Mediatization

Mediatization is a word that often crops up when scholars try to grasp and theorize the way that newspapers, radio, television, and popular cultural artefacts, online and off,  have become so much a part of our daily reality, and so central to how we take in impressions about the world, that we no longer notice we are using them. Mediatization also has to do with how the line between mediated fiction and reality is becoming increasingly blurred.

scholarly need to make sense of how media power has changed over time • alternative perspectives •political economy, power, discourse, technology  

To think about: the invisibility of media in our lives, and the power relations they involve  

Key Concepts: mediatization; media logic; field

Further reading

Caption: Like the little girl in Spielberg’s 1982 film Poltergeist, we become one with the media we use, according to some scholars of mediatization. Copyright: kasha malasha / Shutterstock.

Primary Sources

The Eichmann Trial can be found on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EichmannTrialEN.

Research topics

If mediatization is a process, and one which unfolds in distinct stages, then historical research is needed, with particular attention to how media technology shapes public debate about politics. Chadwick concluded that ‘the construction of political news is now a much more fluid and dynamic process than it was during the heyday of linear broadcast television’. The research agenda he sketches gives some ideas for studies. It involves tracing who does what, when, where and to whom (a difficult but not impossible task, he says); documenting the difference made by discrete actions; conducting detailed narrative case studies to ‘capture rich and useful data in this emerging environment’ as well as using more quantitative approaches to the same ends.

Above all, work is needed that shows how mediatization theory can be made amenable to meaningful empirical research.