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Recharting Media Studies

Essays on Neglected Media Critics

Philip Bounds and Mala Jagmohan

Scholars in Media Studies increasingly take the view that our understanding of the history of the discipline is deeply inadequate. It is now widely recognised that a large number of important media analysts have simply been omitted from the standard histories. This book aims to fill in some of the gaps by examining the work of eleven neglected writers, each of whom has made a seminal contribution to the analysis of the media but whose work rarely appears in student textbooks, anthologies and readers. In keeping with the interdisciplinary ambitions of contemporary Media Studies, the selected thinkers are drawn from a wide range of historical periods and intellectual backgrounds. There are chapters on sociologists, creative writers, cultural theorists, art critics, journalists and even ancient Greek philosophers. The aims of the book are by no means purely antiquarian. The contributors believe that a revival of interest in the work of their chosen writers can go a long way towards revitalising Media Studies, especially by (1) drawing attention to a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches which have yet to be adequately exploited, (2) suggesting new areas of research, and (3) transforming our understanding of the historical development of Media Studies.
Contents: Philip Bounds/Mala Jagmohan: Expanding the Canon: A Polemical Introduction – Ieuan Williams: Plato: Media Theorist – Ieuan Williams: Spinoza as a Theorist of Communication – Kevin Williams: Millionaires and the Public Mind: Norman Angell and the Political Economy of the Press – Mala Jagmohan: Rediscovering Robert Park – Philip Bounds: Orwell and Mass Communication: The Dialogue with British Marxism – Geraint Evans: Elizabeth Eisenstein and the Idea of Media History – Philip Bounds: Beyond Ways of Seeing: The Media Criticism of John Berger – Daisy Hasan: Neil Postman and the Rise of Infotainment in India – Jonathan Smith: Umberto Eco; or, A Portrait of the Semiotician as a Young Media Critic – Helen Fulton: Reading Media Images: The Visual Grammar of Kress and van Leeuwen.