Media studies

What does the Frankfurt School have to say about the creative industries? Does the spread of Google prove we now live in an information society? How is Madonna an example of postmodernism? How new is new media? Does the power of Facebook mean we're all media makers now?

This groundbreaking volume – part reader, part textbook - helps you to engage thoroughly with some of the major voices that have come to define the landscape of theory in media studies, from the public sphere to postmodernism, from mass communication theory to media effects, from production to reception and beyond. But much more than this, by providing assistance and questions directly alongside the readings, it crucially helps you develop the skills necessary to become a critical, informed and analytical reader.

Each reading is supported on the facing page by author annotations which provide comments, dissect the arguments, explain key ideas and terminology, make references to other relevant material, and pose questions that emerge from the text.

Key features:

  • Opening chapters: ‘What is theory?’ and ‘What is reading?’ bring alive the importance of both as key parts of media scholarship
  • Pre-reading: substantial Introductory sections set each text and its author in context and show the relevance of the reading to contemporary culture
  • Post-reading: Reflection sections summarise each reading’s key points and suggests further areas to explore and think about
  • 4 types of annotations help you engage with the reading – context, content, structure, and writing style .... as well as questions to provoke further thought
  • Split into 4 sections – Reading theory, Key thinkers and schools, Approaches and Media Theory in context

New to the second edition:

  • New chapters on New Media, and Audiences as Producers

Reading Media Theory

will assist you in developing close-reading and analytic skills. It will also increase your ability to outline key theories and debates, assess different case studies critically, link theoretical approaches to a particular historical context, and to structure and present an argument. As such, it will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of media studies, cultural studies, communication studies, the sociology of the media, popular culture and other related subjects.
"Key Themes in Media Theory is wonderfully wide-ranging and deservedly destined to become a key text for students of Media Studies."
Professor John Storey, University of Sunderland, UK

"The very best text books are not just summaries of complex ideas for a student audience or an introduction to a critical canon; the very best add something to the canon they reflect upon, and Dan Laughey’s Key Themes in Media Theory is one such book. [It] is not a means to an end, as many such books can be. Rather it is a motivational primer, and one that should send both students and teachers heading to the library toread the theorists presented here again, for the first time."
Richard Berger, Art, Design, Media; The Higher Education Academy, UK

  • What is media theory?
  • How do media affect our actions, opinions and beliefs?
  • In what ways do media serve powerful political and economic interests?
  • Is media consumerism unhealthy or is it empowering?
Key Themes in Media Theory provides a thorough and critical introduction to the key theories of media studies. It is unique in bringing together different schools of media theory into a single, comprehensive text, examining in depth the ideas of key media theorists such as Lasswell, McLuhan, Hall, Williams, Barthes, Adorno, Baudrillard and Bourdieu.

Using up-to-date case studies the book embraces media in their everyday cultural forms – music, internet, film, television, radio, newspapers and magazines – to enable a clearer view of the ‘big picture’ of media theory.

In ten succinct chapters Dan Laughey discusses a broad range of themes, issues and perspectives that inform our contemporary understanding of media production and consumption. These include:

  • Behaviourism and media effects
  • Feminist media theory
  • Postmodernity and information society
  • Political economy
  • Media consumerism
With images and diagrams to illustrate chapter themes, examples that apply media theory to media practice, recommended reading at the end of every chapter, and a useful glossary of key terms, this book is the definitive guide to understanding media theory.
Introduces key ideas and offers a sense of the new frontiers and questions in the emerging field of disability media studies

Disability Media Studies articulates the formation of a new field of study, based in the rich traditions of media, cultural, and disability studies. Necessarily interdisciplinary and diverse, this collection weaves together work from scholars from a variety of disciplinary homes, into a broader conversation about exploring media artifacts in relation to disability.

The book provides a comprehensive overview for anyone interested in the study of disability and media today. Case studies include familiar contemporary examples—such as Iron Man 3, Lady Gaga, and Oscar Pistorius—as well as historical media, independent disability media, reality television, and media technologies. The contributors consider disability representation, the role of media in forming cultural assumptions about ability, the construction of disability via media technologies, and how disabled audiences respond to particular media artifacts. The volume concludes with afterwords from two different perspectives on the field—one by disability scholar Rachel Adams, the other by media scholars Mara Mills and Jonathan Sterne—that reflect upon the collection, the ongoing conversations, and the future of disability media studies.

Disability Media Studies is a crucial text for those interested in this flourishing field, and will pave the way for a greater understanding of disability media studies and its critical concepts and conversations.
This pioneering work examines changes in the life and values of the English working class in response to mass media. First published in 1957, it mapped out a new methodology in cultural studies based around interdisciplinarity and a concern with how texts-in this case, mass publications-are stitched into the patterns of lived experience. Mixing personal memoir with social history and cultural critique, "The Uses of Literacy "anticipates recent interest in modes of cultural analysis that refuse to hide the author behind the mask of objective social scientific technique. In its method and in its rich accumulation of the detail of working-class life, this volume remains useful and absorbing.

Hoggart's analysis achieves much of its power through a careful delineation of the complexities of working-class attitudes and its sensitivity to the physical and environmental facts of working-class life. The people he portrays are neither the sentimentalized victims of a culture of deference nor neo-fascist hooligans. Hoggart sees beyond habits to what habits stand for and sees through statements to what the statements really mean. He thus detects the differing pressures of emotion behind idiomatic phrases and ritualistic observances.

Through close observation and an emotional empathy deriving, in part, from his own working-class background, Hoggart defines a fairly homogeneous and representative group of working-class people. Against this background may be seen how the various appeals of mass publications and other artifacts of popular culture connect with traditional and commonly accepted attitudes, how they are altering those attitudes, and how they are meeting resistance. Hoggart argues that the appeals made by mass publicists-more insistent, effective, and pervasive than in the past-are moving toward the creation of an undifferentiated mass culture and that the remnants of an authentic urban culture are being destroyed.

In his introduction to this new edition, Andrew Goodwin, professor of broadcast communications arts at San Francisco State University, defines Hoggart's place among contending schools of English cultural criticism and points out the prescience of his analysis for developments in England over the past thirty years. He notes as well the fruitful links to be made between Hoggart's method and findings and aspects of popular culture in the United States.

Media Criticism in a Digital Age introduces readers to a variety of critical approaches to audio and video discourse on radio, television and the Internet. It is intended for those preparing for electronic media careers as well as for anyone seeking to enhance their media literacy. This book takes the unequivocal view that the material heard and seen over digital media is worthy of serious consideration.

Media Criticism in a Digital Age applies key aesthetic, sociological, philosophical, psychological, structural and economic principles to arrive at a comprehensive evaluation of programming and advertising content. It offers a rich blend of insights from both industry and academic authorities. These insights range from the observations of Plato and Aristotle to the research that motivates twenty-first century marketing and advertising. Key features of the book are comprised of:

  • multiple video examples including commercials, cartoons and custom graphics to illustrate core critical concepts;
  • chapters reflecting today’s media world, including coverage of broadband and social media issues;
  • fifty perceptive critiques penned by a variety of widely respected media observers and;
  • a supplementary website for professors that provides suggested exercises to accompany each chapter (www.routledge .com/cw/orlik)

Media Criticism in a Digital Age

equips emerging media professionals as well as perceptive consumers with the evaluative tools to maximize their media understanding and enjoyment.
Winner of the 2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award
2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

A classic study on the dynamic between an individual and different media channels

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.Jenkins argues that struggles over convergence will redefine the face of American popular culture. Industry leaders see opportunities to direct content across many channels to increase revenue and broaden markets. At the same time, consumers envision a liberated public sphere, free of network controls, in a decentralized media environment. Sometimes corporate and grassroots efforts reinforce each other, creating closer, more rewarding relations between media producers and consumers. Sometimes these two forces are at war.

Jenkins provides a riveting introduction to the world where every story gets told and every brand gets sold across multiple media platforms. He explains the cultural shift that is occurring as consumers fight for control across disparate channels, changing the way we do business, elect our leaders, and educate our children.
'Küng’s book stands out for its focus on concepts, drivers, and dynamics. Its scope and learning are brilliant and dazzling. This updated edition will be a source of insight for students and a tool for industry veterans who seek the perspective of academia.'
– Eli Noam, Columbia Business School

'A landmark contribution to scholarship, Küng’s excellent book provides an empirically rich and analytically sharp-sighted guide to contemporary organizational strategies in a complex and dynamic media environment.'
– Gillian Doyle, University of Glasgow

'In the age of relentless technological disruption, unlimited distribution and non-professionalization, media firms are more dependent than ever on strategic management. Küng articulates the dimensions of media industries to account for an ever-increasing array of challenges and strategies.'
– David Craig, University of Southern California

In this Second Edition of a book many found invaluable for research and teaching, including myself, Küng accomplishes a challenging task: to preserve all the best qualities of the First Edition while both extending the scope and deepening understandings about strategic management theory in application to media industries.'
– Gregory Ferrell Lowe, University of Tampere


With the media industries facing unprecedented change and challenge from top to bottom, it has never been more vital to understand the elements of strategy and how they apply to media organizations.

This new edition:

Shows innovation, disruption and strategic adaptation in action, with a stronger focus on a case-based approach Takes readers deep into case studies on BuzzFeed, The Guardian, Netflix, the New York Times and the BBC Explains strategic theory and concepts with insight and clarity Shows how to understand change and decision-making within media organizations.

This is the essential guide to change and management in the media industries – ideal for students of media studies, media economics and media management.

A "compelling indictment of the news media's role in covering up errors and deceptions" (The New York Times Book Review) due to the underlying economics of publishingfrom famed scholars Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. With a new introduction.

In this pathbreaking work, Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky show that, contrary to the usual image of the news media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in their search for truth and defense of justice, in their actual practice they defend the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate domestic society, the state, and the global order.

Based on a series of case studies—including the media’s dichotomous treatment of “worthy” versus “unworthy” victims, “legitimizing” and “meaningless” Third World elections, and devastating critiques of media coverage of the U.S. wars against Indochina—Herman and Chomsky draw on decades of criticism and research to propose a Propaganda Model to explain the media’s behavior and performance.

Their new introduction updates the Propaganda Model and the earlier case studies, and it discusses several other applications. These include the manner in which the media covered the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and subsequent Mexican financial meltdown of 1994-1995, the media’s handling of the protests against the World Trade Organization, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund in 1999 and 2000, and the media’s treatment of the chemical industry and its regulation. What emerges from this work is a powerful assessment of how propagandistic the U.S. mass media are, how they systematically fail to live up to their self-image as providers of the kind of information that people need to make sense of the world, and how we can understand their function in a radically new way.
An analysis of emerging LGBTQ+ media, queer spaces in urban areas, and sexual identity.

The explosion of cable networks, cinema distributors, and mobile media companies explicitly designed for sexual minorities in the contemporary moment has made media culture a major factor in what it feels like to be a queer person. F. Hollis Griffin demonstrates how cities offer a way of thinking about that phenomenon. By examining urban centers in tandem with advertiser-supported newspapers, New Queer Cinema and B-movies, queer-targeted television, and mobile apps, Griffin illustrates how new forms of LGBTQ+ media are less “new” than we often believe. He connects cities and LGBTQ+ media through the experiences they can make available to people, which Griffin articulates as feelings, emotions, and affects. He illuminates how the limitations of these experiences—while not universally accessible, nor necessarily empowering—are often the very reasons why people find them compelling and desirable.

“As a guide to emerging queer media of our new century, Hollis Griffin is funny, generous, passionate, and lucid. Whether he’s explaining Grindr’s memes or the gayborhoods of Chicago, cable travel programs or online networks, Griffin discovers how it feels to be queer in the digital age.” —Amy Villarejo, author of Ethereal Queer: Television, Historicity, Desire

“Offers a piercing examination of modern identity politics focused on relationships among new forms of media consumption and marketplaces, urban centers, and the experiences of sexual minorities. . . . Feeling Normal is a must-read for scholars and students in queer studies and communication, media studies, film studies, and sociology.” —Choice
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