Article: Reducing the Difference between Citizens and Consumers

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Here’s an early article (from 2007) on Ofcom’s and New Labour’s strategic use of discourse in media regulation: ‘Reducing the Difference between Citizens and Consumers: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Communications White Paper 2000’, Networking Knowledge (1.2) [Open Access]

Abstract: By conducting a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) of the Communications White Paper 2000, this article demonstrates the processes by which the government has socially and discursively reconstructed the public service ethos of broadcasting and the relations between citizenship and consumerism. Focussing on the occurrences of the citizen- and consumer-signifiers, the analysis confirms the claims of critical social theorists that there has been a shift in the government’s conception of the public from citizens to consumers. However, by adopting a cross-disciplinary methodology to the analysis of the texts, the complex processes and tensions involved in this shift can be made manifest, and the ways in which the differences between public and private oppositions are rhetorically reduced – so that the consumer becomes an active agent, able to act collectively, while the citizen becomes a passive individual – can be demonstrated.

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