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Week 4 - Political Economy

  1. Intro to the Media Fall 2016 – MACS 101
  2. Marx and Political Economy • Marx's critique of capitalism is especially important for Media Studies. He believed that the organization of a society's economic system, the base, largely determines its major institutions and cultural forms, the superstructure • In our class on Production, we start talking about ideology. Per the e-text book how can you define ideology? How is it related with Media?
  3. Zizek • Q
  4. • From this perspective, the world represented in popular music, movies, and television shows creates a false consciousness that prevents people from organizing together to improve their lives. • Some scholars have criticized these ideas from Frankfurt School. From your perspective, what can be their critique?
  5. Culture Industy Marx • “the media reproduced the ideas of the ruling capitalist class” Frankfurt School theorists • “The rationalized culture industry of the twentieth century created a uniform and thoroughly commodified mass culture that left little room for critical, dissenting points of view.”
  6. • Culture Industry: The rationalized production of media contents With its emphasis on marketability, the culture industry dispenses entirely with the “purposelessness” that was central to art's autonomy.
  7. Three Basic Elements of Contemporary Political Economic Analysis of the Media • Commodification, therefore, is the process of making something into a good that can be bought or sold. Marx argued that a fundamental process of the capitalist system was the commodification of human labor. • Discuss how sex, celebrities and childhood have been commodified. Can you give other examples like those in the etextbook?
  8. Consuming Kids • 20667/playlists/220046
  9. Three Basic Elements of Contemporary Political Economic Analysis of the Media • Spatialization is the process of overcoming the constraints of geographical space with, among other things, mass media and communication technologies. • Do you know other examples of global media?
  10. Three Basic Elements of Contemporary Political Economic Analysis of the Media • Structuration, refers to the process of creating social relations. • Last week, we talk about agency and structure. As structuration is a process, how do you think that your consumption of media has shaped your lifestyle and taste?
  11. Ownership, Concentration, Integration and Neoliberalism • Political economic analysis of the media is especially concerned with issues of ownership and control. • Per the E-text chapter on Political Economy, what is media concentration?
  12. Hollywood Film Production and Integration
  13. Hollywood Film Production and Integration • Based on the previous definitions, have you heard of any horizontal or vertical integration related to any of the six companies in the chart?
  14. Comic Book (original contents) Movie Production Distribution &Exhibition Game Production & Distribution Broadcasting
  15. Hollywood Film Production and Integration • In addition to negative economic outcomes, political economists of the media worry about negative political consequences that can result from concentration • What kind of possible threats to democracy can you imagine as a result of media concentration?
  16. • Neoliberalism overlaps with media studies in that media represent the messages that encourage people to engage in self-governmentality—that is, take care of issues on their own through the marketplace. • Per the E-text chapter on Political Economy, what is deregulation?
  17. Neoliberalism Privatization • The transfer of ownership of property or businesses from a government to a privately owned entity. Deregulation • “to open up more space for competition and thus remove the need for government regulation of oligopolies or monopolies.” (from e-text) • Revision, reduction, or elimination of laws and regulations that hinder free competition in supply of goods and services, thus allowing market forces to drive the economy.
  18. In our workshop • Find two recent news articles that discuss an example media industry concentration and answer the following questions: 1. Which companies were involved? 2. What elements of the process (production, distribution, exhibition, etc.) were merged? 3. Is this an example of horizontal and/or vertical integration? 4. What effects might this merger have on democratic goals? 5. Were labor issues discussed in the articles? If so how did they add to our understanding? If not what could labor issues have added to our understanding of these mergers?

Notas del editor

  1. The industrial aspect had long since taken over the “cultural” aspects and, since the late nineteenth century, “culture” had been co-opted by a vast capitalist profit-making machine. The result was, for Adorno, a great loss to humanity. culture was a captive of corporations that used music and dance, the performing arts, to make a profit. In order to make this profit, the culture proffered to the public had to appeal to the greatest number. The result was that “high” culture had to be supported by a small and wealthy and dedicated group of those who were educated enough to appreciate it. There was little profit in this elitist form of culture until the technology of the record player could be used to sell records to a wider audience. Mass culture, or culture for the masses, was vastly more popular and profitable. Popular culture emerged from the lower classes, from the folk, from the middle classes, but these distinctions were lost under the homogenizing impact of the industry, which needed to level out differences to sell to the greatest number of buyers. The enterprises that manufacture and promote and sell “culture” on an “industrial” scale are capitalist in nature and, in the process of selling their product, they sell capitalism and capitalist ideology as well. For example, the creation of the “star” and the “cult” of worship around the star him or herself gives rise to the illusion among the worshipers that a rise to stardom is in her or his grasp. Thus the dull truth of class division and unequal opportunity is overlaid by unrealistic hope.
  2. Make up for financial loss
  3. Reduce the initial investment, which would be required if they didn’t have the other companies.