One of the features which distinguish media from other types of communication, is that processes of mediation necessarily involve some form of technology. Media technologies take many forms, ranging from the technological apparatus of a pen and paper, through printing presses, film, video, radio, television to digital technologies associated with the Internet. In each case, the technologies which are used involve a complex network of elements, whose role within the process of mediated communication has been a source of debate and contestation within media and cultural studies.
This chapter outlines a number of the debates which are central to thinking about technology and mediation, with each section exploring a different area within these debates. Central questions which will be considered from a number of perspectives will include: Can technology be considered an active agent, or are technology’s impacts a result of the ways they are designed, implemented and legislated around? How does technology shape our perceptions of what it means to be human? What is the relationship between technology and the human body? What kinds of roles might technologies and processes of mediation play in constructions of time and space? Finally we will consider what kinds of relationship exist between technologies and politics?