VICKI MAYER, “FUN AND LOATHING IN MEDIA STUDIES: NOTES FROM THE FIELD”

Coordinates: Thursday, Nov 15 at 6PM (EV 6.720)

Media Studies as a field of study has reveled in its hybridity since its beginnings in the 1990s. Being neither humanistic fish nor social scientistic foul, media studies attracted students with the allures of unbounded inquiries and creative ways of doing critique in the academy. Pleasure was one of the central organizing features of the field in which watching television and going to fan conventions counted as research.

Meanwhile, dot-commers and reality media makers stormed the global economy. With their own celebratory calls to pull down industrial boundaries and unleash popular creativity, Silicon Valley and Hollywood became the epicenters exporting a new kind of work. Play became the common parlance for creating value in the knowledge economy.

Years later, the cultural infrastructures are established and establishment. Media studies has annualized conferences and standardized curricula. In the creative industries, the festivals have rules of conduct, and the gigs are wrapped in contracted limits on speech and expression. These worlds for work and employment seem worlds apart, antagonistic even. Yet it’s the delicate balance between maintaining faith in the fun and loathing the limits that seem the most obvious basis for a solidarity.

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