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Lecture 3

CMNS 240 Lecture 3: Roots of PEC: From the Culture Industry to Cultural Imperialism


Department
Communication
Course Code
CMNS 240
Professor
Enda Brophy
Lecture
3

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LECTURE RECAP: WHAT IS THE PEC
we opened by exploring capitalism as an economic system, and explored some of its
essential elements
we then looked at the emergence of pol econ in 17th century, and two contending
perspectives within it
we noted that pol econ is applied to the study of cmns and media during the 1960s
the PEC aims to understand the relationship between pol/econ power and cmns/media
in other words, pec studies the power relations that determine the production, distributional
dn consumption of media resources
pec has traditionally looked at the structures of media industries, how they work, and what
role they serve
A DRY RUN: Communicative abundance, social inequality, and the pec
pec of cmns has traditionally focused on media ownership and control
MEDIA CONTROL AND SOCIAL INEQUALITY
PEC has pointed out unequal access to media
capitalist societies very unequal
oaccess to media was restricted to elite groups (TV, TV stations, newspapers were
scarce resources, only few ppl own a television station)
the means for media production were scarce commodities, controlled by elite groups
as a result, the ruling ideas were still the ideas of the elite
many pol econ promoted media democratization and the development of alternative media
oif truth gets out, will lead to us being more equal
media activists used the internet during the 1990s to get their message out
obelieved social equality would follow
omore cmns more equality
but now cmns is increasingly ubiquitous (everywhere)
ocellphones fastest defusing form of cmns in human history
oliving in world of social abundance, not scarcity
has social inequality disappeared
onooooo
SOCIAL INEQUALITY HAS NEVER BEEN SO GREAT
US income distribution: on two occasions, the share of income captured by the richest 1 per
cent reached about a quarter of the national total the first time was in 1928, the second in 2007
the richest 1% have almost tripled their share of US national income since 1978

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in Canada, the richest 1% (less than 250 000 tax filers) capture 17% of total income, and that
share has doubled since 1970s
the ccpa includes: Canada’s elite are breaking new frontiers in income inequality
globally, about .13% of the worlds population controlled 25% of the worlds financial assets
by 2004
in 1960, the 20% of the worlds people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of
the
SLIDES
WHY HAS INEQUALITY NOT DISAPPEARED INT EH INFORMATION SOCIETY
WHAT IS THE EXPLANATION
political theorist Jodi Dean sees the rise of "communicative capitalism" as the reason for the
growing inequality
in CC, the economy increasingly depends and profits off of cmns - but inequality persists
othe more we cmn, the more economy profits
oby consuming, exploiting others around the world (sweatshops)
more cmns, produce more inequality
so do we need to take a different approach in the pec, to re examine our assumptions
do we need a pec for a world of communication abundance, not scarcity?
THE ROOTS OF THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF COMMUNICATION
before using pol econ to understand our current media environment, we need to look at the
early history or roots of pec
screening: videocracy
odocuments cultural effects of Italian pm being in power
oup until 1970s Italy had virtually public media system
ochanged when pm came to power
cmns has become industry
ocommodification of culture
orole of ideology
oaudience manipulation
THE RISE OF THE MASS COMMUNICATION SYSTEM IN NORTH AMERICA
the period between 1913-1935 is when what we could call the mass media system develops
in na
examination of this system is key to early research in the pec. the era featured
oemergence of narrative feature films and studio system
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