The Mediated Construction of Reality
December 2016, Polity
Social theory needs to be completely rethought in a world of digital media and social media platforms driven by data processes. Fifty years after Berger and Luckmann published their classic text The Social Construction of Reality, two leading sociologists of media, Nick Couldry and Andreas Hepp, revisit the question of how social theory can understand the processes through which an everyday world is constructed in and through media.
Drawing on Schütz, Elias and many other social and media theorists, they ask: what are the implications of digital media s profound involvement in those processes? Is the result a social world that is stable and liveable, or one that is increasingly unstable and unliveable?
Chapter 1: Introduction
Part I: Constructing the Social World
Chapter 2: The Social World as Communicative Construction
Chapter 3: History as Waves of Mediatization
Chapter 4: How We Live With Media
Part II: Dimensions of the Social World
Chapter 5: Space
Chapter 6: Time
Chapter 7: Data
Part III: Agency in the Social World
Chapter 8: Self
Chapter 9: Collectivities
Chapter 10: Order
Chapter 11: Conclusion
Andreas Hepp is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), University of Bremen.
José van Dijck, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"A profound and illuminating attempt to bring core traditions of social theory into the study of media in the digital age. An excellent and pathbreaking book."
Anthony Giddens, member of the House of Lords, former director of the London School of Economics and Political Science
"In this wide-ranging, ambitious volume, Couldry and Hepp revisit Berger & Luckmann's classic work on social construction. Their theory of "deep mediatization" resituates digital media systems and networked "figurations" of communicative action as interdependent, constitutive phenomena in contemporary sociality and social worlds. Mediated Construction is an indispensable contribution to social theory in communication research and media sociology."
Leah Lievrouw, University of California, Los Angeles
"This is not a book about media, but a book about the world shaped by media. And it is not just about that empirical reality, but about how to understand it. Couldry and Hepp develop insights from phenomenology and integrate these with critical theory in an exciting combination."
Craig Calhoun, London School of Economics and Political Science
"The Mediated Construction of Reality is simply an important book for sociology and for media and communication studies alike – maybe as important as The Social Construction of Reality became half a century ago."
"It might seem overly ambitious for communication studies to develop, rather than just draw upon, social theories that may have an enduring cross-disciplinary impact. Yet, as media sociologists Nick Couldry (London School of Economics and Political Science) and Andreas Hepp (University of Bremen) show in The Mediated Construction of Reality, it is time to do just that. … Scholars of interpersonal, organizational, and political communicationor anyone who is concerned about the implications of the digital agewill find insights in this book."
Meng Li, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly