Zylinska, Joanna with Goldsmiths Media (Eds.). The Future of Media. London: Goldsmiths Press, 2022. Pp. viii, 387. ISBN 978-1-913380-14-4 (paper) 30 [pounds sterling]; 978-1-913380-13-7 (eBook, OER options). https://www .gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-press/publications/the-future-of-media/
Perhaps the best way to think about the future is from its end. And so, Joanna Zylinska's edited volume, The Future of Media, proposes in its last chapter (bar the Afterward) a consideration of "the future of the future." Here James Barton suggests that any consideration of the future is itself a matter of perspective. Quoting Augustine on time, he suggests that "the future can exist only in the mind, in expectation, or anticipation." Then, setting out some principles for consideration of the future, he writes. "Any attempt to speculate regarding time and futurity is bound by perspectival constraints" (p. 334, italics in original). He asks "whether temporarily and futurity may have no objective reality beyond the local, subjective registers of experience, understanding, or physical change (p. 334, italics in original). This provides an interesting opening, though it appears at the end, for an academic consideration of the future of media. And so, we must ask whose future and whose media. The book itself proposes a wide-ranging definition of media but restricts itself to a consideration of a future through academic eyes. The reader then needs to keep in mind that the perspectives in this collection serve academia first and may or may not take into account the future of audience members, for example, who may well have much less sophisticated expectations--and ones perhaps more (or less) freighted with unexamined assumptions.
Zylinska has assembled work by her colleagues at Goldsmiths College in London in which each of them considers an aspect of the future grounded in their particular academic areas. She writes, "The idea for this book arose a couple of years ago, when the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, which is one of the oldest and largest departments offering this configuration of subjects in the world, decided to work on a shared project that would bring together our multiple approaches, positions and ways of working." She further notes that "the book is an experiment in collaborative modes of thinking and working in an academic institution, in multiple voices and by means of multiple approaches, at a time when scholars and students are increasingly being implored to compete against each other rather than act collectively" (p. 2).
The book defines media broadly. Chapters include tdiscussions of the future of journalism, television, media work, social media, audio, dance, radio, and photography. All of these seem typical of what students might study in a communication program. Other sections of the book look at media reform and understandings of truth, again things possibly connected to communication study. But the volume also includes areas that seem to have more to do with approaches to study relevant to more than just media, including feminism, sexuality, race and gender, postcolonialism, activism, and digital humanitarianism.
Because the future is by definition unknowable, scholars writing...