Here’s a back-of-the-envelope hypothesis on the “new media regime” and some open questions that follow from it. Two groups are faring best these days under the current (new) media regime.* The first is surveillance capitalists, who have developed ways to monetize and harvest new data technologies directly for the accumulation of wealth. (That covers the […]

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So, 150 or so fairly prominent individuals write/sign an open letter defending “justice and open debate.” (We can call them intellectuals, or literati, or academics, or even celebrities of a sort — maybe “intellectual celebrities” — but see point #1 below on generalizations.) In the letter, they single out Donald Trump and the “forces of […]

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