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Communication Studies
COMM 2301
Kirsten Kozolanka

th COMM 2301 A: November 26 Missed first 4 slides Commodification vs the commons • commodification : the [production of a good or services for profit • the commons: communal and collective spaces open to all • over time the commons continued to be commodified - cuts public services and changes for use of remaining ones - narrows rights of citizenship • fostered and assisted by speed (technology) and politics (government) - neo-liberals (also called “New Right”) campaign on persuasive premise of society that is too large and too expensive to maintain • in short, commodification is about individualized for profit capitalism - governments sell off public assets to private business - comes down to public access vs private profit Issues in overconsumption 1 • commodification + consumption = a dual dynamic for profit - has reached into all aspects of public life: food, seeds, land, plants, animals... - i.e monsanto buying seeds and you cant plant unless you buy their seeds - produces increased profits for business/markets; what's it worth? - also “prices the priceless” : social service, human bodies, knowledge • exs. Commodifying human bodies - alex rodriguez $275 m contract with $9 m insurance (on his arm) - branding logo on one's self to represent one's self Issues in overconsumption 2 • ex. Commodifying knowledge - official knowledge dominates & is extended by the media - underfunding & privatization shifts knowledge to the private sector - teaching is done by contractors for many years or whole career in university setting (cheaper) - also shifts knowledge focus from producing knowledge to selling it - underfunded universities 'trade' in knowledge by 'selling' it - governments raise tuition to cover education costs: marketized - market knowledge is privatized, priced, packaged, profited from - students become customers; education becomes a commodity; 'value for money'... and not accountable to public - students don't notice, very much in the background but it is happening Case Study: Pricing the Priceless: Water • Council of Canadians: 'Blue Planet' campaign draws attention to global and national commodification of water resources - dwindling water resources here and globally - sees water as a human right, public trust and part of the commons - should be protected from privatization for profit - also lobbies for national water policy in Canada - initiated Blue Planet Project to achieve 'water justice' - activist project to de-commodified a natural resource - once considered free and plentiful Decommodification of Society 1 • commodfied objects answer to the market - not accountable to citizens; widens the market; weakens governments • is it possible to decommodify? - need change-oriented governments plus citizens' movements • it's a project of rebuilding the commons 1. emphasize political citizenship (lobbying politicians) 2. reaffirm social citizenship rights (all citizens, democratic dialogue) 3. participate in economy for economic citizenship • goals of decommodification - not to dismantle markets, but to extend democratic authority & re-orient society away from producing commodities for profit - decommodification also suggests that less commodification would open up opportunities form democratic communication & dialogue - air above plaza (rockfeller) is owned Decommodifcation of Society 2 (uzelman reading) • a different vehicle to reclaim democratic communication : alternative media • alternative media e
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