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Regular version of the site
Master 2020/2021

Critical Political Economy of Media

Category 'Best Course for New Knowledge and Skills'
Type: Compulsory course (Critical Media Studies)
Area of studies: Media Communications
Delivered by: School of Media
When: 1 year, 2-4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Master’s programme: Критические медиаисследования
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course is focused on providing students main competences and approaches to critically analyze media structures, media power and relationship between media and empowered agents, such as policymakers, media corporations, international global organizations etc. The course is based on the political economic tradition of analysis of media and cultural industries, critic of their globalization, commercialization (commodification), (pseudo) neutrality etc. During the course we will refer to such names of scholars as Herbert Schiller, Vincent Mosco, Graham Murdock, Nicolas Garnham, Armand Mattelart, Robert McChesney, Ben Bagdikian. The course will be based on reading texts, writing essays and reflections on texts, making some politico-economic analysis of contemporary problems (such as power of social media, fake news, populist politics etc.)
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To provide students the critical reasoning in field of analysis of media structures
  • To teach students main theoretical framework in field of media domination and commodification
  • To make students able to critically assess media business, media companies in terms of their power relations
  • To provide students the political economic critique of media technologies and technological determinism
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Defines the place of critical political economy among other political economic approaches to media.
  • Makes the definition of the political economy of media
  • Able to separate critical reflects from uncritical reflections on media industries
  • Defines the role of media as symbolic power
  • Critically assess the way media affects other forms of power
  • Gives the main definition of power
  • Able to define main concepts of marxian dialectics and their relevance for media studies
  • Able to classify and define models of the media capital accumulation
  • Able to distinguish critical theory from uncritical
  • Define different approaches to critique from the Frankfurt School
  • Knows main concepts of critique from Horckheimer, Marcuse and Habermas
  • Able to use anti-commercial critique in studying media
  • Defines main risks of the pure commercialization
  • Characterizes media as public good
  • Understanding of different logics and aims of the concentration process
  • Able to analyze the concentration in cross-sectoral fields (such as telecommunications, IT, software etc.) and their power relations
  • Defines the notion of cultural imperialism
  • Identify main proponents of the positivistic vision of the media globalism (De Sola Pool, Lerner)
  • Classify different directions in cultural domination theories
  • Identify main structural peculiarity of value in cultural industries
  • Identify and classify main models of functionning
  • Distinguish between theory of cultural industries and theory of creative industries
  • To be able to critically de-construct the rhetoric on media technology
  • To be able to assess the role played by communication and media practices in producing and reproducing capitalist hegemony.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Critical political economy of media among other theories
    Critical political economy of media (CPEM) and political economy of media. Core approaches to political economy of media and the place of CPEM among them.
  • Media and power assymmetries
    How media are related to power. What does it mean media power? Critical political economy approach to the power of media.
  • Basics of the Marxist dialectics for media studies
    Notion of dialectics in marxist vision. Capital accumulation, exploitation and surplus value notions
  • Critical theory and Frankfurt School as early form of critical political economy
    Notion of critic. Critical theory. Marcuse and Adorno and their critic of capitalist dialectics. Instrumental and critical reason in Habermas theory.
  • Critical political Economy of media and critic of commodification
    Media as private and public good. Notion of commodity. Media as commodity. Audience commodity. Critique of commercial media by Robert McChesney
  • Critical political economy of media capital concentration
    Concentration critique in the debate of critical political economy. Types of the concentration. History of the concentration. Concentration of media and shrinking of pluralism.
  • Critical political economy and world media domination critique
    Notion of cultural imperialism. Herbert Schiller and cultural domination. New Media and Information Order debate and UNESCO. South/North and East/West axis
  • Theory of cultural industries
    Main origins of theory. Main economic peculiarity of cultural products. Exchange value and consumer value for media. Basic models of cultural industries and their evolution. Creative industries and their critique by critical PEM
  • Close Encounters: The Media and Communication as/and Capitalist Forms
    This course critically examines some key nodal points where media and communication practices intertwine with and are subsumed under capitalist forms such as commodities, labor and technology. We will thus be charting the tortuous territory that links socially shared meanings and value. In fact, despite an alleged recent ‘linguistic and communication’ turn, especially in the context of a Marxist-oriented political economy, such intersections have been frequently considered as theoretically problematic: while communication and media studies have been concerned with tendencies towards economic reductionism displayed by Marxist scholarship, recent Marxist sociology has feared the displacement of the primacy of the social question by ‘secondary’ level communication preoccupations, allegedly produced by a misguided postmodern sensibility. However, despite its internal tensions, by examining different modalities of articulating media/communication practices and capitalist forms, this course will offer a sample of the tremendous potential of using a media/communication-oriented political economy as a privileged and holistic perspective in order to provide a radical critique of contemporary capitalism.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Debates between political economy of media and cultural studies
  • non-blocking Reflection 1
  • non-blocking Collective discussion on power and counter power
  • non-blocking Debates on "Blindspot" in western marxism and audience commodity
  • non-blocking Reflection 2
  • non-blocking Reflection 3
  • non-blocking Reflection 4
  • non-blocking Reflection 5
  • non-blocking Reflection 6
  • non-blocking Collective discussion on critical theory
  • non-blocking collective discussion on ideologies in global media production
  • non-blocking Collective mapping of cultural industries
  • non-blocking Essay 1
  • non-blocking Essay 2
  • non-blocking Attendance
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.2 * Attendance + 0.4 * Essay 1 + 0.2 * Reflection 1 + 0.2 * Reflection 2
  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.1 * collective discussion on ideologies in global media production + 0.05 * Collective mapping of cultural industries + 0.05 * Debates on "Blindspot" in western marxism and audience commodity + 0.4 * Essay 2 + 0.1 * Reflection 3 + 0.1 * Reflection 4 + 0.1 * Reflection 5 + 0.1 * Reflection 6
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bellavoine, C., Bouquillion, P., & Wiart, L. (2018). Digital Platforms and Performing Arts: Communication of Theatrical Institutions, Audience Development, and Platform Strategies of Industrial Players.
  • Castells, M. (2013). Communication Power (Vol. 2nd edition). Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=620218
  • Cinzia Bianchi. (2015). Ferruccio Rossi-Landi: language, society and semiotics. https://doi.org/10.12977/ocula44
  • Fuchs, C. (2019). Rereading Marx in the Age of Digital Capitalism. Pluto Press.
  • Graham Murdock, & Peter Golding. (n.d.). For a Political Economy of Mass Communications.
  • Graham Murdock. (2006). Blindspots about Western Marxism. A Reply to Dallas Smythe.
  • GUY DEBORD. (2012). Society Of The Spectacle. [S.l.]: Bread and Circuses. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1149446
  • Hesmondhalgh, D., Kiely, R., & Marfleet, P. (1998). chapter 7: Globalisation and cultural imperialism: a case study of the music industry. In Globalisation & the Third World (pp. 163–183). Taylor & Francis Ltd / Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=sih&AN=17444536
  • Ithiel de Sola POOL. (1983). Technologies of Freedom. Harvard University Press.
  • Johan Galtung. (1990). Cultural Violence. Journal of Peace Research, 3, 291.
  • Liebes, T., & Katz, E. (1986). Dallas and Genesis: Primordiality and Seriality in Popular Culture.
  • Marx, K., & Engels, F. (2001). Capital : A Critique of Political Economy. Electric Book Co.
  • McChesney, R. W., & Recorded Books, I. (2015). Rich Media, Poor Democracy : Communication Politics in Dubious Times. New York: The New Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1015632
  • Nicholas Garnham, & Céline Morin. (2015). Political Economy and Cultural Studies: Reconciliation or Divorce? Réseaux, 192(4), 45–65. https://doi.org/10.3917/res.192.0045
  • Rickman, H. P. (1976). The Positivist Dispute in German Sociology (Book). British Journal of Sociology, 27(4), 509–510. https://doi.org/10.2307/590190
  • Rosalind Gill, & Andy Pratt. (n.d.). 2008 “In the social factory? Immaterial labour, precariousness and cultural work” Theory, Culture.
  • Schiller, H. I. (1993). Transnational media: Creating consumers worldwide. Journal of International Affairs, 47(1), 47. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=f5h&AN=9402082494
  • Sillito, J. R. (1989). A Gramsci Reader: Selected Writings 1916-1935. Library Journal, 114(8), 90.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Armand Mattelart, & Michael Palmer. (1993). Shaping the European Advertising Scene. Commercial free speech in search of legitimacy. Réseaux. The French Journal of Communication, 1(1), 9–26. https://doi.org/10.3406/reso.1993.3268
  • Garnham, N. (1983). Public Service versus the Market. https://doi.org/10.1093/screen/24.1.6
  • Marcuse, H. (2011). Negations: essays in critical theory. London : MayFlyBooks, 2009.
  • Nicholas Garnham, & Christian Fuchs. (2014). Revisiting the Political Economy of Communication. https://doi.org/10.31269/triplec.v12i1.553
  • Patrice Flichy. (2007). Understanding Technological Innovation. Edward Elgar Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.b.elg.eebook.12803
  • Peter Golding, & Graham Murdock. (2015). Ideology and the Mass Media: The Question of Determination. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.5BD12B07
  • Schiller, H. I. (1967). Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 23(4), 4. https://doi.org/10.1080/00963402.1967.11455050
  • Schiller, H. I. (1991). Culture, Inc : The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=169118