Friday, October 13, 2006

Fall Booknotes

Storytelling Online: Talking Breast Cancer on the Internet, by Shani Orgad (Peter Lang, 2005). A sociological study of cancer patients’ communication with each other over the Internet and how they configure their experiences into stories. (VP)

Shoot First and Ask Questions Later: Media Coverage of the 2003 Iraq War, by Justin Lewis, Rod Brookes, Nick Mosdell, and Terry Threadgold (Peter Lang, 2006). Includes interviews with embedded and non-embedded journalists, editors, news heads and military planners in the Pentagon and UK Ministry of Defence; a content analysis of broadcast news coverage of the war; and survey and focus group research on how the war was interpreted by viewers/readers. (VP)

The Cell Phone Reader: Essays in Social Transformation, edited by Anandam Kavoori and Noah Arceneaux (Peter Lang, 2006). Comprised of a diverse group of essays on new media cultures, identities, and media-centered relationships as shaped by mobile phone technologies all over the globe. (VP)

Marxism and Communication Studies: The Point Is to Change It, edited by Lee Artz, Steve Macek, and Dana Cloud. (Peter Lang Publishers, 2006 ) Collection features essays by leading scholars and practitioners and provides a much-needed overview and assessment of Marxism's significance to contemporary thinking in communication and media studies.

Jews, News and Crime: Vienna 1890-1914, by Daniel Mark Vyleta (Berghahn Books, 2006). Through the lens of criminality this books provides insight into the spread and nature of anti-Semitism in Austria-Hungary at the turn of the century by investigating the portrayals of Jewish criminals in the press and comparing these to contemporary anti-Semitic discourse.

Magic in the Air: Mobile Communication and the Transformation of Social Life, by James Everett Katz (Rutgers, 2006) Investigates the social aspects of the cell phone’s impact on society and the way social forces affect the use, display, and reconfiguration of the cell phone. Katz also explores the often overlooked psychic and religious uses of the mobile phone. (VP)

Television, Democracy and Elections in Russia, by Sarah Dates (Routledge, 2006). Studies how special interests in television shaped post-Soviet politics in Russia. (VP)

Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture, by Lisa Giteman (MIT, 2006) From the publisher’s website: “Explores the newness of new media while” at the same time asking “what it means to do media history. Using the examples of early recorded sound and digital networks, Gitelman challenges readers to think about the ways that media work as the simultaneous subjects and instruments of historical inquiry. Presenting original case studies of Edison's first phonographs and the Pentagon's first distributed digital network, the ARPANET, Gitelman points suggestively toward similarities that underlie the cultural definition of records (phonographic and not) at the end of the nineteenth century and the definition of documents (digital and not) at the end of the twentieth.” (VP)

Violent world: TV News Images of Middle Eastern Terror and War, by Nitzan Ben-Shaul (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006).Studies how ideologies are used to frame violence on three TV channels (global CNN, Israeli IBA, and Palestinian PATV). The author draws from critical media theory and approaches out of cinema studies to examine how dominant ideologies are embedded in mainstream TV news. He focuses on the American elites' global ideology and the conflicting dominant national-peripheral ideologies of Israeli-Palestinian elites. (VP)

Media Talk: Conversation Analysis and the Study of Broadcasting, by Ian Hutchby (Open University, 2006) The book is divided into three broad sections: Case Studies Part I: Television Talk and Audience Participation; Audience Participation Television and Public Discourse; The Spectacle of Confrontation; Case Studies Part II: Radio Talk; Language, Interaction and Power on Talk Radio;Distributed Expertise: The Discourse of Advice-Giving Shows; Case Studies Part III: Broadcasters and Politicians; News Interviews: Journalists and Politicians on the Air; Political Rhetoric and Televised Debate.

Girls Make Media, by Mary Celeste Kearney (Routledge, 2006) Examines girls’ role as producers as opposed to passive consumers (VP)

Citizens as Consumers? What the Media Tell Us About Political Participation (Open University, 2006). 'In this superb account of how the British and American news media represent everyday citizens and public opinion, the authors show how coverage of politics and policy debates subtly - even inadvertently - urge people to see themselves as and thus to be politically passive, disengaged and cynical. The book's analysis of how journalists misrepresent, even invent, public opinion is alone worth the price of admission. Written with great verve, passion and unswerving clarity, Citizens or Consumers? promises to become an instant classic in the study of the failings--and the still untapped promise--of the news media to further democracy.' --Susan J. Douglas, University of Michigan (VP)

From Television to the Internet: Postmodern Visions of American Media Culture in the Twentieth Century, by Wiley Lee Umphlett (Farleigh Dickinson, 2006) “In covering the years from the late 1940s through 2000, this book’s sociocultural focus is on the visual impact of momentous developments in postmodern media culture in America, particularly as they have reflected a narrowing of the divide between the elite and mass culture, blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, and the social fragmentation of American life. As such, this book complements and expands on the commentary and conclusions of the author’s initial inquiry into the modern era of media-made culture in The Visual Focus of American Media Culture in the Twentieth Century"—FDUP website (VP)

Reading The L Word: Outing Contemporary Television, edited by Kim Akass (IB Tauris, 2006). Contributors write on how the show deals with topics like third-wave feminism, bisexuality, race, glamour, sex, relationships, music, as well as how the series has been marketed to and received by viewers. Also included are interviews with key contributors to the show itself. (VP)

Virtual Migration: The Programming of Globalization, by A. Aneesh (Duke, 2006). The author examines the emerging “transnational virtual space” where labor and vast quantities of code and data cross national boundaries, but the workers themselves do not. He analyzes the work of computer programmers in India working for the US software industry and argues that the programming code connecting globally dispersed workers through data servers and computer screens is the key organizing structure behind the growing phenomenon of virtual migration. This “rule of code,” he contends, is a crucial and under explored aspect of globalization. A “brilliant examination of how software flows replace people flows. It joins the urgent effort now under way in the social sciences to map a new field of inquiry.”—Saskia Sassen, coeditor of Digital Formations: IT and New Architectures in the Global Realm. (VP)

Wealth of Networks: How social Production Transforms Market and Freedom, by Yochai Benkler (Yale, 2006) Offers social theory on the internet and the networked information economy. "This deeply researched book documents the fundamental changes in the ways in which we produce and share ideas, information, and entertainment. Then, drawing widely on the literatures of philosophy, economics, and political theory, it shows why these changes should be welcomed, not resisted. The trends examined, if allowed to continue, will radically alter our lives-and no other scholar describes them so clearly or champions them more effectively than Benkler."-William W. Fisher III, Hale and Dorr Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Harvard University, Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society (VP)

Wireless Writing in the Age of Marconi, by Timothy Campbell (University of Minnesota, 2006). This is a complex work which demonstrates that Marconi’s invention of the wireless telegraph was not simply a technological act but also had an impact on poetry and aesthetics and linked the written word to the rise of mass politics. Reading influential works such as F. T. Marinetti’s futurist manifestos, Rudolf Arnheim’s 1936 study Radio, writings by Gabriele D’Annunzio, and Ezra Pound’s Cantos, Campbell reveals how the newness of wireless technology was inscribed in the ways modernist authors engaged with typographical experimentation, apocalyptic tones, and newly minted models for registering voices. Wireless Writing in the Age of Marconi presents an alternative history of modernism that listens as well as looks and bears in mind the altered media environment brought about by the emergence of the wireless. (VP)

Smell Culture Reader, edited by Jim Drobnick (Berg, 2006). TABLE OF CONTENTS: Introduction: Olfactocentrism/ Part I: Odorphobia/ Polish and Deodorize: Paving the City in Late Eighteenth-Century France/ The Sociology of Odors/ Immigrant Lives and the Politics of Olfaction in the Global City/ Offensive Bodies/ Base Notes: Odor, Breath and Moral Contagion in Ilahita/ Olfactory-Triggered Panic Attacks Among Khmer Refugees/ Part II: Toposmia/ Smellscape/ Vagueness Gridlocked: A Map of the Smells of New York/ The Broken Cycle: Smell in a Bangkok Lane/ Fragrant Signals and Festive Spaces in Eurasia/ The Stench of Power/ Environmental Fragrancing/ Part III: Flaireurs/ The New Calculus of Olfactory Pleasure/ Sense and Sensibility/ The Dog Beneath the Skin/ Nostalgia, the Odors of Childhood and Society/ I Know What I Like: Understanding Odor Preferences/ Part IV: Perfume/ Another Memory (Marcel Proust, author)/Perfumed Obsession/ Accords and Discords: Perfume Reviews/ Perfumeros and the Sacred Use of Fragrance in Amazonian Shamanism/ The Dialectic of 'Enscentment': Patrick Sueskind's 'Perfume' as Critical History of Enlightenment Culture/ Part V: Scentsuality: Preface/ The Eros and Thanatos of Scents/ Odor di Femina: Though You May Not See Her, You Can Certainly Smell Her/ The Roots of the Orchis, the Iuli of Chestnuts': The Odor of Male Solitude/Queer Smells: Fragrances of Late Capitalism or Scents of Subversion?/ In Noritoshi Hirakawas Garden of Nirvana/ Part VI: Volatile Art: Preface/ A Wisp of Smoke: Scent and Character in The Tale of Genji/ Eating Nothing: Cooking Aromas in Art and Culture/ Self-Portrait in Scent: Sketch #1/ Digital Scratch and Virtual Sniff: Simulating Scents/ Part VII: Sublime Essences/ The Breath of God: Sacred Histories of Scent/ Bodies, Odors and Perfumes in Arab-Muslim Societies/ Magic, Perfume, Dream . . ./ The Scent of Memory in Hindu South India/Olfactory After-Death Communications. (VP)

Cultural Chaos: Journalism, News and Power in a Globalised World, by Brian McNair (Taylor & Francis, 2006). With examples drawn from media coverage of the war on terror, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and the London underground bombings, Cultural Chaos explores the changing relationship between journalism and power in an increasingly globalized news culture. (VP)

Burning Books and Leveling Libraries: Extremist Violence and Cultural Destruction, by Rebecca Knuth (Praeger, 2006). Examine the destruction as a tactic of political or ethnic protest. (VP)

Political Blind Spots: Reading the Ideology of Images, by Raphael Sassower (Lexington Books, 2006). TABLE OF CONTENTS: Chapter 1: The Artistic Predicament of Ideological Complicity/I: The Ends of Ideology/ II: The Ideology of the Avant-Garde/ III: The Ultimate Hoax: The Artist as Outsider/ IV: The Ideology of Art, the Art of Ideology/ Illustrations/ Chapter 2: The Visual Framing of Fascism and Democracy/ I: Ideology as Myth-Making/ II: Revolutionary Promises: The Soviet Union and Mexico/ III: The Artistic Faces of Democracy (and Fascism)/ Illustrations/ Chapter 3: The Universal Faces of Art /I: Reductionism in the Name of Universalism/ II: Neurath's Isotypes/ III: The Bauhaus' Dream of Universal Access I/ V: Do National Identities Look Alike?/ Illustrations/ Chapter 4: The Pedagogical Predicament/ I: In Search of a Middle-Ground/ II: Abstract Memories: Recalling Reality/ III: Sanctifying a National Identity: Authenticity/ IV: Pedagogy as Ideology/ V: The Future of Aesthetic Pedagogy. (VP)

Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability, by Robert McCruer (New York University, 2006) Drawing on feminist theory, African American and Latino/a cultural theories, composition studies, film and television studies, and theories of globalization and counter-globalization, Crip Theory puts forward readings of the Sharon Kowalski story, the performance art of Bob Flanagan, and the journals of Gary Fisher, as well as critiques of the domesticated queerness and disability marketed by the Millennium March, or Bravo TV's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He examines how dominant and marginal bodily and sexual identities are composed, and considers the vibrant ways that disability and queerness unsettle and re-write those identities in order to insist that another world is possible. (VP)

Global Trends and Policies: Information and Communications for Development (World Bank, 2006) A new flagship World Bank publication, this report addresses the critical role being played by information and communication technologies (ICTs) in encouraging social and economic growth in developing countries around the world. This first edition provides a global overview of ICT trends and offers public policy guidelines and imperatives to country leaders, policy makers, academics, and practitioners involved in making ICT an integral part of a country's economy and society. The Report includes an ICT index that benchmarks each country's ICT sector performance (with sub-indices in four areas: access, quality, affordability, and institutional efficiency and sustainability) and ICT applications. The last section of the report contains a one-page ICT at a Glance statistics summary of 40 indicators for each of over 150 countries. The summary illustrates the status of each country in terms of its ICT development relative to other countries in the region and income group, as well as its growth trend over the past five years. (VP)

Realer Than Reel: Global Directions in documentary, by David Hogarth (University of Texas, 2006) An overview of developments and innovations in documentary film worldwide.

Sociology of the Body: Mapping the Abstraction of Embodiment, by Kate Cregan (Sage, 2006) The book is divided into three sections intriguingly titled: Part I: Object—The Regulated Body; Part II: Abject—The bounded body; and Part III: Subject: The Body of Difference. “Through a provocative analysis, this book contextualizes, explicates and critically analyses the work of those key theorists and texts that have been most influential in refocusing our gaze on human embodiment. Upon this foundation, the author builds her own distinctive theoretical framework towards the analysis of embodiment. This is a valuable addition to the field of body studies” - Chris Shilling, University of Portsmouth (VP)

The Power to Persuade: FDR, the Newsmagazine, and Going to War, 1939-1941, by Michael Carew (University Press, 2005) Unanimous support for entering World War II may not have been entirely the result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. According to Carew, four major news magazines: Life, Look, Newsweek and Time were an even more unifying force to the American war effort as the Roosevelt administration persuaded the news magazines to carry story after story about the rising threat of the Axis powers and the moral responsibility of US foreign policy. (VP)

Shaping American Telecommunications: A History of Technology, Policy, and Economics, by Christopher Sterling, Phyllis W. Bernt, and Martin B.H. Weiss (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006). Examining the technical, regulatory, and economic forces that have shaped the development of American telecommunications services, this volume is both an introduction to the basic technical, economic, and regulatory principles underlying telecommunications, and a detailed account of major events that have marked development of the sector in the United States. Beginning with the introduction of the telegraph and continuing through to current developments in wireless and online services, the authors explain each stage of telecommunications development, examining the interplay among technical innovation, policy decisions, and regulatory developments. (VP)

From Rural Village to Global Village: Telecommunications for Development in the Information Age, by Heather E. Hudson (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006) Examines the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) on both the macro level–societal, socio-economic, and governmental–and sector level–education, health, agriculture, entrepreneurship–emphasizing rural and developing regions. Author Heather E. Hudson examines the potential impact of ICTs by reviewing the existing research and adding her own findings from extensive fieldwork in ICT planning and evaluation. The volume includes case studies demonstrating innovative applications of ICTs plus chapters on evaluation strategies and appropriate technologies. She also analyzes the policy issues that must be addressed to facilitate affordable ICT access in rural and developing regions. This discussion relates to the larger “digital divide” issue, and the impact that access to communication technology–or the lack of it–has on communities and societies. (VP)

The Nightly News Nightmare: Television Coverage of U.S. Presidential Elections, 1988-2004, by Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter. (Rowan and Littlefield, 2006). This is the second edition with the 2004 election added into the thesis, Farnsworth and Lichter show how network news coverage of presidential elections has continued to decline. Through extensive analysis of news content, the authors compare what the candidates said with what the networks say they said. By the title of the book, they make no secret of their judgment. (VP)

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