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Media Studies and the Psychosocial Subject

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Abstract

The chapter is divided into four main parts. Firstly, it provides a historical outline of the development of media studies by shedding light on the founding of its main schools and traditions. Secondly, it offers an understanding of media from a psychosocial vantage point, so as to then, thirdly, touch upon existing psychosocial traditions of studying media. The final part offers miniature portraits of central thinkers and texts in media studies and discusses their bearings on psychosocial conceptions of the subject. Due to the interdisciplinary origins and outlook of both media and psychosocial studies and their partial reliance on the same academic traditions, a significant number of key positions in media studies show strong affinities to psychosocial conceptions of the subject. Countering the dominant, quantitative-empirical research paradigm in media studies, these positions themselves have long since taken on hegemonic status. This status, in turn, casts an interesting light on psychosocial studies, which has traditionally seen itself as at the margins of the academic field.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Awkwardly, this text is again written by a white, bespectacled, middle-aged man from Western Europe. My media studies socialization, however, has been very much oriented toward those currents – the Frankfurt and Birmingham Schools, psychoanalytic and postcolonial theory – that have sought to oppose and critically reflect the hegemonic positions in the field. My hope is that this present text meets the standards set by the traditions that I claim as my own.

  2. 2.

    https://www.tavinstitute.org/what-we-offer/ (accessed 22 June 2021).

  3. 3.

    When I refer to the objects and phenomena that Figlio and Richards (2003) take up in their study – street lights and a small local demonstration – as “media objects,” I do so by applying McLuhan’s (2010 [1964]) extended definition of media.

  4. 4.

    Some of Kris’s observations here are by no means unproblematic. Indeed, they would send Lacan into prolonged polemics against Kris after the war (cf. Krüger, 2012).

  5. 5.

    This description of artificial skepticism has interesting parallels to the notions of “post-truth,” “fake news,” and conspiracy beliefs of our own historical juncture (cf. Krüger and Busch, 2021).

  6. 6.

    For a more complete overview of the field, see the section “Looking and Subjectivity” in Evans and Hall (1999).

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Krüger, S. (2022). Media Studies and the Psychosocial Subject. In: Frosh, S., Vyrgioti, M., Walsh, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61510-9_4-1

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