[Air-L] New PhD thesis: "Evolutionary dynamics of new media forms: the case of the open mobile web"

Indrek Ibrus ibrus at tlu.ee
Mon Jan 24 09:29:19 PST 2011

Dear All,

this is another "new PhD" announcement. I defended my PhD thesis at London
School of Economics already last October, but as it is now up and freely
accessible on LSE website a short note is perhaps in place also here.

The title of my thesis is "Evolutionary dynamics of new media forms: the
case of the open mobile web"

What it does is a rather interdisciplinary approach to analysing how media
as an 'ensemble' changes. That is: how the composites of this ensmble -
textual forms, practices of production, institutional forms, industry
organisation, normative discourses, regulative frameworks, markets, etc. -
co-evolve. My empirical case study is post-3G mobile web and its early
evolution in mid-2000s. Here follows the abstract:

"This thesis is designed to improve our understanding of the evolutionary
dynamics of media forms, with a special historical focus on the recent
processes of Web and mobile convergence and the early development of the
cross-platform Web. It aims to investigate the dynamics that have
underpinned the creation, evolution and conventionalisation of new media
forms in the open mobile Web following the launch of 3G mobile networks.

In theoretical terms the thesis explores the possibilities for the
analytical integration of evolutionary approaches that traditionally have
shed light on the discrete components of the evolutionary ‘ensemble’ that
comprises media’s textual forms, their technologies and organisational
systems. Among the theoretical pillars the study builds on is, first, the
cultural semiotic approach (Lotman) that is utilised for interpreting the
textual dynamics constituting the form evolution. Second, evolutionary
economics (Schumpeter, Freeman and others) is included for interpreting the
market dynamics that condition the formation of the media industries. Third,
systems theoretical sociology (Luhmann) is deployed in order to understand
the broader dynamics of social organisation in late modernism. The
integration of these approaches provides the conceptual framework that
focuses on the following phenomena: dialogic interchange among industry
sub-systems as enabling innovations and the emergence of new sub-systems;
the self-organisation of the sub-systems in the contingent environment; the
role of memory and systemic ‘path-dependencies’ in guiding the processes of
self-organisation; and the nature of the power relations that shape the
dialogic processes.

The empirical study focuses on textual as well as organisational
developments. The semiotic analysis of mobile websites reveals the
intertextual relations of the new forms with other media domains, especially
the desktop Web. The interviews with representatives of industry
stakeholders provide insights into the dialogic practices between the
parties engaged in designing the mobile Web, and how, via these practices,
the new platform, its media forms and institutional structures were shaped.
The findings point to the historical formation of two main industry
sub-systems – ‘infrastructure enablers’ and content providers – with
different preferred alternatives for the design of the cross-platform Web.
The thesis demonstrates how the formation of these groups was conditioned by
their systemic path-dependencies, but also by the mesh of dialogic
relationships among them and by the resulting changes in the discursive
constellations framing the organisation of the industry and the norms for
its media forms. The study points to the first signs of the historically
momentous emancipation of the mobile webmedia forms, their shaking free of
path-dependency on the desktop Web."

You can download the thesis here: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/53/

Best wishes,

Indrek Ibrus

Dr Indrek Ibrus
Lecturer of media innovation and creative industries
Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School
Sütiste tee 21, 13419 Tallinn, Estonia
Mob: +372-56978885
Website: www.mediainnovation.eu

More information about the Air-L mailing list