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Materiality: Challenges to Communication Theory

Increasingly, communication researchers are issuing calls for attention to the role materiality plays in communication processes (e.g., Boczkowski, 2004; Boczkowski & Lievrouw, 2008; Leonardi & Barley, 2008; Leonardi, Nardi, & Kallinikos, 2013; Lievrouw, 2013). Resulting in part from the challenges of studying new communication and information technologies, this new focus on materiality offers opportunities for communication researchers to theorize beyond communication through, with, and, in some cases, without a medium to think about the material structures of mediation itself. In this chapter we propose a model for thinking through the communicative roles and functions of the materiality of everyday objects, by using one type of objects, documents, as an extended theoretical example of the importance of materiality for communication.

 

Neff, Gina, Brittany Fiore-Silfvast and Carrie Sturts Dossick. “Materiality: Challenges to Communication Theory,” International Communication Association Theme Book 2013: Challenging Communication Research. New York: Peter Lang, 2014. Pp 209-224.