Mediating Nature provides a history of the present nature of mass mediation. It examines the ways in which a number of discourses, genres, institutions and
technologies of observation have historically shaped the current ways
of imagining the nature of nature, and the nature of mass mediation.
Where much of the existing research treats mass mediation as a matter
of media technologies, texts, audiences, or institutions, the current
book adopts a somewhat different approach that breaks down the
conventional boundaries between these elements: it considers ‘mass
mediation’ as a historical process by means of which the members of
audiences and indeed publics more generally have been taught to be
observers of, if not in, nature. As part of this approach, the book
offers an investigation of the historical interrelation of a number of
social genres and their characteristic techniques of observation. These
include landscape paintings and gardens, modern zoos, photography,
early cinema, nature essays, disaster and ‘animal attack’ films, as
well as wildlife documentaries on television. An integral aspect of the
investigation involves what Lindahl Elliot describes as a ‘social
semeiotic’ methodology that combines the semeiotic theory of Charles
Peirce with a historical sociology of cultural formations. This enables
the book to challenge some of the assumptions of naturalist, but also
of culturalist and postmodern discourses about the nature of nature,
and the nature of mass mediation.
Topical and timely, this
fascinating book will be of great interest to students and researchers
in the fields of media, sociology, cultural geography and environmental
Since writing the above post I am now doing post-graduate artistic and theory research on experimental film and ecology at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Ireland.
As part of my research I am often reviewing papers and books in this area and in the wider area of ecology and mainstream cinema (film/video/documentary).
I have created a website and started to compile a list here at www.ecoartfilm.com - if interested please pass on the info or follow along.