Politics, Civil Society and Participation: Media and Communications in a Transforming Environment

Title chapter: Collectivities in change: The mediatization and individualization of community building from a subjective and figurational perspective
Author: Andreas Hepp and Ronald Hitzler
Keywords: mediatization, individualization, media change, community, communitization, collectivities
Abstract: There is an ongoing discussion in media and communication research about the extent to which mediatization involves shifts in collectivities and community building. However, if mediatization is taken to refer to the changing relationship between media and communication, and to the shifts of culture and society linked to the diffusion of technical means of communication, then we need to examine how we might conceive shifts in community building as part of this changing relationship; or, indeed, whether this involves quite different changes, for individualization in particular. In this chapter we will approach this problem by first considering the way in which the concept of ‘individualization’ at stake here relates to shifts in collectivities, relating this to conceptions of post-traditional communitizations and communities. We make at this point the distinction between communitization as the subjective process of being affectively involved in community building and community as the more stable figuration of those individuals who share with each other such feelings of ‘belonging’ and a ‘common we’. A conceptual distinction between ‘communitization’ and ‘community’ offers us a framework, through which we can then in the following develop a differentiated approach to questions of mediatization. In our conclusion we argue for the dissolution of simplistic contrasting conceptions of change in respect of the mediatization of collectivities.
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