Border communication: Media sociology and STS

Judy Wajcman, Paul K. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the curious interplay between media sociology and Science and Technology Studies (STS). Recent media research is increasingly drawn to STS, while STS analysts are increasingly drawn to research media technologies. While it is routine practice in STS to stress the 'materiality' of the objects under investigation, media technologies pose a challenge to this. Their 'materiality' is difficult to distinguish from their communicative/symbolic dimensions, the latter often being misframed as ideal/immaterial. By contrast, media research traditions have thought through these issues in terms of the concept of articulation and the related conceptual legacy of aesthetic modernism. While far more attentive to the specificity of 'the symbolic', these frameworks have been only partly informed by macro-social theoretical reflection. Here we advocate Calhoun's placement of communications within his 'infrastructure of modernity' as the most suitable overarching framework for discussion of this border communication. However, Calhoun's framework itself can benefit from re-invigoration by the socio-technical insights of both traditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-690
Number of pages18
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


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