2022 年 101 巻 p. 45-64
Since the late 1990s, digital media, especially mobile media and the Internet, have rapidly penetrated society. Digital media have now become a part of our daily lives, involving us in every situation. Our daily lives are now mediated in some way by some form of media wherever we are and whatever we are doing. As a result, however, media studies, and especially studies of people’s use of media in their daily lives, face great challenges. In a situation where everything is mediated by the media, the boundaries of what constitutes the unique subject matter of media studies become blurred. What kind of perspective is required to overcome these difficulties? And what challenges will emerge in the future? With this in mind, this paper first traces the penetration of digital media into all areas of daily life by referring to data on mobile media usage trends, and then clarifies the difficulties facing media usage research today. To overcome these difficulties, we show that the actor-network theory, which views all kinds of entities as "associations," is effective, and propose a direction for how media usage research can be reconfigured from such a perspective. Briefly stated, the direction proposed here is to clarify what kind of hybrid collective is being assembled by following the linkage of heterogeneous actors around new media. In conclusion, we will show that the task of tracking this linkage develops into the further task of reassembling it. Through these tasks, the ultimate goal of this paper is to secure a theoretical path that captures the media and its users in today’s context, a context in which the unique object of media use research becomes elusive.