This book argues for a historical perspective on issues relating to the notion of participatory media. Working from a broad concept of media – including essays on the 19th century press, early sound media, photography, exhibitions, television and the internet – the book offers a broad empirical approach to different modes of audience participation from the mid 19th century to the present. Using the insights from the historical case studies, the book also explores some of the key concepts in discussions on the politics of participation, arguing for a theoretical perspective sensitive to the asymmetries that characterize the distribution of agency in the relationship between media and users.
Scholarly discussions on participatory media now occur in several fields. This book argues that all of these discussions are all too often obscured by a rhetoric of newness, assuming that participatory media is something unique in history, radical and revolutionary. By challenging the historiography implicit in this rhetoric, the book also engages in a discussion of issues of more general relevance to the multidisciplinary field of media history.
1. Participatory Media in Historical Perspective: An Introduction. Anders Ekström, Solveig Jülich, Frans Lundgren, and Per Wisselgren 2. From Enlightened Participation to Liberal Professionalism: On the Historiography of the Press as a Resource for Legitimacy. Patrik Lundell 3. Knowing Audiences, Knowing Media: Performing Publics at the Early Twentieth-Century Fun Fair. Anders Ekström 4. Civic Media: City Exhibitions and the Visual Culture of Community, c. 1900. Frans Lundgren 5. Creating Audiences, Making Participants: The Cylinder Phonograph in Ethnographic Fieldwork. Mathias Boström 6. The Interactivity of the Model Home. Mark B. Sandberg 7. Touring the Congo: Mobility and Materiality in Missionary Media. Lotten Gustafsson Reinius 8. Milk, Say Cheese! Inscribing Public Participation in the Photographic Archives of the National Milk Propaganda. Ylva Habel 9. Daniel Ellsberg and the Lost Idea of the Photocopy. Lisa Gitelman 10. Fetal Photography in the Age of Cool Media. Solveig Jülich 11. Expedition Robinson, Reality TV, and the History of the Social Experiment. Per Wisselgren 12. History on the Web: Museums, Digital Media, and Participation. Bodil Axelsson