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Playful media practices, ‘new media’ cultural production

June 30, 2008

Ardevol, E., A. Roig, G. San Cornelio, R. Pages and P. Alsina (forthcoming) Playful media practices: theorising ‘new media’ cultural production. In Bräuchler, B. and J. Postill (eds) Theorising Media and Practice. Oxford and New York : Berghahn.

The stated aim of this piece is ‘to explore how people’s media practices mix with institutionalised media practices’. Elisenda Ardevol and colleagues contend that media theorists should pay more attention to ‘play’ as a key element of the current global shift in media production towards what is usually known as ‘user-generated content’. Through their creative, ludic appropriation of diverse internet and mobile technologies, today’s ‘media consumers’ are often simultaneously producers and distributors of new – or newly recycled – media content. Basing their analysis on audiovisual, including computer gaming, examples from France, Hong Kong and Spain the authors caution that the notion of ‘media-related practices’ (Hobart, this volume) implies a separation between institutional and amateur (or popular) media practices that is increasingly hard to sustain in today’s media environments, e.g. when a mundane Hong Kong bus scene filmed on a mobile phone by an amateur spreads and morphs rapidly across the porous boundaries separating the ‘traditional’ media from myriad newer platforms and genres.  They conclude that any practice-based approach to media should be informed by the understanding that today virtually all of us are ‘the’ media.

Summarised by John Postill

NB: To read other chapter summaries, see under “Media and Practice book” category

See also response (in Spanish) in Elisenda Ardevol’s blog mediaciones

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