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Liveness, “Reality,” and the Mediated Habitus from Television to the Mobile Phone

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Television's liveness has long been seen as one of its key features. This paper argues that “liveness” is not a textual feature, but a more fundamental category (in Durkheim's sense) that contributes to underlying conceptions of how media are involved in social organization through their provision of privileged access to central social “realities.” This ideological view of liveness (cf. Jane Feuer's early work) is then extended in two ways: first, to consider two new forms of “liveness” that do not involve television (online liveness via the Internet and “group liveness” via the mobile phone); and second, by connecting liveness with Bourdieu's concept of habitus, and thereby linking “liveness” (including in its extended senses) with other parts of the materialized system of classification through which we make sense of the everyday world.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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