research design laboratory

Cultivating Collectedness to Green Media Studies


Every afternoon I like to strap on my camelback (hydration) and throw on my cowboy hat (sunblock) and go read on the front deck. I'm in Colorado and it's always nice and dry and quiet and perfect for getting work done. But still, it helps to step away from the computer to read. Take notes by hand. Relay back to the blog.

I started Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller's Greening the Media and I'm totally inspired. My students will definitely be reading a few chapters from this book for the Digital Curation course I'm teaching next winter at CU Boulder. More policy-oriented than Gabrys's poetic intervention, Maxwell and Miller strive toward cultivating collectedness both in terms of interdisciplinary writing and research, and also as a strategy that extends beyond individual efforts to green their media consumption habits. It's too big a beast to tackle alone.  

As scholars, the incentive is to green Media Studies as a tactic toward greening the media. These go hand in hand because the goal is to shift from green consumption to green citizenship models. Noting the lacking political-economic framework within Media Studies, Greening the Media scrutinizes our love affair with technology and puts into question the technological sublime that informs so many of our actions and beliefs about new media. They ask:

Could constant connectedness be actively diminishing our ethical ability to dwell on interconnections between present and future, between media and the Earth?

Maxwell and Miller speak to our cultural enchantment with media devices (the wondrous cell phone) and digital circulation, so much so that it invariably clouds our awareness of the labour, machines involved, and in turn, the long term harm done to workers and the environment. From meaning-making to an assessment of the real lived impacts of detritus and disease, this Media Studies intervention calls upon scientists, activists, health workers, and designers to tame the frenzy of innovation in favour of a more considerate and conscious assessment of media matters.