The event in December 2013 was co-sponsored by the Program on Language, Literacy and Culture, UC Berkeley, and the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo.

The concept of mediatization denotes social and cultural transformations as facilitated in the interrelations between changes in forms of media and communication and other major processes of change in society.

What are the conditions of ‘mediatized’ life and activity in various domains? What role do forms of literacy play in mediatization processes? How is mediatization theory to be developed as part of social theory? How are we to understand specific technological impact in the longer chain of social and cultural change in a given case? What is the relation between individual agency and external structural changes in mediatization processes? Which ethical issues are evoked by mediatization?

These were among the issues discussed during a workshop at University of California, Berkeley 5-6 December 2013 co-sponsored by their Program on Language, Literacy and Culture, and the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo.

Speakers and commentators were from UC Berkeley (Charles L. Briggs, Glynda A. Hull), University of Bremen (Andreas Hepp, Friedrich Krotz), University of Oslo (Charles M. Ess, Knut Lundby) and from London School of Economics (Nick Couldry). Daniel C. Hallin (UC San Diego) and Stig Hjarvard (U of Copenhagen) contributed comments by Skype. See programme and abstracts.

The workshop discussed ‘Mediatized Conditions’ with sociocultural, ethnographic/anthropological, and phenomenological approaches – in contrast to institutional approaches to mediatization.

The European contributors related their talks to forthcoming chapters in the handbook on Mediatization of Communication to be published 2014 as part of the Handbooks of Communication Science, and to larger ongoing research programmes (Mediatized Worlds, Communicative Figurations, and Mediatization of Culture). European research is presented in ECREA’s working group on mediatization.

The Berkeley contributors challenged the European take in two ways: First, Charles Briggs demonstrated with a case from his anthropological study of an epidemic in Venezuela that mediatization processes have a prehistory and also an afterlife. In ‘biomediatization’ as well as in mediatization within other domains the media intervention is only part of a longer transformation process. Second, Glynda Hull challenged contemporary mediatization research with sociocultural activity theory, in order to connect the transformational processes at an individual level with those at structural levels.

The workshop programme and further information can be accessed here.