Media Resistance: Opportunities for Practice Theory and New Media Research

Louise Woodstock


Based on in-depth qualitative interviews, this essay offers a portrait of media resisters—individuals who intentionally and significantly limit their media use and who have largely fallen outside the purview of communication research. I argue that attention to media resistance expands and enhances practice theory and research on new media use. Practice theory broadens by the acknowledgement that media resistance constitutes a significant set of behavioral responses to living in a media-saturated world. Similarly, recognition of the media resistance phenomenon can help address the pro-innovation bias of new media research. Media resisters articulate reasons for resistance that include (a) asserting boundaries between public and private life, (b) acting on concerns that technologies designed to facilitate human connection often undermine it, and (c) focusing on immediate experiences and thereby cultivating presence.


media resistance, media refusal, practice theory, audience studies, new media, digital media, social media

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