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Media EnvironmentsEdited by Barry Vacker
    Print $181.95

Media Environments

Where Movies and Texts Critique Media and Society (Second Edition)
Edited by Barry Vacker

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-63189-002-4, 412 pages


Coming Soon
The Third Edition will be published Fall 2018. ISBN: 978-1-5165-2110-4

The readings in Media Environments offer an engaging introduction to some of the central questions in media studies. In this well-organized and provocative reader, students will discover how mass media, popular culture and digital technologies support the organization of culture and values, shaping not only personal and social identity, but consciousness itself.—Renee Hobbs, Founding Director, Harrington School of Communications, The University of Rhode Island

[T]he collection of studies here certainly constitute more than the sum of their individual parts. Many of these individual pieces are in fact absolutely key to any effective understanding of what our media environments are now and are likely to be in the near future. … Vacker offers the student, reader and prospective course organizer an exciting excursion through a whole constellation of media environments, topics, issues, challenges, ideas, theories, experiences and problems.—John Blewitt, Aston U, Birmingham, England, in a review published in Explorations in Media Ecology, Volume 12, Numbers 1 and 2

This textbook gave me insight into a world of media I never even knew existed. I enjoyed the chapter breakdowns, the examples, and the way it was written. All of those things together made Media Environments one of the best learning experiences I've had from both a textbook and new course material.—Delane Moehring, Masters student, University of Texas at Tyler

This course opened my eyes and blew my mind.—Genevieve Gillespie, former student and now a contributor to the 2nd Edition, Temple University

Media Environments is based on a simple concept: combine movies with texts to critique media and society in the 21st century. Using film as a gateway to critical readings, students learn to think creatively and critically about media, society, technology, and popular culture.

Rather than examine the media as separate industries or technologies, Media Environments explores the media in their totality and provides models and theories for interrogating many universal themes that span media and global culture. Using films such as The Hunger Games, Fight Club and WALL-E as lead-ins, students are introduced to the works of well-known thinkers and writers such as Jean Baudrillard, Naomi Wolf, Neil Postman, Rebecca MacKinnon, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Julian Assange, Kalle Lasn, Stephen Hawking, and many others. Chapter topics include:

  • memes
  • networks
  • spectacle
  • hyperreality
  • news
  • science
  • ecology
  • capitalism
  • counterculture
  • social media
  • celebrity system
  • total surveillance
  • Internet freedom
  • apocalypse culture
  • media futures

The wide range of films, topics, and readings permits professors to tailor the models and theories to fit with their personal interests and expertise in teaching Media and Society or other media-related courses. With its intellectual rigor and thematic diversity, Media Environments is ideal for departments thinking about adopting a single text for their media studies courses. This anthology makes media criticism exciting, engaging, and enlightening.

Teaching Resources
Adopting instructors will receive sample projects, syllabi, and a question bank.

Barry Vacker teaches media and cultural studies at Temple University (Philadelphia), where he is an associate professor in the School of Media and Communication. Vacker has taught media studies courses for 20 years and authored many articles and books on art, media, culture, and technology.

—His most recent articles explore the meanings of Facebook, the Hubble Space Telescope, Fight Club, and The Walking Dead.
—His most recent book, The End of the World — Again, critiques apocalyptic movies, science, and culture.
—He is the Founder of the Center for Media and Destiny, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to exploring "the big futures" involving media and human destiny.

He also directed the documentary film, Space Times Square, which received the international award for "Outstanding Praxis in Media Ecology" from the Media Ecology Association in 2010. Vacker earned his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. For Barry’s full bio, go to:

In the News
Barry Vacker was Interviewed by the team at The Day After Reading. Day After Reading puts the spotlight on the readers—collecting personal views of daily consumption of the news. Read the full interview here.

In 2013, Barry was interviewed on Public Radio International about two of his recent books:
1. The End of the World — Again
2. Slugging Nothing: Fighting the Future in Fight Club.

In 2003, Barry was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on CNN about the meaning of The Matrix and the role of media technology in our lives.