Suppose social reality to be mediated – what? What follows from that? With apologies to Nietschze (we are adapting here the start of his book Beyond Good and Evil ), this is the question we set out to answer in our new book The Mediated Construction of Reality which is published with Polity this November.
We believe that social theory needs to be radically rethought for a world of digital media and social media platforms driven by data processes. It is fifty years now since Berger and Luckmann published their classic text The Social Construction of Reality, but, influential though it was, it said almost nothing about media. So how would their bold project – to understand how social reality is constructed and the sort of social order that results from how it is constructed – be written differently now in an age when digital saturated our lives?
We have tried in this book, in an accessible style, to ask: What difference does the deep involvement of digital media, and the data processes on which they rely, make to the type of social world we can now inhabit? How do we evaluate the consequences for our quality of life? Is the sort of social order that results – very different from the world that Berger and Luckman saw when they wrote their book in the 1960s – something we can welcome, or is it riven by important contradictions that need to be faced? If you are interested in these questions, whether you are a researcher or a student of media and communications, please read our book!
Nick Couldry is Professor of Media, Communications and Social Theory in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science Andreas Hepp is Professor of Communication and Media Studies at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI), University of Bremen