Ever since studying communications became a thang, scholars have examined the influence of the media and the importance of who owns it. Now, we can moan about Murdoch, Perez Hilton and the changing nature of the media landscape until the cows come home…but all of this is rather useless without dunking it into a toasty, smooth cup of delectable theory. O.K, so I’m trying to appeal to your senses here but I get it, theory’s a bitch.
As sad as it sounds, I do have a favourite – political economy. Big wig Vincent Mosco explains…
“Political economy is the study of the social relations, particularly the power relations, that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources, including communication resources”
In simple terms, we’re talking about power here. And I don’t just mean the Julius Caesar, get way ahead of yourself and end up stabbed to death, kind. Political economists are interested in how power operates. Why does the big guy get everything he wants while the little guys are screaming in protest?
We can use the theory of political economy to examine media and communication – “what it means to be a producer, distributor, or consumer” (cheers Vincent).
Today, many people think that new media will create world peace, gender equality and racial harmony. Yep well the same arguments were made for old technologies like the telegraph, telephone, radio and television. In fact the telephone was suppose to free women from exploitation by allowing them to run their household and participate in society!
Most political economists are skeptical of new media’s ability to smash existing power structures. So I’ll be delving into topics such as citizen journalism, clicktivism and minority voices. Please share your opinions, ask questions and challenge the hell out of me because that’s what critical thinking is for.