Did Somebody Say Neoliberalism? On the Uses and Limitations of a Critical Concept in Media and Communication Studies
AbstractThis paper explores the political-economic basis and ideological effects of talk about neoliberalism with respect to media and communication studies. In response to the supposed ascendancy of the neoliberal order since the 1980s, many media and communication scholars have redirected their critical attentions from capitalism to neoliberalism. This paper tries to clarify the significance of the relatively new emphasis on neoliberalism in the discourse of media and communication studies, with particular reference to the 2011 phone hacking scandal at The News of the World. Questioning whether the discursive substitution of ‘neoliberalism’ for ‘capitalism’ offers any advances in critical purchase or explanatory power to critics of capitalist society and its media, the paper proposes that critics substitute a Marxist class analysis in place of the neoliberalism-versus-democracy framework that currently dominates in the field.
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