The humanities as allies: media studies and the web


  • Peter Dahlgren Lund University


rethinking humanities


From the horizons of media and communication studies, this article begins with the premise that the media, and the in particular the Web, as central features of a turbulent late modernity. The Web has become ubiquitous and central to our sense of who we are, how we live, think, relate to others and experience the world. This process of mediatization is complex and historically without parallel; it affects all aspects of society, culture and politics. Most rese- arch on these developments are firmly based in the social sciences. The argument is made here that to fully grasp the implications of these transformations – which are even beginning to alter traditional notions of ‘the human’ – we would benefit from more assistance from the humanities. While acknowledging the difficult institutional position that the humanities find themselves in, the contention is that their intellectual perspectives are needed, especially in history, philosophy, and aesthetics. These could help us to better place the developments in broader contexts and illuminate what is at stake. The latter part of the article offers a set of themes that exem- plify some of the key dilemmas that are emerging as the Web becomes all the more central to our lives – dilemmas that would benefit from serious attention from the humanities.