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Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide [Hardcover]

by Henry Jenkins
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 2006 0814742815 978-0814742815

Henry Jenkins at Authors@Google (video)

Winner of the 2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award

2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Convergence Culture maps a new territory: where old and new media intersect, where grassroots and corporate media collide, where the power of the media producer and the power of the consumer interact in unpredictable ways.

Henry Jenkins, one of America’s most respected media analysts, delves beneath the new media hype to uncover the important cultural transformations that are taking place as media converge. He takes us into the secret world of Survivor Spoilers, where avid internet users pool their knowledge to unearth the show’s secrets before they are revealed on the air. He introduces us to young Harry Potter fans who are writing their own Hogwarts tales while executives at Warner Brothers struggle for control of their franchise. He shows us how The Matrix has pushed transmedia storytelling to new levels, creating a fictional world where consumers track down bits of the story across multiple media channels.Jenkins argues that struggles over convergence will redefine the face of American popular culture. Industry leaders see opportunities to direct content across many channels to increase revenue and broaden markets. At the same time, consumers envision a liberated public sphere, free of network controls, in a decentralized media environment. Sometimes corporate and grassroots efforts reinforce each other, creating closer, more rewarding relations between media producers and consumers. Sometimes these two forces are at war.

Jenkins provides a riveting introduction to the world where every story gets told and every brand gets sold across multiple media platforms. He explains the cultural shift that is occurring as consumers fight for control across disparate channels, changing the way we do business, elect our leaders, and educate our children.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Henry Jenkins, founder and director of MIT's comparative media studies program, debunks outdated ideas of the digital revolution in this remarkable book, proving that new media will not simply replace old media, but rather will learn to interact with it in a complex relationship he calls "convergence culture." The book's goal is to explain how convergence is currently impacting the relationship among media audiences, producers and content, a far from easy undertaking. As Jenkins says, "there will be no magical black box that puts everything in order again." Jenkins takes pains to prove that the notion of convergence culture is not primarily a technological revolution; through a number of well-chosen examples, Jenkins shows that it is more a cultural shift, dependent on the active participation of the consumers working in a social dynamic. He references recent media franchises like Survivor, The Matrix, and American Idol to show how the new participatory culture of consumers can be utilized for popular success and increased exposure. Jenkins' insights are gripping and his prose is surprisingly entertaining and lucid for a book that is, at its core, intellectually rigorous. Though wordy at times, Jenkins' impressive ability to break down complex concepts into readable prose makes this study vital and engaging.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Remarkable . . . Jenkins’ insights are gripping and his prose is surprisingly entertaining and lucid for a book that is, at its core, intellectually rigorous . . . Jenkins’ impressive ability to break down complex concepts into readable prose makes this study vital and engaging.”
-Publishers Weekly


“Jenkins is an astute observer of media culture and his insights are spot-on.”
-The Los Angeles Times


“For any Sony PS3 execs out there wondering why their technological masterpiece is being ridiculed by customers before its even released . . . Convergence Culture is a must read . . . Jenkins offers numerous insights on how technology and media professionals can forge better relationships with their customers.”


“;Jenkins tries to bring clarity to cultural changes that are melting and morphing into new shapes on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly basis. Convergence Culture provides a view that looks at the restless ocean and tracks the currents rather than just looking at the individual rocks on the beach.”
-The McClatchy Newspapers


“;One of those rare works that is closer to an operating system than a traditional book: it’s a platform that people will be building on for years to come. What’s more, the book happens to be a briskly entertaining read--as startling, inventive, and witty as the culture it documents. It should be mandatory reading for anyone trying to make sense of today’s popular culture—but thankfully, a book this fun to read doesn't need a mandate.”
-Steven Johnson,author of the national bestseller, Everything Bad Is Good For You

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814742815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814742815
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Henry Jenkins is Associate Professor of Literature and Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different take on convergence August 28, 2006
I can't say enough good things about this book. Jekins critiques "traditional" convergence theory about converging media and argues that the instigator of convergence is the need for new patterns of consumption, not production. Each chapter addresses how fans of a particular program reorganize their media experiences to better participate in the discussion, analysis and, at times, production of future episodes or events.

Because he demonstrates through example, the text is approachable to the scholar and the layman alike. The subjects themselves make the read interesting, but Jenkins also brings his wisdom to bear at opportune moments. Highly reocmmmended for those who study media, culture or technology adoption.
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52 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Impressed November 3, 2007
Henry Jenkins says, in the Introduction to Convergence Culture, "This book is about the relationship between three concepts -- media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence." He then defines the terms and, a few pages later, still in the Intro, writes, "My aim is...modest. I want to describe some of the ways that convergence thinking is reshaping American popular culture and, in particular, the ways it is impacting the relationship between media audiences, producers, and content."

In contrast to McLuhan who is bold to a fault in Understanding Media (read just before Convergence), but bold and not afraid to be wrong, and that's important. Jenkins aims low, way too low. "Modest" here translates to not trying very hard. His few pages on Wikipedia are very good indeed (he's a proponent, so am I). But otherwise, from Convergence Culture one learns:

1) people get information and entertainment from a variety of media,
2) people can get the same information from a variety of media,
3) fans are passionate about their TV shows and classic popular movies and books and some like and utilize spoilers,
and, repeatedly,
4) the program he directs at MIT studies these phenomena.

Sorry, that's not enough for me.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great look at the culture instead of the technology April 20, 2009
Henry Jenkins, Director of the Contemporary Media Studies Program at MIT, attempts in his acclaimed 2006 book Convergence Culture to look beyond the hype surrounding new media and instead analyze the cultural transformations that occur when these new media meet the old. Arguing against the idea that convergence should be understood primarily as a technological process, he instead demonstrates that it represents a cultural shift as consumers are urged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content.

Rather than writing from an objective viewpoint, Jenkins instead describes what the media landscape looks like from the perspective of various localized people. He also is quick to dismiss the idea that in the future consumers will get all their media from one device, referring to this prognostication as the `black box fallacy.' Through his book, Jenkins explains how convergence is both a top-down corporate-driven process and a bottom-up consumer-driven process.

Throughout the six chapters making up the first edition of the book, Jenkins looks at a number of scenarios that highlight the way culture is shifting based on the intersection of new and old media. He describes in detail the fans of the television show Survivor who have banded together online to form communities that attempt to find out as many secrets about the show as is possible, using this example as a microcosm to explain how knowledge can be formed within a community that would be impossible to be formed by individuals working separately. He also discusses the ramifications that interactive audience-driven voting has had on the hit American Idol, and the potential backlash against its new brand of corporate sponsorship.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The King of Culture August 6, 2006
Henry Jenkins has a natural knack for taking any topic and making it instantly relatable and intensely gripping. I was privileged to have received a preview of part of this book before its publication, and I can honestly say that it's as entertaining as it is informative. Here he tackles completely new territory - the ever-evolving world of media and technology and how it impacts our society and the corporate world. This proverbial David & Goliath struggle for control of new media, the challenges of the inherent legalities, and the birth of new mediums; all of this complexity is laid out in the pages of 'Convergence Culture', and who better to guide us through this mish-mash landscape of new media than one of our foremost experts on media and popular culture?

Anyone interested in the Internet, media publication, fan rights, grassroots movements, blogs, and anything else that typically only your children or grandchildren can explain to you, would find this book not only informative, but riveting. I highly recommend it, and not just because I have a chapter almost all to myself (check out the chapter on Harry Potter and the infamous PotterWar - Alastair and I say Hello.) :)

Pick up a copy of Convergence Culture. You'll be glad you did.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Look At the Digital Media Age April 21, 2009
Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins gives an in-depth and critical look at how the World Wide Web has transformed traditional media to be more amalgamate, multi-level, and less isolated, allowing for a more participatory culture, and illustrating the power of collective intelligence. As the Internet blurs the lines that once separated specific mediums Jenkins writes, "Convergence represents a cultural shift as consumers are encouraged to seek out new information and make connections among dispersed media content" (p.3). By focusing on a few major examples of how the media is shifting from isolated experiences into transmedia storytelling, Jenkins explains the relationship between convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence, illustrating how the "new media" is "impacting relationships between media audiences, producers and content" (p.12). He explains that because aspects of our everyday lives pass through various media, convergence has created a new type of media consumer who communicates on several platforms. To reach the new consumer, traditional media must also be present on different forums.

Jenkins explains most of these "discussions" throughout Convergence Culture within the context of specific pop-culture and political examples. The first of which begins in his first chapter, Spoiling Survivor, where he outlines the impact of a communal reception of the TV show "Survivor." By looking at one of the most democratic uses of the Internet (message boards), Jenkins analyzes Survivor fans' interactions with "spoilers" of the show, calling it "collective intelligence in practice" (p.28).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read...
Dr. Jenkins has achieved something special with this text--he's synthesized a few generations of technological achievement, humanities computing practices, and popular culture into... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Daniel Powell
4.0 out of 5 stars My 2 cents on the matter...
Henry Jenkins cites good cases of how media is effecting John Q. Public, and that the changes shift like the changing sea at this point. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J E
4.0 out of 5 stars For the fans
Convergence Culture. Where old and new media collide
- Henry Jenkins

A good book, filled with examples of how our usage of media has changed -and is continuing to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ph(?)
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I was almost about to order the kindle edition until I saw some of the reviews that the kindle edition doesn't come with page numbers which I think is ridiculous. Read more
Published 9 months ago by uglydance
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Breathless 2.0
Great title, decent idea, banal thesis, lame execution. Also, as recent as the publication is, its chief examples -- Survivor, American Idol -- are passe and overstated. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Adam Weinstein
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
I used this book for my Social Media and American Culture class. It's an easy read and not difficult to understand.
Published 14 months ago by celticsfan
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
I bought this book for one of my college courses and ended up finding it truly intriguing. Jenkins delves into the ideas of collective intelligence, affective economics,... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Nathan
4.0 out of 5 stars Convergence Culture
Henry Jenkins is a media scholar, and a Professor at MIT. He has authored several books, including textual poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Cultures and Convergence... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Sheldon C
5.0 out of 5 stars Jenkins is genius
When researching about new medias and the future of media, this book can be very handfull. Jenkis can open our minds for the future in a way very special
Published 17 months ago by alexandre vitor costa araujo
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Analysis of Contemporary Media Practices
Henry Jenkins is one of the leading theorists in contemporary media studies. This book proves why: a penetrating analysis of important cultural transformations in a world where... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dr. Laurence Raw
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