RE: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal cul ture

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Jun 11 2001 - 14:23:56 BST

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    Subject: RE: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal cul ture
    Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 14:23:56 +0100
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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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