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Life without democracy, life without citizenship, life without media

Maxwell, R. and Miller, T. (2013) Life without democracy, life without citizenship, life without media. In: Comas, E., Cuenca, J. and Zilles, K., (eds.) Life Without Media. Peter Lang Publishing, New York, USA, pp. 43-61.


What can we possibly be thinking of with this title? It is monstrous to ponder an undemocratic world, one without citizenship and the media. Yet just such a monster is proposed by this very book, which postulates the decline of conventional media forms because the political economy underpinning TV drama, event cinema, print journalism, sport, music, advertising, and so on is undergoing unprecedented change: black-box techniques and technologies, once set away from audiences, are increasingly part of public debate and use. Consumer electronics connect to information and communication technologies and vice versa; televisions resemble computers; books are read on telephones; newspapers are written through clouds; and so on. Genres and gadgets that were separate are now linked, and the mystification of conventional media is supposedly undermined. It is human, all too human (Malmodin, Moberg, Lundén, Finnveden, & Lövehagen, 2010).

In this chapter, we provide a cautious welcome to a life without media—and we include new as well as ancient and middle-aged media in that speculative fiction. Why? Both utopic advocates and dystopic critics have failed to consider the ecological impact of past, present, and future media. This should be a principal concern of both discourses, since the phrase “life without media” presumes disposability. Despite the environmental benefit of a life without media, we query such a future, given the role they have played in democratization.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Peter Lang Publishing
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