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Polymedia: Towards a new theory of digital media in interpersonal communication

Madianou, M; Miller, D; (2013) Polymedia: Towards a new theory of digital media in interpersonal communication. International Journal of Cultural Studies , 16 (2) 169 - 187. 10.1177/1367877912452486. Green open access

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Abstract

This article develops a new theory of polymedia in order to understand the consequences of digital media in the context of interpersonal communication. Drawing on illustrative examples from a comparative ethnography of Filipino and Caribbean transnational families, the article develops the contours of a theory of polymedia. We demonstrate how users avail themselves of new media as a communicative environment of affordances rather than as a catalogue of ever proliferating but discrete technologies. As a consequence, with polymedia the primary concern shifts from the constraints imposed by each individual medium to an emphasis upon the social, emotional and moral consequences of choosing between those different media. As the choice of medium acquires communicative intent, navigating the environment of polymedia becomes inextricably linked to the ways in which interpersonal relationships are experienced and managed. Polymedia is ultimately about a new relationship between the social and the technological, rather than merely a shift in the technology itself.

Type: Article
Title: Polymedia: Towards a new theory of digital media in interpersonal communication
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1367877912452486
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1367877912452486
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2012. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).
Keywords: ethnography, convergence, interpersonal relationships, media ecologies, new media, transnational families
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1396351
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