Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ten Good Reasons for Doing Media Theory (again)

I am very happy to be part of the editorial board of Media Theory, a new and fully open access academic journal to be launched in September 2017. Simon Dawes has been networking and arguing and drumming up support for this initiative. And judging from the scope represented in the advisory board, we cover all fields from art history to software studies, from critical theory to philosophy. Thumbs up for an accessible and lively forum that takes open access to a new level. Watch the blog.

From the inaugural issue, here are my ten propositions why we should be doing media theory (again).

  1. Media Theory Is Transnational
  2. Media Theory Is Interdisciplinary
  3. Media Theory Can Be Applied
  4. Theory Has a Context (and a Motivation)
  5. Media Theory Is Not a Field
  6. Debate Needs Positions (but Positions Are Not Everything)
  7. Define Medium/a
  8. Media Are Everywhere (but Not Everything Is Media)
  9. What Media Theory Is Not About
  10. Media Theory Is Open Access

Read more at:

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The October Playlist

The monthly update on smash hits and rare tunes in media and communication studies. A personal collection.


Gearing up for the AoIR in Berlin next week, SAGE offers a special selection of articles from Big Data & Society, Social Media + Society, Global Media and China, and Digital Health for your free perusal.

Some highly accessible highlights:
Hands on Data: Kennedy, Helen; Poell, Thomas; van Dijck, José (2015). “Data and Agency.” Big Data & Society 2(2): 1-7.

New Media+New Movements=New Research? Neumayer, Christina; Rossi, Luca (2016). “15 Years of Protest and Media Technologies Scholarship: A Sociotechnical Timeline.” Social Media + Society 2(3): 1-13.

[Of Note: Kaun, Anne; Kyriakidou, Maria; Uldam, Julie (2016). “Political Agency at the Digital Crossroads.” Media and Communication 4(4): 1-7.]

Positions on Social Media: Manifesto Virtual Special issue,  edited  by Zizi Papacharissi.

Publics and Mobilities – Mimi Sheller special

Sheller, Mimi; Urry, John (2003). “Mobile Transformations of `public’ and `private’ Life.” Theory, Culture & Society 20(3): 107-125.

Sheller, Mimi (2004). “Mobile Publics: Beyond the Network Perspective.” Environmental Studies 22(1): 39-52.

Sheller, Mimi; Urry, John (2006). “The New Mobilities Paradigm.” Environment and Planning 38: 207-226.

Sheller, Mimi (2015). “News Now: Interface, Ambience, Flow, and the Disruptive Spatio-Temporalities of Mobile News Media.” Journalism Studies 16(1): 12-26.


A scholar’s legacy: Kevin Barnhurst (2016). Mr Pulitzer and the Spider. Modern News from Realism to the Digital.

Want to stay tuned for the next playlist? Follow me on Twitter. Want to add tunes? Comment.

Disclaimer: The research, literature or events listed here are recommended based on my own interests, and are not sponsored. Pictures are my own. Trees too.

Off/On Topic: Kitastreik in Berlin auf Twitter

Auch in Berlin soll ab Oktober wieder in den Kindergärten gestreikt werden. Im Gegensatz zur flächendeckenden Kampagne in NRW aber nur in sieben Kitas des Studentenwerks. Die neue phänomenale Strategie von verdi ist jetzt, vorher nicht mal bescheid zu sagen. Merci, Verdi. Wer denkt sich denn das aus?

Als Eltern von Kindern der sieben Kitas des Studentenwerks wollen uns beteiligen. Weniger gern am Streik, aber an der Aufwertung der Erziehungsberufe. Grüß Gott, Herr Birner von Verdi München, für Statements wie diese.

Wenn uns die Eltern unterstützen, ist es schön – aber wenn sie es nicht tun, können wir es auch nicht ändern.

Richtiger wäre es, von vornherein mit den Eltern Aktionen zu planen, statt sie überraschend vor  verschlossenen Türen von Kitas stehen zu lassen. Denn die Eltern wissen die Arbeit der ErzieherInnen sehr wohl zu schätzen.

Am Samstag, 26. September ab 10 Uhr wird es vor dem Eingang zu den Hangars am U-Bhf Platz der Luftbrücke einen lauten Auftakt zur Beteiligung der Eltern geben. Kommt vorbei und macht Krach. Vor allem die Kinder! Ausnahmsweise. Vielleicht hört’s dann auch der Birner Heinrich in München.

Facebookseite zur Aktion:

Hier unten fortlaufend die Twitter-Unterhaltung zum #kitastreik und #gemeinsamaufwerten


Future of Journalism in Cardiff

When follow is not quite the same as being there. Everyone have a great conference (and dinner :-).


Review of Mark Deuze “Media Life” online

My review of Mark Deuze’s “Media Life” (2012; Cambridge: Polity) appeared in Digital Journalism volume 2, issue 4. My criticism boils down to this point:

Media Life is a daring, provocative and mindful analysis of the many ways in which media have become an irreducible component of the social. It is written in a very approachable style, presented in an impeccable typographic design, and is impressive in its scope of concepts, terminologies, and the body of examples from market research, art and popular culture. One (ironic) consequence of Deuze’s analysis is that it makes media studies as a discipline appear redundant by emphasizing how every social and humanistic science must acknowledge the position of media in the constitution of its objects of knowledge. On a more critical note, however, Deuze’s nebulous formulation of “we” and “the people” leaves much to be desired: whether “we” refers to anyone connected to the global information circuit and “the people” are all those entertaining any tangential relation to the life Deuze describes, definitely warrants a more nuanced sociological analysis. Whose life it eventually is, that is in media and nowhere beyond, will be the task to determine in the future of media/life studies. The consequences of Deuze’s remarkable claim that “we are all on our own but at the same time more connected than ever before” (p. 158) have yet to be determined.

Get a free download of the piece here:

Full citation: Raetzsch, Christoph (2014). “Review of Mark Deuze “Media Life”.” Digital Journalism 2(4): 617-619. doi:10.1080/21670811.2014.885262.

Drop me your comments on Deuze or the review below.

Cheers, Christoph


New Article Out: ‘REAL PICTURES OF CURRENT EVENTS’: The photographic legacy of journalistic objectivity

After some time of preparation and strenuous revising, my article on “The photographic legacy of journalistic objectivity” is now out online in Media History. With images.

My basic argument is that the emergence of an ideal of objectivity in American journalism and the photomechanical processes that made photography available as photography in mass print (via the halftone process of reproduction) need to be considered in conjunction. The debate about the value of images and the advantages and deficiencies of certain illustration techniques prefigured the formulation of an ideal of objectivity in journalism, that was, at least until the end of the 19th century, heavily imbued with photographic metaphors. The article appears as part of a special issue of Media History (Volume 21, Issue 3), edited by Marcel Broersma and John Steel on “Redefining Journalism During the Period of the Mass Press 1880–1920”  (See the introduction).


Objectivity has been regarded as a central ideal of American journalism in the early twentieth century. The concurrent emergence of photography in the press is rarely associated with this development. The article explores the photographic legacy of journalistic objectivity by discussing a crucial phase in the development of reproduction media for images, the transition from wood engravings to halftones. The former was the dominant mode of ‘illustrated journalism’, the latter became the dominant mode of reproducing photojournalism in print in the twentieth century. The halftone process introduced an equivalence between photographs and their reproductions, obliterating the mediation that had taken place in a code of reproduction that was almost imperceptible. In the contested adoption of the halftone process, it is argued, a shifting valuation of photographs can be observed that prefigures the formulation of objectivity as a transparent code of mediation in journalism.


Raetzsch, Christoph (2015). ““Real Pictures of Current Events“: The Photographic Legacy of Journalistic Objectivity.” Media History 21(3): 294-312. doi:10.1080/13688804.2015.1053387.


First 50 readers can use the free download:

Selfie Citizenship – Workshop in Manchester

via Adi Kuntsman

A Research Workshop on Selfie Citizenship

16 April 2015, @The Shed, Digital Innovation, Manchester Metropolitan University

Organised by Adi Kuntsman, Farida Vis and Simon Faulkner

Sponsored by Digital Innovation, Manchester Metropolitan University, and The Visual Social Media Lab, The University of Sheffield

The workshop brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines, fields and backgrounds to explore the notion of “selfie citizenship” — the growing use of the selfie-genre and, more broadly, the networked circulations of individual and group self-portraits for “acts of citizenship” (Isin 2008).

In the recent years we have become accustomed to photographs of individuals with hand-written banners, as well as to various selfie memes and hashtag actions (#NoMakeUpSelfie, #WeAreAllClean, #SmearforSmear as well as #ICan’tBreathe, #BlackLivesMatter and #UseMeInstead, to mention just a few), spread on social media as actions of protest and political or social statements. Their circulation is global, and their iconography is often deceivingly similar, yet their motivations, causes and context vary – some stand against police abuse or military occupation, others call for clearer cities or smaller classrooms, yet others promote a charity cause or a social awareness, and there are those that incite violence or call for a war.  Further, while some perform citizenship as a form of nationalism, other mobilise notions of global citizenship, and yet others operate in contexts where citizenship is absent, in question or violently denied.

Such mobilisation of the selfie genre – understood broadly as self-portraits in viral digital circulation – clearly challenges the prevalent popular view of selfies as narcissistic, inherently a-political and even anti-social. Yet selfie citizenship still remains to be theorised, both as a framework for different understanding of selfies, and as a way to think differently about citizenship in the social media age. This workshop was set up to create a space for an intellectual and political conversation around the notion of selfie citizenship, bringing together scholars of visual culture, social and digital media, and cultural citizenship, into a much needed dialogue that explores the work of selfies, but also charts new directions to think about citizenship as a political, affective, visual and networked phenomenon.

Supported with pleasure by