We think that we live in democracies: in fact, we live in mediarchies. Our political regimes are based less on nations or citizens than on audiences shaped by the media. We assume that our social and political destinies are shaped by the will of the people without realizing that ‘the people’ are always produced, both as individuals and as aggregates, by the media: we are all embedded in mediated publics, ‘intra-structured’ by the apparatuses of communication that govern our interactions.
In his new book Mediarchy
(Polity Press, 2019), Yves Citton maps out the new regime of experience, media and power that he designates by the term “mediarchy.” To understand mediarchy, we need to look both at the effects that the media have on us and also at the new forms of being and experience that they induce in us. We can never entirely escape from the effects of the mediarchies that operate through us but by becoming more aware of their conditioning, we can develop the new forms of political analysis and practice which are essential if we are to rise to the unprecedented challenges of our time.
This comprehensive and far-reaching book will be essential reading for students and scholars in media and communications, politics and sociology, and it will be of great interest to anyone concerned about the multiple and complex ways that the media – from newspapers and TV to social media and the internet – shape our social, political and personal lives today.
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.