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Political Econony vs Cultural Studies Approaches MEVIT3220/4220 Lecture 4 13 September 2007 Sarah Chiumbu.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Econony vs Cultural Studies Approaches MEVIT3220/4220 Lecture 4 13 September 2007 Sarah Chiumbu."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Econony vs Cultural Studies Approaches MEVIT3220/4220 Lecture 4 13 September 2007 Sarah Chiumbu

2 Literature Literature relevant for this lecture –The Cultural Industries Chapters 1, 2 & 3 –Mass Media & Society Chapter 4 (Murdock & Golding) –Who Owns the Media Part 2, chapter 3 –Situating Globality Chapter 2 (Nyamjoh) –Media and Identity in Contemporary Europe Chapter 3

3 Introducing PE & CI approaches Critical political economy and cultural studies are two influential academic paradigms for understanding global media Both approaches are rooted in critical theory and Marxism: –The Frankfurt School –The Birmingham School

4 Critical Political Economy Focuses on questions of power and ideology: how economic, political and symbolic power interact in the sphere of culture Rooted in Marxist critique of capitalism: the structure of economic relations under capitalism. Conditions of production are important: –Media ownership –Market regulation –Market concentration

5 Critical Political Economy Looks at how products and texts from the media sector are formed by: –Government control –Ownership patterns –Advertising –Distribution and consumption Thus three approaches to CPE can be discerned: –How different economic structures of the media and govt regulation influence the content of the media. –How media content reinforces, challenges & influences class and social relations –Argues that the public good is not served by uncontrolled free market

6 Critical Political Economy There are 2 particular strands within CPE: –The US Model (or the Schiller-McChesney strand) –The cultural studies approach (mainly European and normally associated with Nicholas Garnham (Hesmondhalgh, 2002:33) The US Model: –Emphasises strategic use of power –Focuses on issues of concentration and conglomeration –Offers a critique of advertising The Cultural studies approach: –Focuses on contradictions and problems of cultural production- owners, advertisers and political figures cant always do as they would wish; they operate within structures that constrain as well as facilitate, imposing limits as well as offering opportunities (Murdock & Golding, 2005:63)

7 Cultural Studies approach Same interests as in PE, but focuses more on empirical and analytical. Concerned with questions of cultural power- how cultural forms are produced, distributed, interpreted and contested Concerned with the relationship between media, power and culture in modern, mass-mediated societies and cultures Culture/content/text are important, not only as context of production (e.g. ownership, censorship), but as genres, expressions, meaning (see Hesmondhalgh, 2002: 38-41)

8 Similarities between CPE & CI Both rooted in critical theory and in work of cultural theorists as Raymond Williams Both seek to identify & critique dominant interests in the media and cultural spheres Both draw on Marxism Both focuses on power distribution between the working class and the bourgeoisie (see Terry Flew Understanding Global Media (2007)

9 Class reflection Discuss the CPE & CI approaches in relation to: –Europe –Africa –Asia

10 Africa vs. Europe in PE approaches Africa –Political & reforms in the 1990s in many African countries led to commercialisation, privatisation & deregulation –A host of private media now available, e.g. magazines, international channels –Programmes aired with little cultural relevance, e.g. Jerry Springer, Sunset Beach, the Bold & the Beautiful. –Media driven by international media interests and advertisers –Market driven media threatening decades long tradition of PSB –South Africa has extended its media empire across Africa- exports its already ‘globalised’ cultural industries to the rest of Africa

11 Africa vs. Europe in PE approaches Europe: –Neo-liberal reforms in the Europe to Thatherism and Reaganism in the 1980s –European media subject to corporate ownership by big global media empires –Concerns over US cultural products on “European identity” (especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s) –PSBs undergoing structural changes due to commercialisation & technological developments –Media Convergence and concentration major policy issues for the EU: transnational ownership of European media

12 Africa vs. Europe in a CI approach Africa: –Audiences in Africa not always passive receivers of Western messages – they are active participants in the cultural hegemony –Forms of cultural resistance and cultural (re)negotiation Nollywood – famous Nigerian film/video industry TV- many African countries produce their own brands of soap operas based on the US format Music-though many artists are using Western formats such as hip-hop and rap, the sound and themes of the songs are African Africa now contributing to world culture through mainly is music – popular music styles are heard in dance club halls all over Europe and the US

13 Africa vs. Europe in a CI approach Europe: –Concerns with European (cultural) identity, e.g. the EU Television Without Frontiers (1989) revised in 2003 –Europe and its “others”- Europeanisation as a response to the threat of Americanisation –European Union vs. “nation-states” –Imagining Europe as an audio-visual space Eurovision Euronews Subsidisation of European film production

14 Africa vs. Europe in a CI approach Europe: –Tensions and contradictions in European media & cultural policy still exists: Media still nationally structured Language differences Nation-states remain the locus of identity US cultural products still dominate Global media players shape the media

15 Differences between Africa & Europe Media in Europe much more developed than in Africa Ownership structure of media in Europe much more complex than in Africa, with mergers & acquisition taking place regularly Policy priorities between Europe & Africa different. –Africa still dealing with basic communication issues such as adequate access to TV and new media –Europe’s policy issues are much more complex – broadband and other wireless technology issues, increasing convergence of communication, e-commerce. –Africa´s supranational bodies (e.g. African Union and regional economic blocs not concerned with issues of media, culture as compared to the EU.

16 The Week ahead Lecture on first theoretical approach “Structuration theory” next week on 20 September. Reminder - Gunn Enli PhD defence tomorrow (14 Sept) at Gamle Festsal. Domus Academica at 09h15

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