Living in a Mediatised Society. An Ethnography of Media Rituals in the Netherlands


This project focuses on media rituals, instances when 'ordinary people' come into contact literally and figuratively with people or places from the media. These can involve a series of events ranging from meet-and-greets, signing sessions and official fan days to commercial or individual tours around film studios or neighbourhoods where celebrities live.

The current scholarly literature presumes that such events are growing in popularity and as a consequence offer an important insight into the role that media culture plays in everyday life. Empirical research into this, however, is scarce. While the relevance of the concept of media ritual for media research has been widely acknowledged, the existent, sporadic Anglo-Saxon examples have mainly served as illustrations of the concept itself. This project is the first to present wide-ranging, ethnographical research aiming to investigate the functions and mechanisms of media rituals 'in action'. With a careful and systematic study of the phenomenology of media rituals in the Netherlands, this research project offers an innovative perspective on the role and meaning of present-day media culture.

On a theoretical level the project goes beyond the dominant paradigm of post-structuralism by paying due attention to the material, physical dimensions of media culture. Post-structuralist theories concerning hyperreality, simulacra, mediatisation and deterritorialisation have for too long assumed that the material-physical foundations of culture are no longer of value in a virtualised world.By contrast, this research will highlight how unmediated and physical encounters affect the construction, perception and experiencing of media culture. Furthermore, by employing coherent lines of inquiries and cases selected from a historically informed corpus, and by combining anthropological and media research perspectives, the project aims to rethink, refine and improve the possible shortcomings of the concept of media ritual, and to open up new avenues towards an empirically-grounded theory.


Wetenschappelijk artikel





Prof. dr. M.S.S.E. Janssen

Verbonden aan

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication ESHCC, Media en Communicatie


Drs. B. Boross


01/09/2012 tot 01/09/2017