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What is Political Economy? Definitions by prime theorists Origins in economic thought How has it been taken up in communication studies? Major theoreticians.

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Presentation on theme: "What is Political Economy? Definitions by prime theorists Origins in economic thought How has it been taken up in communication studies? Major theoreticians."— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Political Economy? Definitions by prime theorists Origins in economic thought How has it been taken up in communication studies? Major theoreticians Tensions

2 Robert McChesney Relationship between media and communication systems and the broader social structures of society How do media systems reinforce, challenge, or influence existing class and social relations?

3 McChesney: How does media ownership, support mechanisms, and government policies influence media behavior and content? What are the structural factors and labour processes in the production, distribution, and consumption of communication?

4 McChesney: Pessimistic view of sustainability of p-e in American universities because of increasing corporatization But, passionate about p-e of communication as being interdisciplinary, taking risks… Advocate for media reform – public advocacy is central to intellectual life

5 Vincent Mosco PE examines the production, distribution, and consumption of resources, including communication and information resources History Social Totality Moral Philosophy Praxis

6 History How to understand the global political economy How has social change happened? What have been previous struggles and how are they the same or different than current struggles? e.g., is globalization new? When looking at ‘new’ technologies, can the past illuminate the present (radio: Internet)…

7 Social Totality Holistic analysis Relationship among commodities, institutions, social relations, and hegemony What are the connections between the economic and the political?, the economic and the social?

8 Commodity form Use of wage labour to produce goods that are sold in the marketplace Media forms: television genres, databases, pay-per-view forms, social media (third-party marketing) Commodification of information Corporatization of public space

9 Examines many institutions Those that support, sustain, subvert public and private activities Tensions between public vs. private Globalization & trade relationships which can exacerbate nation-state, capital, labour relationships Closely interpenetrated regimes of power and control in media systems

10 Social Relations How do people engage with the media? Issues of race, class, gender, generational differences Have’s and have-not’s, digital divides…

11 Unpacks/considers That H Word – Hegemony Process of constituting the ‘common- sense’ Origins from Gramsci – how to understand capitalist society Used in analysis of social control Beyond ideology – appears natural

12 Some examples from everyday life… We take for granted that… Voting = democratic process Capitalistic marketplace = productive & fair society Objectivity is the cornerstone of journalism (Now, let’s challenge these dominant hegemonies!)

13 Moral Philosophical Outlooks Abiding concern with social values What are appropriate social benefits? An ethics of information in society… E.g., who are the winners and who are the losers?

14 Praxis In essence, practice & action Concerned with social justice Fighting for the public interest Public intellectual stance Ex: McChesney’s public advocacy for media reform

15 Vincent Mosco “…the study of control and survival in social life” Argues for a rethinking of p-e of communications with entry points of commodification, spatialization, and structuration

16 Commodification How capitalism accumulates capital and realizes value through the transformation of use values into exchange values In short, the process of transforming use values into exchange values

17 How does this relate to communication? “Communication processes & technologies contribute to the general process of commodification in the economy as a whole” Ex: just-in-time manufacturing, quick- response systems, e-commerce, information entrepreneurialism

18 And, (this is from Mosco, 1996, 142) “Commodification processes at work in the society as a whole penetrate communication processes and institutions, so that improvements and contradictions in the societal commodification process influence communication as a social practice” E.g., deregulation, liberalization of media industries & telecom sectors

19 Commodification research Class power Media elites Ownership patterns Audience commodity Government-lobbyist liaisons

20 Policy Research… Policy – how this has contributed to media commodification (neoliberalism) Tensions between public and private spheres Media & democracy Public interest (whither the…) – ex: Aufderheide on US Telecom Act of 1996

21 Spatialization Overcoming the constraints of space and time in social life Coined by Henri Lefebvre Innis’ work on time-space Castell – “space of flows” in describing network society

22 Spatialization related to communication studies Addressed in institutional extension of corporate power in communications industry Analysis of corporate concentration Horizontal and vertical integration Conglomerization, cross-media ownership Media ownership mapping

23 Spatialization….and policy Commercialization Privatization Liberalization Internationalization

24 Structuration “A process by which structures are constituted out of human agency, even as they provide the very ‘medium’ of that constitution” (Mosco, 1996, 212) Looks at agency, social relations, social process, social practice, social movements Looks at class, gender, hegemony…

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