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<I wonder how media studies defines "media".>
I think the problem with leaving terms like culture and media to
their uses in the natural sciences, is that these terms are more popularly
understood in the general terms that broadly apply to cultural and media
studies. In other words, if you asked the person on the street what was
culture or what a medium was they're are unlikley to talk about stuff in
petri dishes or whatever.
A medium is a means of communication. Media studies, generally
refers to the study of the mass media. Mass media are distinguished by a
number of characteristics, not least their large scale, and thus the
dominant strands of media studies are research into broadcasting,
periodicals, film, and recorded music. We study the mass media (and
generally ignore things like fine art, or opera, which are media too, of
course) because of the immense social importance of mass media that their
large scale affords.
With new media technologies, like the one we're using, the
boundaries are becoming more blurred however. For example, at one time
media studies scholars wouldn't generally have done anywork on
telecommunications, on say, telephones. Now with 3G phones offering always
on internet with streaming video etc. etc., the boundaries between telecoms
and media are less and less apparent.
Perhaps in the context of this discussion, media are_tools_of
communication. Other organisms communicate with each other with varying
degrees of sophistication, but do any other than ourselves use tools to
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