This cluster focuses on the broad structural framework in which the media operate in modern societies. Political and economic influences as well as social and cultural practices determine how well the media empower citizens and reflect the values that they are expected to sustain and support. Using a broad definition of ‘governance’, our research looks not only at legal and regulatory structures, but also at the role and impact of markets, technological change, social movements and user practices in shaping the global media environment. Led by Marc Raboy, the Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications, this cluster promotes the study of media and communication policy issues as they influence democracy, cultural diversity and communication rights. In addition to a series of specific projects, we are driving the development of a global research network on media governance.
Media and Technology
Technology is a central feature of modern life, related intimately to various practices and settings of human communication. This cluster includes researchers and projects focused on this relationship. Communication technologies are investigated as social, cultural and political phenomena, using a broad range of theoretical and methodological approaches. Darin Barney, the Canada Research Chair in Technology and Citizenship and several other core faculty are involved in research projects in this area. These range from studies of the origins of sound reproduction technologies, to the use of new media to distribute cultural products and the role of media and communication technologies in rural communities.
Media and Culture
Contemporary culture, identity and social values are rooted in media forms and content. The mass media are powerful sites of cultural and political identification; they are also strategic sites for cultural and political mobilization. The mediatization of crime, to take but one example, has enormous impact on behaviour, attitudes, public debate and a range of social practices. In an age of globalization, media are also crucial to people’s sense of self and place – we examine this through the prism of diasporic communities, cultural difference and challenges to the traditional framework of multiculturalism. Finally, four of our core faculty members are involved in a major interdisciplinary research initiative comparing the role of media in three North American cultural capitals: Montreal, New York City and Mexico City.