In this lecture, Professor Nick Couldry will ask: what is the contribution of social theory to understanding the social transformations that the digital media explosion is generating? What type of social theory do we need, and is it the same as the social theory that is sometimes on offer? He will contextualise these broad questions in a review of the many, overlapping uncertainties that beset ‘media’, and the producers and researchers of media, today: uncertainties about what, who and where are media; uncertainties about what we do with media; uncertainties about the economic viability and social/ political status of media institutions; and uncertainties about the spatial and ethical consequences of media. The so-called digital revolution points to massive changes but these uncertainties do not resolve into one simple direction of travel. Social theory of the right sort, Couldry will argue, can help us unravel some of the complex battles that the future of ‘media’ holds.
Nick Couldry is Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and Director of its Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy. He is the author or editor of ten books including most recently Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice (Polity 2012) and Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism (Sage 2010).