A Social History of the Media: From Gutenberg to the Internet

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Polity, Jul 29, 2005 - Performing Arts - 304 pages
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Written by two leading social and cultural historians, the first edition of A Social History of the Media has become a classic textbook, providing a masterful overview of communication media and of the social and cultural contexts within which they emerged and evolved over time.

In this new and revised edition, Asa Briggs and Peter Burke have updated their classic study to cover the exciting media developments of the early 21st Century. In addition to the classic material exploring the continuing importance of oral and manuscript communication, the rise of print and the relationship between physical transportation and social communication, a new chapter on multimedia now extends the far-reaching scope of this book. New media technologies are treated in new depth throughout the latter sections and the book concludes with an account of the convergences associated with digital communication technology, the rise of the internet and the phenomenon of globalization.

Avoiding technological determinism and rejecting assumptions of straightforward evolutionary progress, this book brings out the rich and varied histories of communication media. It will be an ideal text for students in history, media and cultural studies and journalism, but it will also appeal to a wide general readership. It has already been translated into more than ten languages.

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A social history of the media: from Gutenberg to the Internet

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Every new mode of communication provokes passionate debate about its moral and social repercussions. Today we fret over the negative influence of television and the Internet; in the 16th century, it ... Read full review


The Print Revolution in Context
The Media and the Public Sphere in Early Modern Europe
From Steam to Electricity
Processes and Patterns
Information Education Entertainment
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About the author (2005)

Asa Briggs is formerly Provost of Worcester College, Oxford and Chancellor of the Open University.

Peter Burke is Professor of Cultural History, University of Cambridge.

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