This book explores how issues of power, form and subjectivity feature at the core of all serious thinking about the media, including appreciations of their creativity as well as anxiety about the risks they pose. Drawing widely on an interdisciplinary literature, the author connects his exposition to examples from film, television, radio, photography, painting, web practice, music and writing in order to bring in topics as diverse as reporting the war in Afghanistan, the televising of football, documentary portrayals of 9/11, reality television, the diversity of taste in the arts and the construction of civic identity. The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, three big chapters on each of the key notions provide an interconnected discussion of the media activities opened up for exploration and the debates they have provoked. The second part presents examples, arguments and analysis drawing on the author's previous work around the core themes, with notes placing them in the context of the whole book. The book brings together concepts both from Social Studies and the Arts and Humanities, addressing a readership wider than the sub-specialisms of media research. It refreshes ideas about why the media matter, and how understanding them better remains a key aim of cultural inquiry and a continuing requirement for public policy.