What is a media theory for? What practical functions do ideas about media serve?

Essay by honeyGGUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, September 2009

download word file, 12 pages 3.0

Throughout the history, human beings have enjoyed an intimate connection with media. Insofar as communication is an integral part of the human experience, human beings have been devising means and methods of doing so from the early days of their history. After the development of the printing press in the fifteenth century, media became increasingly public-oriented and its sphere of influence widened dramatically. The nineteenth and the twentieth centuries saw media become even more publically accessible. As vital developments in communications technology were made, what we now know as mass media was born. In the late twentieth century, with the advent of the computer, and later, the internet, mass media now enjoyed an unprecedented accessibility which was previously unimaginable. Because media was now capable of reaching every member of society, it also began to acquire and exert influence over society. In order to study this influence of media on society, media theories were developed in the latter half of the twentieth century.

These same scholars and practitioners of social theory also recognized the untapped potential of the new forms of media, and realized that these could be used to further certain goals of society. One such thinker is Vilem Flusser, who argued in his article titled 'On the Crisis of Our Models' that the new forms of media, such as television, could be effectively used to create new epistemological and scientific models. This particular media theory proposed that utilizing the new media for such purposes will benefit the human effort of acquiring knowledge greatly. He argues that media theories can be aimed at practical purposes, and that the media forms and events and media theories are not only closely linked, but are also interdependent, each influencing the other and evolving as a conglomeration of sorts. He takes as...