Hospitality and Recognition in the Transmedia Age: Mediatization As Social Critique

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
André JANSSON , Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden
Recent (trans)media innovations, such as the smartphone and social networking sites, have drastically altered the conditions of everyday life in affluent societies. Such developments have on the one hand contributed to potentially expanding lifeworlds and extended social affordances in terms of mobility and social connectivity. On the other hand, research from various disciplines has pointed to social disorders, or “pathologies”, related to the everyday dependency on such technologies, as well as to the socially segregating nature of these developments. Against this backdrop, the suggested paper engages with the ongoing academic debate around mediatization, generally understood as a meta-process of complex socio-cultural change, and focuses particularly on the critical potential of this concept. The argument is developed in three steps. Firstly, a general approach to social critique is presented, based primarily on the works of social philosopher Axel Honneth and media theorist Roger Silverstone. Here, the concepts of hospitality (Silverstone) and recognition (Honneth) are singled out as key (mutually dependent) facets of a socially sustainable and egalitarian (global) society. Secondly, the paper introduces a model of mediatization as a socio-spatial meta-process, based on Lefebvre’s triadic notion of social space. The combined social forces of mediatization are mediated through three regimes of dependency: “material indispensability and adaptation”, “premediation of experience” and “normalization of social practice”. These regimes are to be understood as analytical tools for advancing a critical approach to the mediatization meta-process. Finally, the paper provides an empirically grounded analysis of the current status of hospitality and recognition in mediatized lifeworlds. The empirical analysis integrates qualitative interview data from two different field-work sites; (a) a small-town middle class neighborhood in Sweden and (b) an expatriate community of UN employed Scandinavians in Geneva, Switzerland.  Altogether, the paper contributes to a situated and contextually sensitive critique of mediatization.