Please… title this book!

After nearly two years’ work, I am ready to turn in the anthology I’ve been co-editing (with Pablo Boczkowski and Kirsten Foot). I’m extremely proud of it, and hope it will be useful to young scholars who work on issues around media, technology, society, and culture. The essays are in, proofed, corrected, lined up. The images and figures are nearly all collected and cleared. Its set to see the light of day in Fall 2013, thanks to MIT Press.

There’s just one thing. We cannot seem to find the right title. We’ve tried. And we’ve chosen title after title, but after we sat with each of them for a few days, they just didn’t seem to capture the heart of the collection, or they were clumsy and wordy, or just boring.

So I turn to you, Culture Digitally readers. Will you name this book? It doesn’t have to be a bestseller kind of title, it is a scholarly anthology after all. But we really want people to find it, and we want it to have some enduring value.

Below is a short description and the table of contents. I know its not much to go on, but if you have ideas, put them in the comments to this post. pass this post along, who knows who’s going to get this right. Oh, and there’s a prize: If we use your title, you’ll get a special mention in the acknowledgements.



Editors: Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo Boczkowski, and Kirsten Foot

forthcoming, MIT Press, 2013

The study of media, information, and communication technologies has flourished in both Communication and Science & Technology Studies (STS) research over recent decades. Yet despite sharing objects of inquiry, the scholarship in digital media/ICTs in both fields unfolded largely independently of one another. Only around the turn of the 21st century did ideas begin to be exchanged between scholars of ICTs coming from STS backgrounds, and communication-based scholarship on digital media/ICTs. By attending to the specific concerns of STS and Communication and Media research together, this work has provided more nuanced accounts of the development, circulation, and appropriation of ICTs, stepping beyond scholarship that does not venture outside of the confines of its particular discipline. In fact, a body of work that borrows form each but is distinct unto itself, has begun to take shape. However, what is still missing is a programmatic attempt to articulate and explore the scholarship that has emerged, and merged, from these two fields.

 This volume is both an invitation to those scholars who have undertaken the study of media technologies, and a provocation to the broader fields and traditions in which they work. We believe a productive plateau has been reached, wherein distinct intellectual trajectories originating from disparate fields have gathered around a common purpose: to understand media technologies as complex, socio-material phenomena.

There may be no way to comprehensively or exhaustively map all the intersecting work of social researchers of media and technology. We certainly do not accomplish it here. But the heterogeneity of the scholarship is its highest virtue. We hope that every one of the essays in this volume, and the dialogue among them, will serve as foundational starting points for a new set of questions going forward. 

We have crafted two sets of essays and commentaries that we believe illuminate some useful paths forward. The first addresses materiality and the mediation that produces and embeds new forms of knowledge and expression; the second addresses the practices and meanings that maintain the socio-material formations that are media technologies by animating, building, translating, and repairing them. This is not to say that these are the only two possible directions. The volume reveals both some common assertions and some rich diversity and disagreement. But it does attempt to hold a focus on these two thorny sets of issues, showing how they are vital to understanding media technologies but also fundamental to the study of communication and society. 



Introduction — Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

The Materiality of Mediated Knowledge and Expression

1. Materiality and Media in Communication and Technology Studies: An Unfinished Project — Leah A. Lievrouw

2. Steps Towards Cosmopolitanism in the Study of Media Technologies: Integrating Scholarship on Production, Consumption, Materiality, and Content — Pablo J. Boczkowski and Ignacio Siles

3. Closer to the Metal — Finn Brunton and Gabriella Coleman

4. Emerging Configurations of Knowledge Expression — Geoffrey C. Bowker

5. Comment: “What Do We Want?” “Materiality!” “When Do We Want It?” “Now!” — Jonathan Sterne

6. Comment: Mediations and their Others — Lucy Suchman

The People, Practices, and Promises of Information Networks

7. Making Media Work: Time, Space, Identity, and Labor in the Analysis of Information and Communication Infrastructures — Gregory J. Downey

8. The Relevance of Algorithms — Tarleton Gillespie

9. The Fog of Freedom — Christopher M. Kelty

10. Rethinking Repair — Steven J. Jackson

11. Comment: Identifying the Interests of Digital Users as Audiences, Consumers, Workers and Publics — Sonia Livingstone

12. Comment: The World Outside and the Pictures in Our Networks — Fred Turner


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