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Kittler and the Media (TM - Theory and Media) Paperback – 3 Dec 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (3 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745644066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745644066
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.4 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 866,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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" Kittler and the Media is informed, lucid, and entertaining. Winthrop–Young is a world expert writing in both English and German on the work of Friedrich Kittler and I expect this book to become the English–language Virgil for Kittler′s ′selva oscura′."
John Durham Peters, University of Iowa

"A key work in contemporary media theory, this study is a step toward readjusting the question of the media in today′s debates. Kittler′s beland of Heideggerian history of Being and Neitzschean genealogy is meticulously retraced. And – even more importantly – Winthrop–Young addresses a fascination with technology, the beloves twentieth–century enemy of philosophy and the humanities."
Rudiger Campe, Yale University

"Witty, concise and insightful, Kittler and the Media covers the three major phases of Kittler′s career, including Kittler′s recent work on the Greek alphabet, and traces connecting threads through the different phases. Deeply thought through Kittler and the Media covers essential points of media theory in its German and international contexts."
Katherine Hayles, Duke University

From the Back Cover

With books such as Discourse Networks and Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, and the collection Literature, Media, Information Systems, Friedrich Kittler has established himself as one of the world s most influential media theorists. He is also one of the most controversial and misunderstood.

Kittler and the Media offers students of media theory an introduction to Kittler s basic ideas. Following an introduction that situates Kittler s work against the tumultuous background of German twentieth–century history (from World War II and the cultural upheaval of the late 1960s to reunification), the book provides succinct summaries of Kittler s early discourse–analytical work inspired by French poststructuralism, his media–related theorizing, and his most recent writings on cultural techniques and the notation systems of ancient Greece.

This clear and engaging overview of a fascinating theorist will be welcomed by students and scholars alike of media, communication, and cultural studies.

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sleazy Martinez on 22 July 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a concise introduction to Friedrich Kittler, a German philosopher / theorist whose work is slowly gaining attention in the English speaking world. His work is often noted as having 3 distinct phases, which are covered chronologically here. The book is easy to read (providing you are up to speed with this kind of thinking, see below) and is certainly the best introduction I have read to Kittler's work.

By the end of the book I felt that I had a basic grasp of his major theories, however this was only possible due to my prior knowledge of the works of Foucault, Heidegger and Lacan, which are heavily referenced here. The author presupposes the reader has a decent grounding in poststructuralist / postmodern theory. Be warned, if this does not apply to you the book will at times be difficult to follow. The author also makes occasional references in German and classic Greek, sometimes offering translation, sometimes not.

I'd like to give the book 4 stars, however I feel that the title is a bit misleading. The book doesn't specifically cover Kittler's views on `The Media' i.e. modern mass media which the title suggests. There are fleeting mentions but only in the general context of his genealogy of theory. Students of communications / media who will probably buy this book may not find his musings on the Greek alphabet and lovemaking gods relevant. There were also a few typos towards the end of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Useful Introduction 2 Feb. 2014
By Ulrich Gdhler - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I knew about Friedrich Kittler as one of the first German speaking exponents of French Post-Structuralism in the 1980s. I read Foucault and Derrida at that time in a philosophy reading group, repudiated the anti-humanist turn and preferred Western Marxism or the Communication Ethics of Habermas. Thirty years later a University course on Media Theory motivated me to read some essays by Kittler and Geoffrey Winthrop-Young’s introduction “Kittler and the Media”. Kittler’s own works are a very difficult read. I tried to read the “Aufschreibesysteme 1800/1900” but didn’t manage to finish the book. Winthrop-Young’s introduction was helpful to me because he makes Kittler’s often nebulous arguments more explicit and puts them in the context of the Post-Structuralist turn. I never liked the Post-Structuralist or Nietzschean style of writing and I am very thankful for Winthrop-Young’s reconstruction.
Winthrop-Young presents three stages in Kittler’s writing. In the 1970s and early 1980s Kittler applied Foucauldian discourse analysis to German literary studies. His reading of the “Goethe-Zeit” in “Aufschreibesysteme” was a sort of parricide in German Studies and extremely provocative in the context of German language and literature studies seminaries at that time. From 1980 to 2000 Kittler dealt with media technologies, typewriters, gramophones and digital technologies. He merged the technological determinism of Marshall McLuhan with his Post-Structuralism. From 2000 until his death 2011 Kittler extended his research to a genealogy of culture techniques.
I worked in Information Technology during these years and look back with some anger and shame about my own naiveté now. Like most IT specialists I had illusions about “User-Friendly Software” and “Democracy and the Internet”, because I focussed too much on the technology and the media instead of the capitalist relations of productions. Actually the Internet did not lead to more democracy. Information Technology was misused by the Neoliberal turn for a global restructuration of capitalism and we had become useful blind followers. Kittler’s technical determinism and disregard of the capitalist nature of society very much resembles the IT illusions I am ashamed of now. A criticism of Kittler’s technology-centric arguments could help to develop a critique of ideology of Software Engineering and Information Technology.
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