This paper addresses the concept of change in mediatisation theory, bringing in the dimension of temporality in two supplementary ways. Mediatisation denotes a set of social changes in the interface between communications media and other societal spheres. It is thus a truly temporal phenomenon, but it remains unclear how it actually develops over time – and how it affects time.
The paper first scrutinises alternative ways to understand the temporal coordinates of mediatisation processes, and to explore the affordances of different theorisations in this respect. What does it mean to describe mediatisation as a revolutionary time shift, break or leap? What are the implications of instead depicting it in terms of long-term evolutionary processes of restructuring transition? Comparisons are made with other concepts for various forms of social change, including modernisation, globalisation and individualisation. It is hardly possible to prove one temporal perspective to be ‘correct’, but I will rather reflect on their different implications, as they have repercussions on how mediatisation is understood in terms also of its range, causes and effects.
There is also another, reverse side of the interrelation between time and mediatisation: namely how mediatisation affects the time-dimension itself: how communications media restructure time consciousness, historical understanding, remembrance and forgetting. This section of the paper will refer to how Ricoeur (in Time and Narrative, 1982–1985 and Memory, History, Forgetting, 2000) analyses different technologies for culturalising or ‘humanising’ time (but also space), by linking cosmic-objective-universal with experiential-subjective-lived time through the use of calendars, generational successions, documents, archives and other intersubjective tools that mediate between the internal and the external (and similarly for spatiality). Media technologies are central to such practices, and mediatisation processes are therefore a testing ground for understanding the two-way traffic between media and time: the cultural mediation of time and the historical mediatisation of society and culture: linking the changing cultural mediation of time – and thus the mediatisation of time – to the historical-temporal aspects of mediatisation processes, as they affect the understanding of temporality itself. The aim here is thus to explore mutual determinations of time and mediatisation, and the bilateral temporal coordinates of media-related social change.
The paper builds upon discussions in the Scandinavian ‘Mediatisation Times’ network funded the National Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, and in my chapters in Mediatized Worlds (Hepp & Krotz, 2014) and Mediatization of Communication (Lundby, 2014).
Universidade Lusófona , 2014. 355- p.