Synopses & Reviews
Mediating Nature provides a history of the present nature of mass mediation. It examines the ways in which a number of discourses, technologies and institutions have historically shaped the current ways of imagining nature in the mass media. Where much of the existing research treats mass mediation as a matter of media technologies, texts, or institutions, this text adopts a somewhat different approach: it considers mass mediation as a historical process by means of which the members of audiences and indeed the public more generally came to be incorporated as observers in, and of mass culture. This approach allows the book to investigate the roles that a wide range of genres relating to nature played in constructing senses of nature but also of mass culture itself. The genres include landscape paintings and gardens, modern zoos, photography, early cinema, nature essays, disaster and animal attack films, as well as wildlife documentaries on television. The investigation develops what Lindahl Elliot describes as a social semeiotic approach that combines the semeiotic theory of Charles Peirce with a historical sociology of cultural formations.
Topical and timely, this fascinating book will be of great interest to students and researchers in the fields of media, sociology, cultural geography and environmental studies.
Offering a cultural history of the present forms of imagining nature and the environment, this fascinating book focuses on the relationship between the emergence of environmentalist practices, and the development and consolidation of a variety of forms of mass-mediation.
Where existing research has mostly focused on the mass media, Elliots latest work which will be of great interest to students of media, sociology and environmental studies, examines the role of mass-mediation, understood as a cultural pedagogy of modernity. This pedagogy involves a complex, and changing ensemble of institutions, discourses, technologies, and media: an ensemble which includes newspapers, photography, film and television, and which also came to include zoos, landscape gardens, trains, cars, and nature theme parks. The pedagogy in question helped to institute the modern nation-state and the forms of social practice that were eventually to give rise to the contemporary ecological crisis, but paradoxically, it also enabled the emergence of the characteristic forms of communication employed by environmentalists to express changing sensibilities to nature, and to resist the excesses of capitalism.
the emergence of the characteristic forms of communication employed by environmentalists to express changing sensibilities to nature, and to resist the excesses of capitalism.