Media in Transition 2: globalization and convergence

May 10-12, 2002 at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

MiT2 conference organizing committee: Henry Jenkins, Shigeru Miyagawa, David Thorburn, William Uricchio, Ingrid Volkmer and Jing Wang.


Terms such as “globalization” and “convergence” increasingly dominate discussions of our media environment, yet their meanings remain vague and context specific. Many factors make it difficult to make broad statements about these trends: the uneven flow of cultural products across national borders; the still nascent nature of the new media environment; unpredictable patterns of use and meaning among media consumers; diverse national histories of cultural exchange or isolation; and an unstable business climate which alternately encourages and discourages innovation and entrepreneurship.


Many core issues remain to be explored: Will globalization reduce or expand the world’s cultural diversity? Will new technologies empower international media makers to enter the American marketplace or leave them more exposed than ever before to U.S. cultural exports? How do we reconcile the competing forces of media convergence and media fragmentation that are shaping the current communications infrastructure? What patterns can we discern among convergent content and audiences across media forms and international borders? What are the implications of media convergence not only at the corporate level, but also at the grassroots level where users are in control of content, context, and flow?

In 1999, MIT hosted the first Media in Transition conference , bringing together an international array of scholars from many different disciplines to examine the process and consequences of media change. In 2002, we invite you back to MIT for the second Media in Transition conference. As in the first conference, we encourage reflection across disciplinary boundaries, and among theorists and practitioners—a citizenly discourse makes core ideas accessible to a broad public.

This second conference will focus on North American, European and Asian experiences, and will provide a platform for a historically and culturally comparative analysis of our media past, present and future. As in the first Media in Transition conference, presentations and multi-media demonstrations will be framed by plenary “conversations” in which distinguished panelists will speak briefly and then participate in extended dialogue with the audience.

Themes include:

· Changing peripheries and centers;
· World music—world media;
· News and information in the digital age;
· The Internet, policy and popular culture;
· Transnational political activism;
· Cultural disorder: regional censorship and transnational media;
· Unofficial cultures and cultures of resistance;
· Cultural authority/autonomy/markets;
· Historical precedents/precursors;
· Global media flows, local media meanings;
· Intellectual property: constructions, enforcements, implications;
· Cyber citizenry and the global public sphere;
· Digital culture: language and infrastructure;
· Convergence and fragmentation;
· Public service vs. the marketplace: traditions, histories and futures;
· Building a global base for local media production;
· Global fusion and cultural hybridity;
· “The Third Culture”—identity in an age of dislocation;
· The globalization of the media audience: re-examining “the global village”;
· The transformation of television;
· Narrative forms and cultural change.