Digital Materialisms: Frameworks for Digital Media Studies

Article English OPEN
Casemajor, Nathalie (2015)
  • Publisher: University of Westminster Press
  • Journal: Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture (WPCC) (issn: 1744-6708, eissn: 1744-6716)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.16997/wpcc.209
  • Subject: P87-96 | Communication. Mass media | digital, immateriality, materialism, politics, ecology

Since the 1980s, digital materialism has received increasing interest in the field of media studies. Materialism as a theoretical paradigm assumes that all things in the world are tied to physical processes and matter. Yet within digital media studies, the understanding of what should be the core object of a materialist analysis is debated. This paper proposes to untangle some of the principal theoretical propositions that compose the field of digital materialism. It outlines six frameworks that share the assumption that digital stuff is composed of material entities: the Berlin School of media, the field of software studies, the literary critique of electronic texts, the forensic approach, the ‘new materialist’ media ecology, and the field of Marxian critical studies. These different options are positioned along three main lines of tensions: between a semantic and an engineer’s perspective on media, between technological and social determinism, and between critical or post-humanist political propositions. 
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