Object/process: towards an ontological levelling within media theory

Thayne, Martyn (2014) Object/process: towards an ontological levelling within media theory. In: 'Media and the Margins' - The Annual MeCCSA Conference, 8-10th January 2014, The Media School, Bournemouth University.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


Media scholarship has long been preoccupied with modes of representation, focussing primarily on what media texts mean in relation to human subjects and the organisation of the social. However, given that all forms of life in the 21st century, to some extent, embody complex entanglements of both human and nonhuman actors, the concept of ‘us’ as subject and media as ‘object’ has become rather inadequate in dealing with digitally mediated experience. This article works towards what could perhaps be considered an ‘object-oriented’ approach to digital media analysis, one that attends to the various technical processes and embedded systems of computation which operate beyond direct human perception. Such an approach reflects a recent ‘non human turn’ in contemporary philosophy, drawing influence from the emerging fields of ‘new materialism’ (Jussi Parikka, Jane Bennett, 2010), ‘object-oriented philosophy’ (Graham Harman, 2011) and what Levi Bryant (2012) has labelled ‘machine-oriented ontology’. What these frameworks demonstrate is a real urgency to bring both technical and ecological processes back into consideration; contending that nonhuman entities are not only active components of contemporary culture, but should be investigated on a more equal footing to human subjectivity. I suggest that such an approach be integrated into mainstream media scholarship so that media objects and media processes themselves (and not simply our interpretations of what they represent) may be taken more seriously in the context of what it means to be implicated in a digitally connected society.

Keywords:Digital Media, Media Theory, Convergence media, Ontology
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P304 Electronic Media studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
ID Code:12692
Deposited On:13 Dec 2013 15:48

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