The Unifying Aspects of Cultures


The Influence of the Media on the Structures of Language Communication and the Organization of Cultural Memory

Chair of the section/Suggestions, Abstracts, Contributions to:
Email: Gisela Fehrmann (Köln) / Erika Linz (Köln)

Section Languages: German/English

ABSTRACT: Up to now the function of the communication media has been limited for the most part to the technical transmission, storage and distribution of information. In these processes the communicated information has been considered as independent of the manner of its mediation by the media.

By contrast, recent proposals of the media sciences question the neutrality of the media from the processes of meaning and offer evidence to show that contents may shape relative to their mediation format. Along with media induced changes of cultural practices the cognitive effects of the media come strongly into view. The main question that we are focusing on in this section is how the media structure, transform or, first and foremost, make perception and communication possible. With reference to the medium of language, for example, comparative studies on spoken and sign language, on oral and written communications in direct interaction as well as in audio-visual, electronic and print-media, provide evidence of effects of the different language formats on the cognitive structuring of the information. With respect to culture, for example, results gained from oral and literary research indicates the dependency of the media on the way information is arranged by the collective memory of a society.

This section will attempt to bundle these early findings into the question of to what extent cultural as well as cognitive structures of knowledge are shaped by the format of the media in which communication takes place. We welcome theoretical as well as empirically oriented contributions, which investigate the influence of the different forms of media on the structuring and generating of communication contents and practices.