The politics and praxis of media-city research: a duo interview with Myria Georgiou and Scott McQuire

Koen Leurs, Myria Georgiou, Scott McQuire, Jani Vuolteenaho, Johanna Sumiala


This epilogue draws the various themes, issues and questions addressed in this OBS* special issue together. For this purpose, a duo-interview was conducted with Myria Georgiou and Scott McQuire. Georgiou and McQuire are unquestionable pioneers in the terrain of media city research. McQuire’s The media city. Media, architecture and urban space (Sage, 2008) and Georgiou’s Media and the city. Cosmopolitanism and difference (Polity, 2013) are essential textbooks that have achieved a wide readership across various fields including media and communication studies, architecture, cultural geography, sociology, design and urban studies. McQuire approaches contemporary digital media cities from a historically contextualizing angle, while Georgiou considers the contradictory and mediated challenges of living with cultural difference in the city. They are both working on timely and topical book-projects: McQuire’s next book is titled Geomedia: Networked cities and the future of public space (Polity, 2016), while Georgiou’s next monograph is titled Urban popular cultures (Polity, 2017). The way in which the exchange took place between the end of October and early November 2015 is illustrative for the politics and praxis of media-city research: at the time both scholars were battling jet-lags, travelling and working in a continent other than where there home institutions are based. Myria Georgiou was immersed in fieldwork on communicative infrastructures in a local Los Angeles community. She sent her responses from “a hotel with annoyingly unreliable internet connection which constantly gets cut off”. Scott gathered his thoughts during his flight from Melbourne to Belgium. He sent his responses while adjusting to a different time-zone in “gloomy” Antwerp that contrasted heavily with summery Melbourne. He was there to give a lecture on Digital media cities and the future of public space at the University of Antwerp.

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