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Conditions of Mediation

Phenomenological Perspectives on Media

Edited By Tim Markham and Scott Rodgers

Phenomenology has become one of the most important philosophical traditions underpinning recent theory and research on new media, whether or not the word is used explicitly. Conditions of Mediation brings together, for the first time in a single publication, the diversity of phenomenological media research—from social platforms and wearable media to diasporic identity formation and the ethics of consumer technologies.

The new orthodoxy in media studies emphasizes the experience of media—whether as forms, texts, technics or protocols—marking a departure from traditional approaches preoccupied with media content or its structural contexts. But phenomenologically informed approaches go beyond merely asking what people do with media. They ask a more profound question: what constitutes the conditions of mediated experience in the first place?

Beginning with an accessible introduction, this book invites readers to explore a wide range of phenomenological perspectives on media via two critical dialogues involving key thinkers alongside a series of theoretically sophisticated and empirically grounded chapters. In so doing, interdisciplinary media studies is brought into conversation with the work of philosophers such as Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, as well as phenomenologically-inspired thinkers such as Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, Tim Ingold, Henri Lefebvre, Friedrich Kittler, Marshall McLuhan and Bernard Stiegler.

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Phenomenological Approaches to the Computal: Some Reflections on Computation (David M. Berry)

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Phenomenological Approaches to the Computal

Some Reflections on Computation

David M. Berry

The questions raised by the experience of computation, and therefore of broadly phenomenological interest, seem to me to be connected not just at a level of a posited metaphysical subject, that is Dasein, but also in the instantiation of a social or group dynamic toward a social ontology and therefore a social phenomenology.1 Therefore I’m interested in exploring what I’m increasingly calling the computal, both in terms of the phenomenology and its particularity and temporality, but also how the computal itself is instantiated and articulated through different socio-technical moments. What I want to do in this section is start to outline some of my thoughts around this notion of the computal, but also think about how it plays out in particular social contexts. Here I’m thinking particularly in terms of real-time streaming technologies.2 What I’m trying to get to grips with really is the notion of algorithmic mediation, and some of the questions that have been raised by the previous discussions—it’s quite interesting reflecting on the other contributions and seeing the continuity with what I want to examine here.

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