Remediation of practices: How new media change the ways we see and do things in practical domains

Giovan Francesco Lanzara


Based on two ethnographic studies of technology-driven innovation in music education and judicial practice, in this paper I investigate the nature and meaning of mediation as a primary aspect of our way of experiencing and understanding reality. I explore what happens in an established domain of practice when the introduction of new technologies, such as the computer and video recording, requires practitioners to work with a new medium for carrying out their practices. In spite of the apparent distance of the two practical domains, music and the judicial, the two cases point to surprisingly similar phenomena affecting the nature of objects, the relationship between objects and their representations, and the perceptual and practical skills of the practitioners. The paper shows to what extent a practice is embedded in the medium and discusses the coping strategies that musicians and judges enact in order to make sense of and master the new media, and to reweave the ripped fabric of their practice.


mediation, medium specificity, practice, practical knowledge, technology

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