Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall Booknotes

Branded and on Display, edited by Daniel Thomas Cook, et al. (University of Washington, 2007). Features works of artists in a wide range of media who explore branding and their response to its pervasiveness in the environment.

The Civil Sphere, by Jeffrey C. Alexander (Oxford, 2006) “Arguably the most probing and insightful examination of civil society in America since Tocqueville’s Democracy in America....[a] benchmark for cultural sociology and social theory with its rigorous theoretical and historical analysis of transformative social change.” –Victor Nee, Cornell University

Communication Activism, by Lawrence R. Frey and Kevin M. Carragee (Hampton Press, 2007).Table of Contents: Introduction, I: Managing the Media. At the Checkpoint: Journalistic Practices, Researcher Reflexivity, and Dialectical Dilemmas in a Women’s Prison; A Marriage of Like Minds and Collective Action: Civic Journalism in a Service-Learning Framework; Communicating Advocacy: Learning and Change in the Media Literacy and Violence Project; Academia Meets LGBT Activism: The Challenges Incurred in Using Multi-methodological Research; Unreasonable Doubt: Using Video Documentary to Promote Justice; Spectrum Wars: Bridging Factionalism in the Fight for Free Radio; A Community Confronts the Digital Divide: A Case Study of Social Capital Formation through Communication Activism; II: Performing Social Change. Catalyzing Social Reform through Participatory Folk Performances in Rural India; A Proactive Performance Approach to Peer Education: The Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Intervention Program; Narrative as Poetic Activism: Research Relationships in Social Justice Projects.

Consuming Media: Communication, Shopping, and Everyday Life, by Johan Fornas, et al. (Berg, 2007). Inspired by Walter Benjamin’s classical Arcades Project, explores the interface between communication, shopping and everyday life. Based on a six year study by over a dozen scholars on a specific site, it analyses the links between power, media, and consumption in contemporary urban culture.

Created in China: The Great New Leap Forward, by Michael Keane (Routledge, 2007).
Examines China’s creative economy and how television, animation, advertising, design, publishing and digital games are reshaping traditional views of culture.

Creative Explorations: New Approaches to Identities and Audiences, by David Gauntlett (Routledge, 2007). Drawing on a mix of neuroscience, philosophy, art, and social theory, the author explores ways in which researchers can embrace people's everyday creativity in order to understand social experience.

Cultural Citizenship: Cosmopolitanism, Consumerism, and Television in a Neoliberal Age, by Toby Miller (Temple, 2007). "… a brilliant and original treatise on citizenship and consumerism. It provides original and compelling perspectives on citizenship and a strong critique of how obsession with consumption has displaced concern for politics and citizenship in the U.S. (and elsewhere).... A model of a passionate and political cultural studies that engages key issues of the present moment." —Douglas Kellner, University of California, Los Angeles

Dispatches From the Color Line: The Press and Multiracial America, by Catherine R. Squires (State University of New York, 2007). Examines contemporary news media coverage of multiracial Americans and their identities.

Displacing Place, Mobile Communication in the Twenty-First Century, by Sharon Kleinman (Peter Lang, 2007). A collection of essays on the cultural impact of mobile technology.

Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World, edited by Jonathan Gray, Cornel Sandvoss, and C. Lee Harrington (New York University, 2007) "Fandom pushes the boundaries of fan studies in bold directions, incorporating high culture fandoms, global fan cultures, fan technologies, and antagonistic anti-fandom, while rethinking the core tenets of fan studies concerning aesthetics, place, intellectual property, and interpretive communities-all presented with a lively, accessible, and engaging writing style." —Jason Mittell, Middlebury College

From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture, edited by Myra Mendible (University of Texas Press, 2007). The first extensive study of the representation of the Latina body in U.S. popular culture.

Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet, by Kathryn C. Montgomery (MIT, 2007). “Brings an encyclopedic and well-organized body of evidence to bear on a debate that has been confused by moral panics, uniformed analyses, and ideological agendas.” –Howard Rheingold

Glut: Mastering Information Through The Ages, Alex Wright (Joseph Henry Press, 2007) “Journalist and information architect Wright delivers a fascinating tour of the many ways that humans have collected, organized and shared information for more than 100,000 years to show how the information age started long before microchips or movable type.”—Publisher’s Weekly

A History of Religion and Popular Imagery in America: The Lure of Images, by David Morgan (Routledge, 2007). A history of how mass-produced visual media have been used by religious groups in the U.S. from 1780 through the present.

Holding Worlds Together: Ethnographies of Knowing and Belonging, by Marianne Elisabeth Lien and Marit Melhuus (Berghahn Books, 2007). “Studies of globalization tend to foreground movements, mobilities or flows, while structures that remain stable and unchanged are often ignored. This volume foregrounds the latter. Discarding the term “globalization” for analytic purposes, this volume suggests that the significance of globalizing processes is best understood as an experiential, imaginary and epistemological dimension in people’s lives. The authors explore how meaningful relations are made when the “socially local is not necessarily the geographically near” and how connections are made and unmade that reach beyond the specificity of time and place. –Publisher’s website

Information Please: Culture and Politics in the Age of Machines, by Mark Poster (Duke, 2007) “Engaging, informative, and thoroughly enjoyable…. a tour de force in its clear articulation of a coherent approach to the spectrum of issues arising from the penetration of information technology into every aspect of human life, from questions of global politics to the construction and protection of identities and selves in the context of digital media.”—Tim Lenoir, Duke University

Internet Imaginaire, by Patrice Flichy (MIT, 2007) Flichy, a distinguished media historian, shows “how the competing technological visions advanced over the last three decades by industries and governments, scientists and cultural critics, and counterculture and community activists have been woven together to create the fabric of today’s Internet. The book is a wide-ranging, compelling survey that will engage Internet scholars and general readers alike." --Leah A. Lievrouw, University of California, Los Angeles

Irish Media and Popular Culture: Conformity, Difference, Dissent, by Lance Pettitt (Routledge, 2007). “Introduction to contemporary media culture in Ireland, covering print and broadcast media (including Irish language media such as local/pirate radio); the representation of ‘Irishness’ and Irish history in television and film - from Ballykissangel to Michael Collins; popular music, gay and lesbian culture; mural painting in Northern Ireland; sports culture; and youth culture.” –Publisher’s website

Journalism in Iran: From Mission to Profession, by Hossein Shahidi (Routledge, 2007). Table of contents: Introduction 1. The Shah's Last Years (1977-79) 2. The 'Spring of Freedom' (1979) 3. The Battle for Kayhan and the Demise of Ayandegan 4. War, Reconstruction and the Revival of Journalism (1980-96) 5. The Second 'Spring of Freedom' (1997-2000) 6. The Second Fall (2001-2004) 7. Women and Journalism 8. The Electronic Media 9. Organization, Education, and Training 10. One Hundred Years of Legal Confusion 11. Conclusion

Journalism, Science Society: Science Communication between News and Public Relations, edited by Martin Bauer and Massimiano Bucchi (Routledge, 2007). Analyzes the role of journalists in science communication and how this will evolve in the 21st century. For practitioners as well as academics.

Law and the Media: The Future of an Uneasy Relationship, by Lieve Gies (Routledge, 2007). “Arguing that the study of law, media and popular culture should be embedded in the sociology of everyday life, the author focuses on four specific topics: the current literature in this field predominantly focuses on crime, neglecting the way the media portrays less spectacular, more run-of-the-mill legal topics; fiction, primarily, has captured scholars' attention, with remarkably less being paid to representations of law, other than crime, in factual media; textual analysis continues to be the preferred method in the study of law and the media; and, the literature is dominated by a fear of corrosive media effects, while the potential of the media and popular culture to improve public legal knowledge, facilitate access to justice and promote legal change remains largely undocumented.” –Publisher’s website

Media and Ethnic Identity: Hopi Views on Media, Identity, and Communication, by Ritva Levo-Henriksson (Routledge, 2007). “Carries a Native American perspective to media and its role in ethnic identity construction. This perspective is gained through a case study of the Hopis, who live in northeast Arizona and are known for their devotion to their indigenous culture. The research data is built on a number of interviews with Hopis of a variety of ages from nine villages. The study also makes use of the results of a survey of a large number of students in the Hopi Jr./Sr. High School. The framework for examining the research data is intercultural communication (both interpersonal and media-mediated) between an indigenous group and a majority from the viewpoint of the indigenous group.” –Publisher’s website

Media and Memory
, by Andrew Hoskins (Routledge, 2007). “Introduces ideas about individual and collective memory, and outlines how the ways in which we remember have been affected by the development of mass media….covers both theory and specific case studies including: national memory in relation to the German Democratic Republic; the Holocaust as it is publicly remembered through museum exhibitions; and, audience memory of events such as September 11th and the War on Terror.” –Publisher’s website

Media in Hong Kong: Press Freedom and Political Change, 1967-2005, by Carol P. Lai (Routledge, 2007). Table of Contents: 1. Introduction 2. British Policy and the Hong Kong Communist Press, 1967-1970 3. Reporting on a Jailed Journalist: A Textual Analysis during the Transition Period 1993-97 4. Reporting on the Taiwanese Presidential Election: A Textual Analysis of News Coverage in the Post-Handover Period 5. Regime Change and Media Control 6. Journalism's Norms and People Power 7. Conclusion

Media in South Africa After Apartheid: A Cross-Media Assessment, edited by Anthony A. Olorunnisola (Edwin Mellen Press, 2006). Edited by a Nigerian and drawing on mostly South African scholars this volume offers a sort of retrospective of South African media since the first democratic elections in 1994.

META/DATA: A Digital Poetics, by Mark Amerika (MIT, 2007). “Collection of writings by pioneering digital artist Mark Amerika mixes (and remixes) personal memoir, net art theory, fictional narrative, satirical reportage, scholarly history, and network-infused language art. META/DATA is a playful, improvisatory, multitrack "digital sampling" of Amerika's writing from 1993 to 2005 that tells the early history of a net art world "gone wild" while simultaneously constructing a parallel poetics of net art that complements Amerika's own artistic practice.” –Publisher’s website

More Than Words: Readings in Transport, Communication, and the History of Postal Communication, edited by John Willis (University of Washington, 2007). Features articles by more than twenty scholars from Canada and abroad on topics related to postal communication.

Ourspace: Resisting the Corporate Control of Culture, by Christine Harold (University of Minnesota, 2007). Examines ways of sabotaging the pervasiveness of corporations on culture, such as the open source software movement.

Olympic Media: Behind the Scenes at the Biggest Show on Television, by Andrew C. Billings (Routledge, 2007). The first academic exploration of TV sports media's output from a 'behind the scenes' perspective. Includes interviews with the influential US broadcasters and producers and sports media professionals.

Picturing Pity: Pitfalls and Pleasures in Cross-Cultural Communication. Image and Word in a North Cameroon Mission, by Marianne Gullestad (Berghahn Books, 2007). An in depth analysis of missionary photography, specifically pictures taken by the Norwegian evangelical missionaries in Northern Cameroon from the early 1920s to the present.

The Pilgrim and the Bee: Reading Rituals and Book Culture in Early New England, by Mathew P. Brown (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001). The author “examines book culture and the rituals of reading in early New England, ranging across almanacs, commonplace books, wonder tales, funeral elegies, sermon notes, conversion relations, and missionary tracts. What emerges is a new understanding of the book at once as a material good, existing within the economies of buying, selling, giving, and receiving; as an object of reverence and a medium for the performance of reading; and as an organizational system for word, sound, and image…Brown focuses on the reader's body, carefully studying reading practices during the first three generations of English settlement, with particular emphasis on the way such practices operated in the social rituals of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. –Publisher’s website

Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting, and Creating Media, by Susan Driver (Peter Lange, 2007). Explores how lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth consume, reappropriate, and create images of themselves in the media.

Rules of the Game: Quiz Shows and American Culture, by Olaf Hoerschelmann (State University of New York Press, 2006). Represents the first scholarly, book-length study of the quiz/game show genre. This seemingly lowest of the low-brow television genres, the author argues, serves to create “a discursive space in which a reversal of cultural hierarchies is possible.”

Same Time, Same Station: Creating American Television, 1948-1961, by James L. Baughman (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007). “Baughman, a gifted historian and scholar, provides the reader with deep insight into television in the 1950s…explains clearly how the roots of yesterday’s television led to what we all see today.” --Newton N. Minow

Understanding Surveillance Technologies: Spy Devices, Privacy, History & Applications, by J. K. Petersen (Auerbach Publications, 2007). An encyclopedia reference practical enough for criminal justice/law enforcement/military, and forensic trainees, and theoretical enough for academics in Surveillance Studies, Sociology, Communications, and Political Science. This second edition of the 2001 title, is (perhaps tellingly) over twice the size with 1,000 pages and more than 700 diagrams.

Violent Video Game Effects on Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Public Policy, by Craig A. Anderson, Douglas A. Gentile and Katherine E. Buckley (Oxford, 2007). “The authors present an excellent blend of theory and research, including their own studies, and numerous suggestions for public policy debates that will hopefully lead to more positive game content and a more considered use of videos. The chapter on methodology is particularly well written and is a must for anyone contemplating entering the field of video game research."--Dorothy G. Singer, Yale University

Virtually Anglo-Saxon: Old Media, New Media, and Early Medieval Studies in the Late Age of Print, by Martin K. Foys (University of Florida, 2007). “Foys argues that early medieval culture did not favor the representational practices privileged by the modern age and that five hundred years of print culture have in effect shut off modern readers from interpretations of text and image that would have been transparent to a medieval audience. Examining print and post-print ways of reading medieval literature and art, he derives alternative models of understanding from the realm of digital media, considering pre-print expression through a range of post-print ideas and producing new and vital understandings of visionary Old English poetry, Anglo-Saxon maps of the world, 11th-century Benedictine devotional writings, medieval mathematical systems, stone sculpture of Viking settlers, and the famous Bayeux Tapestry.” –Publisher’s website

Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations Across the Pacific, by Shu-mei Shih (University of California, 2007). Analysis of the imagery in film, television, art, and popular culture of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Chinese America.

We Interrupt This Broadcast: How to Improve Local News and Win Ratings, Too, by Tom Rsenstiel, Marion Just, Todd Belt, Atiba Pertilla, Walter Dean, and Dante Chinni (Cambridge, 2007). “This landmark book, with its guidelines for producing appealing information-rich local news, may well stop the steady slide of local news into civic irrelevance.” –Doris Graber, University of Illinois at Chicago

Young Citizens and New Media: Learning Democratic Participation, edited by Peter Dahlgren (Routledge, 2007). This book contains a wide range of essays organized around four distinct topics: young people, citizenship, new media, and learning processes.

Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, by Geert Lovink (Routledge, 2007). “Geert Lovink upgrades worn out concepts about the Internet and interrogates the latest hype surrounding blogs and social network sites. In this third volume of his studies into critical Internet culture, following the influential Dark Fiber and My First Recession, Lovink develops a 'general theory of blogging.' Unlike most critiques of blogging, Lovink is not focusing here on the dynamics between bloggers and the mainstream news media, but rather unpacking the ways that blogs exhibit a 'nihilist impulse' to empty out established meaning structures. Blogs, Lovink argues, are bringing about the decay of traditional broadcast media, and they are driven by an in-crowd dynamic in which social ranking is a primary concern.” –Publisher’s website

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