The Journalistic Field in a Time of Mediatization
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Description: The rise of digital technologies is having a profound impact on the practice and profession of journalism. As a consequence, scholars from a variety of disciplines have fashioned unique but complimentary perspectives to help explain the nature and significance of this transformation. Field theory is a prominent lens through which media sociologists have viewed the dynamics and transformations surrounding the practice and profession of journalism. More recently, communications scholars have developed theories of mediatization to explain the transformations brought about by the ubiquity of media throughout social life. While Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory offers a well-developed toolkit to address the dialectical relationship between structures and practices, its treatment of technology and conceptualization of the field are arguably less well suited to explain the convergent, hyper-mediated nature of contemporary social relations. By contrast, more recent theories of mediatization offer a less developed and less grandiose conceptualization of specific sociological dynamics, instead opting to shed light on the apparent emergence of a new ‘media logic’. By drawing on the most revealing aspects of each perspective, this paper searches for parity between the two through an examination of a prominent case study: the converging fields of contemporary journalism and activism as seen on Twitter. After reviewing the core components of each perspective and applying them to the case of study, the paper argues for the conceptualization of a mediatized superstructure to explain the ongoing hybridity and convergence across a variety of social fields.