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Political Economy of the Media

Vincent Mosco

Subject Economics
Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies

People Marx, Karl, Mill, John Stuart

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Political economy is the study of the social relations, particularly the power relations, that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources, including communication resources (→  Media Economics ). This formulation has a certain practical value because it calls attention to how the communication business operates, for example, how communications products move through a chain of producers such as a →  Hollywood film studio, to wholesalers, retailers, and, finally consumers, whose purchases, rentals, and attention are fed back into new processes of production. A more general and ambitious definition of political economy is the study of control and survival in social life. “Control” refers specifically to the internal organization of social group members and the process of adapting to change. “Survival” means how people produce what is needed for social reproduction and continuity. Control processes are broadly political, in that they constitute the social organization of relationships within a community, and survival processes are mainly economic, because they concern processes of production and reproduction. Political economy has consistently placed in the foreground the goal of understanding social change and historical transformation. For classical political economists of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, such as Adam Smith, David ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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