Elizaveta FriesemOct 27, 2021
Media Is Us
Understanding Communication and Moving Beyond Blame
Rowman & Littlefield 2021
Media is usually seen as a feature of the modern world enabled by the latest technologies. Scholars, educators, parents, and politicians often talk about media as something people should be wary of due to its potential negative impact on their lives. But do we really understand what media is?
In Media Is Us: Understanding Communication and Moving Beyond Blame (Rowman and Littlefield, 2021), Elizaveta Friesem argues that instead of being worried about media or blaming it for what’s going wrong in society, we should become curious about uniquely human ways we communicate with each other. Media Is Us proposes five key principles of communication that are relevant both for the modern media and for people’s age-old ways of making sense of the world.
In order to understand problems of the contemporary society revealed and amplified by the latest technologies, we will have to ask difficult questions about ourselves. Where do our truths and facts come from? How can we know who is to blame for flaws of the social system? What can we change about our own everyday actions to make the world a better place? To answer these questions we will need to rethink not only the term “media” but also the concept of power. The change of perspective proposed by the book is intended to help the reader become more self-aware and also empathic towards those who choose different truths.
Concluding with practical steps to build media literacy through the ACE model—from Awareness to Collaboration through Empathy—this timely book is essential for students and scholars, as well as anyone who would use the new understanding of media to decrease the current levels of cultural polarization.
Marci Mazzarotto is an Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Georgian Court University in New Jersey. Her research interests center on the interdisciplinary intersection of academic theory and artistic practice with a focus on film and television studies.