1These are exciting times for media scholars, in light of the increasingly diverse range of productions, representations and social interactions available for study in the present media environment. As well-established media such as the printed press, radio, cinema or television reinvent themselves, through high-definition quality standards or through 3D, new and emerging media such as the Internet and mobile telephony explore the connecting potential of digital technologies with social networks and online video games.
2The English-speaking world plays a particular role in this media environment, as a market-driven laboratory for technical and social innovations and as a producer of compelling media content. Due to the increasingly trans-national nature of the technologies and the markets that sustain them, such innovations and contents not only affect their own cultural area but other areas in the world as well. Currently, the success of television series, the dissemination of reality programming and the extension of social media all testify to this media-driven dynamic, often initiated in the United States. Some may consider this directional flow to be cultural imperialism; others consider it to be a form of competitive enrichment; others see it as a complex process where acculturation brings new forms of hybridization and cultural dialogue.
3Making sense of the new abundance of cultural goods in circulation worldwide poses a challenge to anyone trying to avoid simplistic polarizations. Media Studies have developed in the English-speaking world to address such complexity. They have emerged as a trans-disciplinary field, close to cultural studies and visual culture, combining a rich web of tools, notions, concepts and authors, some of whom can be considered propagators of an extended “French theory” (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel De Certeau, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, etc.). Media Studies are less well established in France where local intellectual tradition and investigative potential are anchored in specific disciplines such as Sociology, French Literature or British and American Civilization, making it difficult for a trans-disciplinary field to find legitimacy. Even the field of information and communication sciences, that emerged at the end of the 1970s, has hesitated to embrace issues such as gender, post-colonialism or trans-national markets, which initially were at the margins of the field’s concerns in the French context.
4InMedia places itself in this dual context, at the interface between French and English scholarship. It proposes to make a contribution to French Media Studies as a proper scholarly project. It also stems from the perceived need to include French researchers in the newly globalized academic scene and its theoretical debates. By publishing research results from French research centers on media production and representation in the English-speaking world, InMedia's aim is double: to promote the field of Media Studies in France and to provide visibility to French research at the international level. The intention is not so much to present the specificity of a “French” analysis. The perspectives taken by this journal will be much more heterogeneous. Rather, the purpose is to engage in international debates and to foster critical exchanges among researchers from different parts of the world.
5In this first issue, the “themed section” on the global cinema and television industries is emblematic of such an attempt at trans-disciplinary combinations. Researchers from Australia and France combine history, political economy and cultural studies to provide insights on the economic and artistic back-and-forth movements between different film and television industries, insisting notably on the interconnection and diverse interests at work. “Runaway productions” and the adaptation of TV series are examples of this movement. The various contributors explore how this new division of cultural labor affects local identities and how it reflects the ideological process of representation, as the national labeling of such productions (American, British, Spanish) reveals the complexities of the retooling processes at work in cultural exchanges.
6The editors are very excited to include a “critical perspectives” section dedicated to contradictory debates, where scholars, willing to be polemical, will raise awareness and motivate research. We start with François Cusset, well-known for his analysis of how French researchers were incorporated into American universities to the point of creating a “French theory” that developed independently of its conception or reception in France. He has accepted the challenge by proposing a critical and stimulating analysis of the state of Media Studies in France. He considers it to be a “blindspot” and denounces the fact that there is not a single curricular program in the French university devoted to Media Studies per se and outlines the reasons for such French resistance to interdisciplinary crossovers.
7InMedia also features other recurring spaces and formats for scholarly expression, that will contribute to the elaboration of an online archive while highlighting the latest research produced in the field. The “interview section” contains the testimony of Dan Starer who draws attention to the role of a specific profession, “documentalists”. They occupy an interesting position in relation to media representations that play on the porosity between fact and fiction. Their task is critical in connection with fact-based narratives that require finding and interpreting materials such as diaries, minutes of trials or testimonials. As for the “conference review section,” focusing on “Landscape as the Locus for Artistic Transfers Between Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain, from 1968 to the present,” it notes, among other important cultural exchanges between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the rise of “locational” modes of art and curatorial practice. It emphasizes the rich relationships between space, site, setting and location within the political economy of image production.
8InMedia will also endeavor to be a multimedia project, featuring books and website reviews and offering video extracts and streaming of interesting events. This first issue notably presents the website of “ars industrialis,” a French association that reflects the work of philosopher Bernard Stiegler and his followers. They propose a political analysis of the “technologies of the mind,” most of them connected to media goods and services. They aim at reclaiming these mental tools by media education to regain the critical capacity to decode information and fiction. They promote an “economy of contribution” to oppose the commercial use of ICT-driven media.
9The InMedia editorial team thus invites you to join them in this academic adventure and will welcome proposals, from France but also from all around the world, to initiate or consolidate the international dialogue on Media Studies.
Divina Frau-Meigs, « Editorial », InMedia [Online], 1 | 2012, Online since 23 March 2012, connection on 23 May 2013. URL : http://inmedia.revues.org/213Top of page
© InMediaTop of page