Friday, 7 February 2014

Reflections on Media Power: Grad Prog talk this Weds (12/2), MediaCityUK

Wednesday 12th of February, room 2.20 Media City, 4PM

External Speaker: Professor Des Freedman (Goldsmiths College, London)

Reflections on Media Power

Media power is a crucial, although often taken for granted, concept. Does it express the economic and political prowess of particular ‘media moguls’? Does it refer to the media’s capacity to modify attitudes and beliefs, transform social circumstances and exert influence over other social institutions? Does it refer to the ability of media to provide other state or corporate actors with a valuable resource to assert their own dominance? Does it point to a concentration of symbolic influence that is mobilized in quite personalized contexts or to the growth of economic blocs that are all the more significant in 21st century ‘knowledge’ and ‘information societies’? Are we to believe that the media are increasingly the locus of power or, as Castells argues, that ‘the media are not the holders of power, but they constitute by and large the space where power is decided’? As a way into thinking through some of these issues, the paper identifies four paradigms of media power. As with any conceptual model, it is filled with holes and probably fails to address all the complexities of media power. However, in thinking through different frames through which to assess the dynamics of media power, it may be a useful starting point.

Des Freedman is a professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Politics of Media Policy, co-author (with James Curran and Natalie Fenton) of Misunderstanding the Internet and co-editor (with Daya Thussu) of Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives. He is the chair of the Media Reform Coalition and is working on his new book, The Contradictions of Media Power. 

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