Beyond Mediation: Thinking the Computer Otherwise
Gunkel, David J.
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Whatever Media Studies 2.0 involves, one thing is certain, there is a need to confront and deal with new technologies, most notably computers and computer networks. Despite the fact that the discipline has largely marginalized these innovations, there has been some effort to incorporate the computer into both the theories and practices of media studies. This has been accomplished, at least in the United States, through the development of what is now called computer-mediated communication (CMC). CMC, which effectively understands the computer as a medium of human communication, does not necessarily institute a significant paradigm shift in media studies but accommodates the new technologies to existing structures, methodologies, and models. This essay contests and critiques this approach. It reviews the development of CMC, identifies its structural limitations, and provides an alternative understanding of the computer that has the potential to reorient the discipline in a much more radical fashion.