Nick Couldry and Andreas Hepp – The Mediated Construction of Reality


Polity Press, ISBN-13: 978-0745681313, English, 256 pages, 2016, UK

The incredible impact of social media platforms on our life has been one of the fastest social transformations humans have ever globally experienced. This is a book investigating this subject from a social theory perspective, building on the very classic Berger and Luckmann’s “The Social Construction of Reality” from the 60s, examining how social reality is constructed today. It is written considering the key understanding of social life intensity, being now recursively dependant on technological media of communication. The two authors aim to develop a “materialist phenomenology” bringing together the technological infrastructure and its ability to build sense (in both the ‘material’ and the ‘symbolic’). After defining the relationships between the different involved elements (social, media, communication) and retracing the different waves of mediatisation, Couldry and Hepp come up with the definition of the current status as “deep mediatisation”, still as a “provisional climax”. Under this status two central concepts emerge: the selves and the collectivities. The former come together in the “we” and “us” in an artificial convergence of behaviours as “the site of the selves” which is clearly being transformed. On the other side, after digital media, the “spectrum of possible collectivities” has increased dramatically, but it ultimately reveals how collectivities are now increasingly based on “numeric inclusions”. The need for political actions deconstructing these induced senses of “us” on these platforms could then start to disrupt their inflated economic value.


  • “The Mediated Construction of Reality”