Caja Thimm, Mark Dang-Anh & Jessica Einspänner
In today’s social environments, many activities implying the construction of cultural and social meaning are intrinsically tied to media. It is not only the interpersonal level of communication that has been shaped by technological innovations like e-mail, instant messaging or chat (Thimm, 2008); but so have complex societal processes. Whether in politics, economy or business, media traverse the whole society. They are part of the transformation of the public sphere and interwoven within the differentiation of new communication structures and segments. Consequently, media development and societal changes have to be seen as closely connected processes. The concept of mediatization offers an approach to explain the reciprocal impact of media on groups and persons, but it also sheds light on structures and processes within public, political, secular, institutional and private spheres and in daily life (see the contributions in Lundby, 2009). As Krotz (2001; 2007) points out, mediatization is one of the pivotal ‘metaprocesses’ by which social and cultural changes can be described and explained: ‘Today, globalization, individualization, mediatization and the growing importance of the economy, which we here call commercialization, can be seen as the relevant metaprocesses that influence democracy and society, culture, politics and other conditions of life over the longer term’ (Krotz, 2007, p. 257).