THOUGHTS ON HISTORICIZING NEW MEDIA, page 2

By Craig Robertson

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Through the twentieth century new media, especially radio and television were understood, or "domesticated" through ideologies of the family and home. As many historians have argued (e.g. William Boddy & Lynn Spiegel) these did not have to be framed in this manner, but articulated through these discourses they revealed the shifting definitions of what it means to be a modern individual, gender roles, public and private spaces, and citizenship.

Over the course of the twentieth century the tension between the hope that advances in media technology will produce a healthier democracy, and the concern that the commercial organization of electronic media is eroding democratic values became more acute. With the advent of digital media this tension has increasingly been articulated to an expectation that new media should somewhat paradoxically mediate less, that is provide less interruption or interference. The demand for what Paul Duguid calls “transparency” has come to define interactivity as a form of empowerment. As people have the ability to be media producers, we are surrounded by numerous claims about new media that celebrate the perceived progressive aspects of interactivity.