as the intersection
of the old
and the new

Title chapter: Friends, not Foes: Integrating Structuralist and Agentic Perspectives on Media Consumption
Author: Alyona Khaptsova Ruben Vandenplas
Keywords: structure-agency debate, media consumption, personalization era
Abstract: Various disciplines strive to answer the question of how users select the media that they use. Extensive research has been approaching the issue from different, sometimes competing angles, resulting in an estrangement between the fields. This chapter reviews past findings on media selection processes in light of the structure-agency debate and aims to highlight the intersections between audience research on media use and selection, and findings on social cognition, confirmation bias, and selective media exposure as a potential direction for future research. This chapter bridges the two strands by emphasizing their complementary nature and integrates them into a single theoretical network. It argues that the balance between structure and agency in media selection is contingent upon a 3-layered model of analysis, including: parameters of structures, situations, and individuals. In doing so, the current chapter strives to move away from approaching the relation between structure and agency as a linear process or dichotomy, opting instead to describe the interrelation of both concepts as a circular process, rooting the argument within the current convergence of media and proliferation of algorithms. We conclude by emphasizing the need to further explore these conditioning factors in future research.
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