Convergence

Convergence is a dynamic of change. In the most neutral and general sense, it describes the tendency for separate streams or pathways (whether of matter, of technologies, or of biological life) to come together. Its complement is divergence—the tendency for these same paths and streams to branch, fork, and drift apart.

In the context of media and communication, convergence is the tendency of separate media technologies, cultural forms, and/or social practices to come together to perform similar functions and make new hybrid media systems. In this sense, it is a key driver of economic, technological, and cultural change in the media environment. Convergence, then, is one of the constitutive dynamics of new media (Hartley, Burgess, and Bruns 2013). To be able to describe and understand the different forms convergence takes is to begin to unravel one of the deepest and most long-standing issues in the history of media studies: …

This essay may be found on page 47 of the printed volume.

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