media – medium between cultural materialism and social practice

Accidently I found this great link to this media theory keyword database establised for the course thought by J.T.Mitchell at the University of Chicago. It is described as to explore the concept of media and mediation in very broad terms, looking not only at modern technical media and mass media, but at the very idea of a medium as a means of communication, a set of institutional practices, and a “habitat” in which images proliferate and take on a “life of their own.”It is based on the theories developed by Raymond Williams regarding culture …

.. as political because the social process addressed by political analysis is always embedded in culture. Williams reversed the terms of the usual analysis. Rather than being a specialised area in which we see reflections of the political processes governing society, culture is the “whole way of life” which makes up human society; political analysis is a specialised framework which can be used to understand it.

.. and following this understanding and interpretation of an interplay between a materialist conception of medium and medium as social practice, and the implication of historical transformation from one to the other it also relates to the former post and the narrowing comments of the german audience at the de Kerckhove lecture, where he gave a quick introducion to McLuhan and the consequent studies which continue on, but as well critically analyse his body of work.
In a similar understanding J.T.Mitchell describes for this keyword database ..

Raymond Williams’ essay “From Medium to Social Practice” [..] as our touchstone, based on its differentiation between a materialist conception of medium and medium as social practice, and the implication of historical transformation from one to the other. Our keywords are the language that does the work of transformation—every term evokes both materialist usages and issues of social practice. We can employ these terms as bridges between the two sides of media, material technique and social practice, and in doing so, we can see these conceptions that Williams offsets as two sides of the same coin, tendencies we must always account for and fruitful avenues of investigation.

Personally I have to add that the comment made that other day regarding ‘german media theory’ as the more pure form than the north-american (guess the guy meant: anglo-american) one, dismissed by him for its broader approach, as to include cultural, social and political aspects – as far as they can be dissected in their interplay and ‘feedback’ relations – hit exactly the very limited (and in my eyes negatively loaded ‘german’) approach, which I dislike here so much …. and by the way it also has been one of the aspects why this blog and my texts are attempted to be written in english – as an escape from this narrowing view – and to include literature which looks beyond simple limitations.
If the theme can roughly defined as to deal with perception, one of the first issues should be to try to get beyond the limitations a constructed (socially, culturally and politically …) perception imposes…

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