Media and basic desires: An approach to measuring the mediatization of daily human life

Communications 46 (2):275-296 (2021)
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The extended reliance on media can be seen as one indicator of mediatization. But even though we can assume that the pervasive character of digital media essentially changes the way people experience everyday life, we cannot take these experiences for granted. There has recently been a formulation of three tasks for mediatization research; historicity, specificity and measurability, needed to empirically verify mediatization processes across time and space. In this article, we present a tool designed to handle these tasks, by measuring the extent to which people experience that media reach into the deeper layers of daily human life. The tool was tested in an empirical study conducted in Sweden in 2017. The results show that perceived media reliance is played out in relation to three types of basic desires: productive desires, recognition desires, and civic desires, and is socially structured and structuring. We argue this tool, in diachronic analyses, can measure one important aspect of mediatization.



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