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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; Revised edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814742955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814742952
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 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: #40,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Henry Jenkins, founder and director of MIT's comparative media studies program, debunks outdated ideas of the digital revolution in this remarkable book, proving that new media will not simply replace old media, but rather will learn to interact with it in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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"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."
- Slashdot



"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


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

I know it will prove useful for me.
Taylor Ellwood
Jenkin's book Convergence Culture is a seminal study in the origin of transmedia as it relates to this evolving digital media technology and storytelling.
Michael P. Naughton
This book is a must read for any scholar interested in understanding "new" literacies.
Deborah Kozdras

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. Richard Stevens on August 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By James Carragher on November 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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 By Jonathan D. Polk on April 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
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 By Heather Lawver on August 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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 By J. T. Zmikly on April 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
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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