New Media, New Research Challenges, Vol. 20 - 2013, No. 2
The authors introduce the European Science Foundation Forward Look Report Media in Europe: New Questions for Research and Policy (2013) which summarises the conclusions and recommendations of a series of ESF workshops held in 2012 to draw up a strategic research and science policy agenda for media studies in Europe for the next 5-10 years. The presentations in five meetings, along with informal dialogue and exchanges, shed greater light on the pervasive role of the media in so many areas of social, economic, cultural and political life. Five articles based on the ESF workshop position papers by the same authors, debates in the workshops and the final conference held in Ljubljana in January 2013, and respective chapters of the ESF Forward Look Report, discuss current trends in mediated identity formation, the ‘digital divide’ conundrum, political participation in an age of mediatisation, the agency of content creators, and research literature on media literacy.
This paper aims to overview the current processes and challenges that relate to how media developments influence – and are influenced by – the ways in which personal and collective identities are formed in contemporary societies. First, it discusses ways to approach and define the concept of identity from a media perspective. A discussion of how identity formation issues links to the concept of new media literacies forms a transition to three sections that in turn analyse the social trends, the policy trends and the scientific trends that may be discerned in this area. The final section first summarises key research questions and then offers some more concrete ingredients for identifying possible instruments of a new research agenda.
This article begins with a consideration of the different meanings that have been given to the digital divide, and to the normative concerns that researchers have brought to its investigation. It then examines three major traditions of research into the subject: that which stresses issues of physical access; that which adds to the discussion of technical availability a stress upon some of the cultural competences and skills necessary to utilise the technologies fully; and a third which examines situations in which technical availability is almost universal but in which social and cultural factors play a determinant role in the kinds of usage adopted. Building upon the existing state of knowledge, the article goes on to consider its implications both for future research and for the kinds of policies which might be adopted to address the problems of social inclusion today and in the future.
The media landscape and its societal significance is in rapid transition; likewise basic features of democracy are changing. In this article we pursue these two strands in order to sketch the background to a need for a new research agenda, as well as to arrive at proposals regarding the directions that such research can take. In regard to democracy our emphasis is on the dimension of participation, while the developments in the media we capture with the term mediatisation, which signals not only the ubiquity of media but also the processes by which society increasingly adapts itself to media logics. The first section takes up political engagement and situates it within the changing character of democracy. The second section is focused on the media and dynamics of mediatisation, underscoring their significance for democratic participation. In the third section we provide the foundations for a research agenda on mediatisation and democratic participation.
The aim of this article is to discuss some key challenges of content creation as a social and cultural practice, with agency as the analytic lens. The agency of content creators has partly been related to tensions around personal engagement using digital media, and partly about the growth of creative industries and the present economic crisis as ways of understanding transformations of content workers and employment options of young people today and in the years to come. Contemporary media developments represent both opportunities and challenges for people as content creators and the growth of creative industries and a participatory public.
Discourses on media literacy have evolved from concerns about how children and young people relate to media contents, towards broader issues of social inclusion and public participation. In this article we take a closer look at the main understandings of media literacy within media research through a review of existing perspectives and research literature. First we aim to describe the main terminology and positionings concerning media literacy. Secondly we discuss the core issues of research within the field. Three levels are discerned within the literature: the personal level, the social interaction level and the media systems level. Finally we comment on the possible development of a unified research agenda in media literacy.