Thursday, June 1, 2017

On Media Ecology Books and Book Series

In my previous post, A Good Causality, I neglected to mention that our new co-edited anthology, Taking Up McLuhan's Cause: Perspectives on Media and Formal Causality, was published as part of the UK publisher Intellect's new book series on media ecology, which is being edited by my friend and fellow media ecologist Phil Rose. 

This represents the third book series devoted to the field of media ecology to have been launched. The first one, which I proposed and was supervisory editor for, came courtesy of Hampton Press, back circa 1994-1995. After publishing many books in the series for well over a decade, Hampton decided to stop publishing new books of any kind, the owner was essentially retiring, so although the books that were published would continue to be sold, this essentially brought the series to a close.

For several years, there was no active book series devoted to media ecology, and I have to credit Phil Rose for the push to find a new publisher to start one up. It was at his urging that, following the successful publication of Amazing Ourselves to Death, that I proposed a new book series to my publisher, Peter Lang, which was accepted with the title, "Understanding Media Ecology" (that's a title I was going to use for a book of my own, but Peter Lang wanted to distinguish the new series from the old Hampton Press series, and like that title, so I gave it up).

So far, three books have been published in the Peter Lang Series: the second edition of Bob Logan's Understanding New Media: Extending Marshall McLuhan; Bob's collaboration with Marshall McLuhan that had never been published, with additional material updating it for the contemporary media environment, The Future of the Library: From Electric Media to Digital Media; and Dennis Cali's attempt to produce a media ecology textbook, Mapping Media Ecology: An Introduction to the Field.


The next book in the series is one that is very near and dear to my heart, and is already listed for pre-order:


But more on that when the time comes...

In the meantime, as I mentioned, Phil Rose was also able to successfully propose a new media ecology series for Intellect, and Taking Up McLuhan's Cause was the first book published in the series, and hard on its heals was another anthology, this one edited by Phil, entitled Confronting Technopoly: Charting a Course Towards Human Survival. The term technopoly was coined by Neil Postman, and the book follows up on his major media ecological work, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.


As you can see, this second offering from Intellect is also, unfortunately, only available in hardcover, and priced for library sales. In any event, here is the blurb describing the collection:

In 1992, Neil Postman presciently coined the term “technopoly” to refer to “the surrender of culture to technology.” This book brings together a number of contributors from different disciplinary perspectives to analyze technopoly both as a concept and as it is seen and understood in contemporary society. Contributors present both analysis of and strategies for managing socio-technical conflict, and they also open up a number of fruitful new lines of thought around emerging technological, social, and even psychological forms.

And here are the contents (you'll probably notice a familiar name early on):

Introduction: The Question Concerning Technopoly
Phil Rose
Part I: Contextualization 
Chapter 1: Contextualizing Technopoly
Lance Strate
Part II: Digital Manifestations  
Chapter 2: The Omnipresent Opiate: Rethinking Internet Addiction in the Network Era
Ryan S. Eanes
Chapter 3: Probing the Media Ecology of Self-Tracking Technologies:  A Postmanist Critique and Defence
Yoni Van Den Eede
Chapter 4: Navigating the Mobile Village
Zack Stiegler and Nick Artman
Chapter 5: Insolent Networks: The Auto-Mated Social Life
Gary Kenton
Part III: Ideology and Geopolitical Considerations  
Chapter 6: Striking Symbols: Re-Sounding Words from Leonard Cohen to Neil Postman
Ruthanne Wrobel
Chapter 7: Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing! The End of Progress and the Beginning of a Third Way
Arthur W. Hunt III

Chapter 8: Divinizing Technology and Violence: Technopoly, the Warfare State, and the Revolution in Military Affairs
Phil Rose
Chapter 9: Posthuman Postmanism: Confronting Technopoly with Deep Media Ecology
Niall Stephens
Part IV: Confrontations: From Education to Liberation  
Chapter 10: Postman’s Hope: Rethinking the Role of Education in Technopoly
Ellen Rose
Chapter 11: The New Social Media Curriculum: Confronting Technopoly with Education
Geraldine E. Forsberg
Chapter 12: Black Mountain College: Experiments in Form
Michael Plugh
Chapter 13: The Arts of Liberation in the Age of Technopoly
Edward E. Tywoniak

A very nice collection of work indeed, and an important addition to the media ecology literature. It may be too much for most folks to buy, but again, maybe you can beg, borrow, or steal a copy!

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