In this interview, Terry Flew discusses the continued relevance of the nation-state and national media systems in an era of globalization, and the need for cross-national comparative research in media studies. He also discusses the benefits of the concepts of ‘voice’ and ‘participation’ over ‘citizenship’ for evaluating media systems, and criticises the overblown and dismissive use of ‘neoliberalism’ as a rhetorical flourish, in favour of developing it as an analytical concept grounded in empirical evidence. Drawing on Foucault’s work on both Weber and neoliberalism, Flew argues, helps us recognise the need for comparative work on institutions and national systems of government.
Available open access here: http://ojs.meccsa.org.uk/index.php/netknow/article/view/467
This brief rapid response article considers the French media framing of the Charlie Hebdo attack in terms of ‘Republican values’ such as free speech, and critiques the post-political and moralistic reduction of debate to ‘right and wrong’ arguments, as well as the fetishisation of the right to offend and the depoliticisation of the right to be offended.
Published in Sociological Research Online (20.3 August 2015): http://www.socresonline.org.uk/20/3/3.html
N.B. This article is available free of charge to private individuals using a commercial IP address. However, for institutions such as universities, an annual subscription to the journal is required to gain access. An Open Access version will also be available on this site after an embargo of one year.
Henry A. Giroux, whose book Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education came out earlier this year, kindly agreed to answer some questions I had for him on neoliberalism, the public university and the role of the public intellectual in resisting, as well as critiquing, the neoliberalisation of academic life.
Here’s my article ‘Broadcasting and the Public Sphere: Problematising Citizens, Consumers and Neoliberalism’, published in Media, Culture & Society (36.5) in July 2014.
Abstract: Literature on broadcasting regulation in the UK often presents a narrative of decline, from an ethos of public service and citizenship to a neoliberal faith in market logic and the sovereign consumer that undermines the public sphere. Much of this discussion is weakened, however, by a lack of engagement with citizenship and consumption, and the reduction to unitary oppositions of what are actually protean distinctions. This weakness in the literature is particularly problematic when it comes to analysing contemporary changes unreflexively as ‘neoliberal’, because neoliberalism cannot be reduced to the passing of power from the state to the market, or to a simple process of privatisation or individualisation. Rather, neoliberalism involves the changing governmental relation between state and market, and between citizens and consumers. Consequently, engagement with theoretical debates on citizenship, consumption and neoliberalism will be recommended to provide a more sophisticated reading of broadcasting as a public sphere.
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.