Dead media: Obsolescence and redundancy in media history

Tara Brabazon


Adjectives attend the new: fresh, clean, exciting, dynamic, innovative and productive. Oppositional binaries cling to the old: tired, worn, redundant, sick, slow and useless. While anti-discrimination policies can address these connotations when applied to people, the consequences of such ideologies on ‘old media’ are under-researched. While media and cultural studies departments teach ‘New Media’ courses, ‘Old Media’ courses remain invisible and unpopular. This article extends these adjectives and narratives by following a challenge Bruce Sterling posed to researchers: to understand ‘Dead Media.’ I explore the origins of this term and how and why an interest in Dead Media has – in itself – died.


Dead media; dead media studies; Bruce Sterling; lifecycle management; sunsetting

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