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12 NOVEMBER 2008

New technical possibilities causing the individualisation of modes of media consumption

"In the current society of knowledge and communication, marked by the exponential increase of information, one might expect an even stronger hierarchy (of knowledge) within the audience than it was the case in industrial mass society – at least according to prevalent opinion (see 91). Brian Loader, for example, speaks of the 'information poor' (see 92), who, according to him, form a kind of new 'underclass' of computerized society, in which issues of access become crucial (see in addition 93). On the other hand, several empirical studies verify that differences in knowledge have remained rather constant (see 94). In compliance with a thesis of Ulrich Beck (see 44) one might, therefore, perhaps call it a 'elevator–effect': we all (perforce) are absorbing ever more information. At the same time the relative inequality remains stable (or is even enlarged) – but information use is 'lifted' to a higher general level. This shows a significant effect: on account of the generally higher level of information and the new technical possibilities for realizing individual preferences there comes about an individualization of information patterns and modes of media consumption, which finally results in a diffusion and fragmention [sic] of the public sphere."

Anil K. Jain, Heiner Keupp, et al. 2002, pp. 131–157)

Anil K. Jain, Heiner Keupp, Renate Höfer, Wolfgang Kraus (2002). "Facing Another Modernity–Individualization and Post–Traditional Ligatures". Vol. 10, No. 1/2002, pp. 131–157. European Review 10(1): 131–157.

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Mia Thornton
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