No Sense of Place: The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior / Edition 1

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How have changes in media affected our everyday experience, behavior, and sense of identity? Such questions have generated endless arguments and speculations, but no thinker has addressed the issue with such force and originality as Joshua Meyrowitz in No Sense of Place. Advancing a daring and sophisticated theory, Meyrowitz shows how television and other electronic media have created new social situations that are no longer shaped by where we are or who is "with" us.

While other media experts have limited the debate to message content, Meyrowitz focuses on the ways in which changes in media rearrange "who knows what about whom" and "who knows what compared to whom," making it impossible for us to behave with each other in traditional ways. No Sense of Place explains how the electronic landscape has encouraged the development of:

-More adultlike children and more childlike adults;

-More career-oriented women and more family-oriented men; and

-Leaders who try to act more like the "person next door" and real neighbors who want to have a greater say in local, national, and international affairs.

The dramatic changes fostered by electronic media, notes Meyrowitz, are neither entirely good nor entirely bad. In some ways, we are returning to older, pre-literate forms of social behavior, becoming "hunters and gatherers of an information age." In other ways, we are rushing forward into a new social world. New media have helped to liberate many people from restrictive, place-defined roles, but the resulting heightened expectations have also led to new social tensions and frustrations. Once taken-for-granted behaviors are now subject to constant debate and negotiation.

The book richly explicates the quadruple pun in its title: Changes in media transform how we sense information and how we make sense of our physical and social places in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"... a classic book, richly deserving of the ICA 2014 Fellows Book Award, for its own merit and for the impact on the scholarship of others. No Sense of Place is a landmark in theorizing about media." -Dafna Lemish, International Communication Association

"One of the most ambitious, refreshing, and provocative attempts to expand our understanding of communications technologies." -Technology Review

"Provocative.... Compelling.... An original and eclectic theory for studying the impact of any medium at any place and in any time." -Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media

"Meyrowitz takes a panoramic view of American culture - its politics, its gender relations, its educational standards, its attitudes toward history and literacy, and much more.... He's a fine example of an interdisciplinary risk-taker." -Christian Science Monitor

"Among the most important books on media yet written; a masterful piece of scholarship." -Channels

"No Sense of Place is an original and deeply perceptive analysis of how the media have come to alter the texture of everyday experience. It is a stimulating work, with insights springing up on every page like wildflowers on a mountain. Written with a poet's sensitivity and a scientist's analytic precision, the book is a luminous contribution to the social psychology of our time" -Stanley Milgram, author of Obedience to Authority

"Brilliant.... a theoretical tour de force." -Journal of Communication

"No Sense of Place is a cornucopia in the grand style: a breathtaking flurry of crisp insights, homey illustrations, ingenious tropes.... gives the reader full value in erudition and liveliness." -Quarterly Journal of Speech

"No Sense of Place is brilliant; it lays out the challenges of people navigating multiple audiences as a result of changes in media and serves as one of the foundational texts for understanding the internet and social media." -danah boyd, Microsoft Research

"A very impressive work that provides new insights into the bearing of the structure of information access in society on a surprising variety of social phenomena. The book is exceptionally well written and well reasoned. It is a display of the sociological imagination in the very best sense of that phrase." -Contemporary Sociology

"Deserves our undivided attention.... An outstanding contribution." -Communication Quarterly

"One of the seminal works in communication of the last fifty years. It has had a major impact within communication, and within many other disciplines in the Humanities as well as the Social Sciences.... Developments in digital communication...have only reinforced Meyrowitz's original analyses and arguments.... an enduring and prescient work.... an essential text." - Jeff Malpas, Distinguished Professor, University of Tasmania, Australia

"Extraordinary book... its central thesis is even more true of the world of the new electronic media." -Jeffrey Goldfarb, Gellert Professor of Sociology, New School for Social Research

"A stunningly original contribution our everyday lives are influenced by the omnipresence of electronic media.... describes the changes in our social and communal relations lucidly and forcefully." -Susan J . White, Lunger Professor of Spiritual Resources & Disciplines, Brite Divinity School

"No Sense of Place is a genuine sociological classic for the 21st century and the 'information age.'... continues to deserve our careful attention and appreciation." -David Allen, Sociology, Temple University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195042313
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1986
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 828,932
  • Lexile: 1440L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua Meyrowitz is Professor of Communication at the University of New Hampshire, where he has won numerous honors, including the Lindberg Award for Outstanding Scholar-Teacher in the College of Liberal Arts. He is the author of scores of articles on media and society that have appeared in scholarly journals and anthologies, as well as in general-interest magazines and newspapers.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Behavior in Its Place
Part I—Media as Change Mechanisms
Media and Behavior: A Missing Link
Media, Situations, and Behavior
Why Roles Change When Media Change
Part II—From Print Situations to Electronic Situations
The Merging of Public Spheres
The Blurring of Public and Private Behaviors
The Separation of Social Place from Physical Place
Part III—The New Social Landscape
New Group Identities
New Ways of Becoming
Questioning Authority
Effect Loops
Part IV—Three Dimensions of Social Change
The Merging of Masculinity and Femininity
The Blurring of Childhood and Adulthood
Lowering the Political Hero to Our Level
Part V—Conclusion
Where Have We Been, Where Are We Going?
Appendix: Discussion of Terms

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