Theorising Media

Power, form and subjectivity

By John Corner

Theorising Media


  • Hardcover
  • eBook
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9656-3
  • Pages: 256
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.99
  • Published Date: October 2014
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Performing arts, Media studies, Society & social sciences / Media studies, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / General, The arts / Film theory & criticism


In this book, John Corner explores how issues of power, form and subjectivity feature at the core of all serious thinking about the media, including appreciations of their creativity as well as anxiety about the risks they pose. Drawing widely on an interdisciplinary literature, he connects his exposition to examples from film, television, radio, photography, painting, web practice, music and writing in order to bring in topics as diverse as reporting the war in Afghanistan, the televising of football, documentary portrayals of 9/11, reality television, the diversity of taste in the arts and the construction of civic identity.

Theorising media brings together concepts both from social studies and the arts and humanities, addressing a readership wider than the sub-specialisms of media research. It refreshes ideas about why the media matter and how understanding them better remains a key aim of cultural inquiry and a continuing requirement for public policy.


Over the past thirty years or so, John Corner has had a persistent regard for the value of conceptual terms in media research.Theorising Media is consistent with this abiding concern many ways this new book marks its culmination ... Corner has provided us with an important intervention in media studies. It is measured in tone, precise in observation, and characterised overall by enthusiasm for what it deals with, engagement with what it considers, and even-handedness in how weighs and assesses the key concepts and critical work around which it is built.
Michael Pickering , Media Culture and Society

A systematic attempt to think through what the practice of 'theorising media' is or could be. The book has an admirably clear and tidy structure. The more advanced reader can appreciate the penetrating nature of Corner's understanding of the debates that have centred around these key words . while the advanced undergraduate would be able to understand what was going on with them, such is the clarity, concision and unpretentiousness of Corner's prose. The conjunction of deep scholarship lightly worn, together with a straightforward writing style that can reach out to non-specialists while more advanced readers are kept engaged, is a very welcome thing indeed.
David Inglis, European Journal of Communication


1. Power
2. Form
3. Subjectivity
Section One: Terms of analysis
4. Mediated Politics, Promotional Culture and the Idea of Propaganda
5. Ideology: A Note on Conceptual Salvage
6. Public Knowledge and Popular Culture
Section Two: Visuality and documentation
7. Documentary Expression and the Physicality of the Referent
8. Documenting the Political
9. Critical Social Optics and the New Audio-Visual Culture


John Corner is Visiting Professor in the Institute of Communication Studies at the University of Leeds and an Emeritus Professor of Liverpool University.

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