“The shift from traditional mass media to a system of horizontal communication networks organised around the Internet and wireless communication has introduced a multiplicity of communication patterns at the source of a fundamental cultural transformation, as virtuality becomes an essential dimension of our reality”
(Manuel Castells, 2010)
Media Ecology’s main interest is how media communication affects human understanding and perception of facts and how it influences human feelings and actions. Its importance is only set to increase as the diffusion of digital technologies reinforces a horizontal communication model. Access by citizens to free and independent media is generally held to be one of the cornerstones of any democratic society.
There is much research and discussion on the negative impacts of digitally-enabled “new media” platforms such as social media and their capacity to undermine an informed citizenry via mis- and disinformation. While there is no doubt that these risks need to be addressed, Re-Imagine Europa is convinced of the potential for a digitally-enabled media ecosystem to strengthen understanding and reinforce not only the democratic process, but also access to quality information and a broad range of perspectives on matters of socioeconomic and ecological importance.
For this reason, Re-Imagine Europa has decided to create a new centre for Media Ecology Research (MER). Our interdisciplinary and collaborative approach will help us understand how communication affects people’s behaviour, and propose meaningful, practical applications, thus contributing transversally to the development of all Re-Imagine Europa’s projects.