Mediatization (media)

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For princely states, see Mediatization.

In communication studies or media studies, mediatization is a theory that argues that the media shapes and frames the processes and discourse of political communication as well as the society in which that communication takes place (Lilleker, 2008). In this framework, an important aspect of modernization is the development of media (Krotz 2008), beginning with a change in communication media and proceeding to subordination of the power of prevailing influential institutions (Hjarvard 2008, 7). As a consequence of this process, institutions and whole societies are shaped by and dependent on mass media (Mazzoleni & Schulz, 1999).

As noted by Von Joachim Preusse and Sarah Zielmann, Kent Asp introduced and lamented on the concept of mediatazation and clarifiy that: "Mediatisation was first applied to media's impact on political communication and other effects on politics. The Swedish media researcher Kent Asp was the first to speak of the mediatisation of political life, by which he meant a process whereby 'a political system to a high degree is influenced by and adjusted to the demands of the mass media in their coverage of politics'" (2010:336).

Asp used the term mediated politics to describe how the media have become a necessary source of information between politicians and those in authority and those they governed. According to Asp's understanding politics are mediated when the mass media are the main or the only source of political information through which it may influence or even shape people’s conceptions of political reality. Asp theoretical assumptions that mass media may influence and mobilize current political ideas through mediatized rituals have been adopted by various communication scholars.

In the tradition of Asp, the Danish media scholar Stig Hjarvard (2008) helped to develop the concept of mediatization and suggested that mediatization is a social process whereby the society is saturated and inundated by the media to the extent that the media cannot longer be thought of separated from other institutions within the society.

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  • Adolf, M. (2011). Clarifying Mediatization: Sorting through a current debate. Empedocles: European Journal for the Philosophy of Communication, 3(2), 153-175. DOI: 10.1386/ejpc.3.2.153_1.
  • Friesen, N. & Hug, T. (2009). The Mediatic Turn: Exploring Consequences for Media Pedagogy. In K. Lundby (Ed.). Mediatization: Concept, Changes, Consequences. New York: Peter Lang. pp. 64–81. Online version available at: http://learningspaces.org/n/papers/Media_Pedagogy_&_Mediatic_Turn.pdf
  • Krotz, F. (2008). Media Connectivity: Concepts, Conditions, and Consequences. In A. Hepp, F. Krotz & S. Moores (Eds.), Network, Connectivity and Flow: Key concepts for Media and Cultural Studies. New York: Hampton Press.
  • Hjarvard, S. (2008). The Mediatization of Religion: A Theory of the Media as Agents of Religious Change. In Northern Lights 2008. Yearbook of Film & Media Studies. Bristol: Intellect Press.
  • Mazzoleni, G., & Schulz, W. (1999). "Mediatization" of Politics: A Challenge for Democracy? Political Communication, 16(3), 247-261.
  • Lilleker, D., 2008, Key Concepts in Political Communications. SAGE London
  • Strömbäck, J., 2008, Four Phases of Mediatization: An Analysis of the Mediatization of Politics. International Journal of Press/Politics, 13, 228-246.