media specificity

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The issue of the particular technical features and affordances of different media (and their associated contexts of use and/or production), or of the specific qualities of a text which are related to the medium. The concept is often associated with criticisms of perspectives which do not seem to take sufficient account of differences between, for example, digital and analogue photography. The criticism here is that of reification: the reductive homogenization of ‘photography’. However, ‘media specificity’ can also be a pejorative reference to what is regarded as a form of media essentialism, as when a film is criticized as too literary or too theatrical (implying that the use of film should be confined to what it is assumed to be inherently good for). Stances on this issue relate to those on form and content: many contemporary theorists would argue that the specificities of form make an important contribution to the generation of meaning.

Subjects: Media Studies.

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