Space and place

Authored by: Matilda Tudor

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138665569
eBook ISBN: 9781315619811
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315619811-66

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Abstract

How we conceptualize the relationship between media and space has implications for how we conceive of citizen media. Media may be regarded either as an enabling infrastructure that connects disenfranchised individuals and disparate locations, or as fundamentally interconnected with how we experience and negotiate locality. Media is also commonly understood to produce spaces in its own right, providing alternative geographies for action. Despite their centrality in contemporary media studies, space and place remain difficult to grasp as concepts, however, and continue to evoke discussion relating to the ontological status of the digitally connected human subject. This entry will therefore begin by outlining key debates that emerged in the late twentieth century and reveal the anxieties as well as wishful thinking characteristic of this period in relation to electronic and digital media’s ability to overthrow geography and enable disembodiment. It then looks more closely at what has increasingly been referred to as the ‘spatial turn’ in media studies. Addressing the materiality of everyday life, new perspectives focus more on how media interact with physical conditions and limitations, and stress the need to examine these issues from a grounded standpoint. Instead of leading to the end of geography, new flows and connections across the social and geographical dimensions are understood to ‘rearrange’ space and place, revealing previously unexamined spatial complexities. The entry will conclude with a discussion of findings from ethnographic work conducted among queer media users in contemporary Russia that examined their everyday movements and perceptions of space. It will draw on the work of media phenomenologists in order to capture the mundane entanglement of media in everyday experience and will argue for the importance of recognizing a multiply situated media user in order to grasp the complexities of contemporary social existence.

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