Media mythology of the social in the contemporary society


The article considers the media mythologization of the social: the media create representations of the world as a place for power struggle and suggest various versions of sociality which are legitimized in mythical narratives. Academic arguments emphasize the complexity of the social, the necessity of its theorization and dereification in the digital context. The study of the social/media dialectic reveals three myths - of natural collectivity, of the mediated center and of big data. The myth of the mediated center is a double construct: a narrative about the center of knowledge, values and meanings in society which produces normative or descriptive truth; and a mythical narrative of the media as representing society to its members and having a privileged access to the center of the social reality. This myth legitimizes the symbolic power of the mass media and is supported by rituals. The myth of ‘us’ aims at ‘naturalizing’ the network sociality, convincing users of the naturalness of its contacts, interactions and communities, providing the sense of cohesion and constructing a digital identity. The myth of ‘us’ is a narrative about collectivity determined by the joint efforts of users and designers of social platforms. This myth hides the decay of the social in the digital reality and indicates its media-mythical compensation. Big data represent new landscapes of objects, methods of cognition and definition of sociality. Big data is not only a source of knowledge, innovation and change but also a mythology which should be critically examined. The article considers different approaches to the analysis of big data mythology developed within the interpretation of digital artifacts as a reflection of the social context and the best form of social knowledge. This myth presents its version of sociology - with new epistemology, ethics and methodology - and hides other sources of knowledge about sociality in the digital media (mythologizes data policy (agency), economies, ethics and epistemologies).

About the authors

N. V. Plotichkina

Kuban State University

Author for correspondence.

кандидат политических наук, доцент кафедры государственной политики и государственного управления

Stavropolskaya St., 149, Krasnodar, 350040, Russia


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