EASST 2014 – Track: STS and media studies: Empirical and conceptual encounters?

STS and media studies: Empirical and conceptual encounters?

17 September 2014, EASST CONFERENCE 2014, Torun, Poland

Convenors: Cornelius Schubert (Universität Siegen) and Estrid Sørensen (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Session I: 

Estrid Sørensen, Cornelius Schubert: Welcome and introductory remarks

John Hondros: A role for STS concepts in media studies: A case study of Internet video producers.

Sergio Minniti: When the old becomes new: The reconstruction of instant analogue photography in the digital age

Johannes Paßmann: Has Twitter’s meaning finally stabilized? German media theory and the relationship of usage practices and technology

Session II: 

Matthias Wieser: The materiality and culture of media technology

Paolo Magaudda: Formats, standards, and infrastructures: Digital media and the digitalization of cultural consumption

Vinciane Zabban, Samuel Coavoux, Manuel Boutet: The Invisible Influence of STS in the birth of game studies
Pau Alsina: Circulating on a media archaeology bridge between STS and media studies

 

ABSTRACT: Formats, standards, and infrastructures: Digital media and the digitalization of cultural consumption

Author: Paolo Magaudda (University of Padova)

The presentation develops a discussion on some concepts originated from STS and media studies,only marginally considered together in the study of media and culture: the concepts of “formats”, “standards” and “infrastructures”. These notions, with their different origins and applications, will be discussed to address questions related with the process of digitalization of cultural consumption, with specific reference to the circulation of digital music and ebooks. The concepts of “standard” and “infrastructure” have a robust tradition in STS (i.e. Star & Ruhleder, 1996), but this work has not been embraced in media studies, even if both these terms are commonly used in general ways to discuss media and communication. The notion of “format” and its relevance to understand media have been recognized only recently as extremely relevant in media studies, following the work of Jonathan Sterne (2012) on the creation of mp3. Sterne’s work, which can be rightly considered an STS-informed historical approach to digital media, has highlighted the need to develop further media studies to consider the hidden dimension implicit in digital media standard and infrastructures. The presentation will discuss these concepts and their reciprocal connections to develop potential intersections between STS and media studies, also illustrating these ideas with empirical examples regarding the process of digitalization of consumption practices of music and books.

Star & Ruhleder (1996). Steps toward an ecology of infrastructure: Design and access for large information spaces. Information Systems Research, 7(1), 111-134.

Sterne (2012) MP3. The meaning of a format, Duke University Press.

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