Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Media in modernity: a nice derangement of institutions

Couldry, Nick ORCID: 0000-0001-8233-3287 (2017) Media in modernity: a nice derangement of institutions. Revue Internationale de Philosophie, 281 (3). pp. 259-279. ISSN 0048-8143

Text - Accepted Version
Download (867kB) | Preview


This article reviews the contribution of media institutions to modernity and its wider institutional arrangements. It will consider how this relationship has normally been conceived, even mythified, and then, in its second half, review how the institutions that we now call ‘media’ are, potentially, disrupting, even deranging, modernity’s arrangements in profound ways. The article will suggest that, under conditions of increased complexity and radically transformed market competition, the changing set of institutions we call ‘media’ demand a major reinterpretation of how modernity ‘works’ through institutional concentration. The first main section reviews in schematic terms the role which media institutions (the press, radio, television, film, but also infrastructural media such as the telegraph) played in the institutional development of modernity from the late 18th century, stabilising the circulation of information and contributing to the freedom associated with modernity, but in the course of this installing a ‘myth of the mediated centre’. The second section will review how this traditional settlement between media and modernity is now being deranged. This goes beyond the globalization of modernity and the complexification of culture landscapes through media and time-space compression. It is a matter, more fundamentally, of a change in the conditions under which media institutions exist and are able to ‘centralize’ communications flows. Today, communications are becoming centralised less through the production and circulation of elaborate media contents at/from global/national centres throughout the social domain (funded through audience-based advertising or state subsidy) and more through the stimulation to/from everywhere of symbolic interactions within a global information space (the internet, and its related apparatus) funded by the collection and sale of data ‘exhaust’ generated by those interactions. The result, paradoxically, is likely to be an increasing destabilisation of many traditional institutions of modernity, and the normalisation of unfreedom through continuous surveillance, undermining the legitimacy of institutional arrangements on which modernity has conventionally relied.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Revue Internationale de Philosophie
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 15:44
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics