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By Emma Bond (auth.)

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15) suggests that ‘in the twenty-first century, human beings have entered into an era of the integrated development of the humanities, social sciences and the natural sciences resulting in the elevation of human awareness of knowledge’. The approach adopted throughout this book is one of plurality – a multidisciplinary plurality – which does not attempt to sit entirely within a particular body of literature. This analysis draws on approaches from socio-technical studies as well as media studies, sociology, geography and anthropology.

Appadurai’s (1996) notion of the complexity of mediascapes, which refers to both the global distribution of media and the images/ideologies conveyed through media and cultural landscapes based on the complicated interplay between economy, culture and politics, is also helpful to the analysis presented here. Furthermore, ‘cultures are made up of communication processes’ (Castells, 2000, p. 403) and the nature and purpose of the first section of this chapter is to outline the development of older but still-familiar technologies, drawing on the development of the telephone and the television as examples.

2010) suggest that the opportunities for contemporary children to mix, socialise and learn face-to-face are restricted to institutional settings, which may have a profound effect on children’s social interaction and social learning. O’Brien et al. (2000) argued previously, Understanding Childhood 27 however, that, although modes of parental sponsorship create a closeted lifestyle where children are spatially segregated and chaperoned, this is one of the adaptations particular parents and children make to living in a more insecure world, and the general elaboration of the modern home has created a socio-sphere of enrichment rather than entrapment for many contemporary children.

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