PoliticalEconomy of Media MED 411 Term-Paper Political economy of the communication isabout, nature relations between media and communication systems with socialstructure.
That includes; ownership, support structures, government policiesthat effect media and media content. (Robert & McChesney) When IndustrialRevolution age came, world had a new perspective for living. With that newperspectives emerge in terms of economy and politics.
This leads us to twoimportant perspective occurred with Karl Marx and Adam Smith. Adam Smithapproach was suggesting a free market with limited government limitations. Thisis also known as liberal economy. Karl Marx took that idea and add his thoughtsto make a new perspective for new era. Thus, lead us to capitalism and newterms for understanding the concept like; commodity and surplus value.
Commodity basically a thing has value to others, can sell and trade and surplusvalue is a value that made by worker’s labour and goes to the owner of theworkers, the capital according to Marx. These perspectives develop in 18thand 19th century. As time pasted Marx became more and more importantfor political economy of communication and social studies.
Between 1968 and1977 there were 1537 articles about Marx and Marxism. Articles increased in1978-1987. We can tell that 1988-2007 has the most articles. (Fuchs, 2014)According to Fuchs, this can explain with multiple reasons, like the rise ofthe postmodernism in social science, “Conducting Marxist studies was not conducive for anacademic career or academic reputation in a climate of conservative backlashand commodification of academia” (Fuchs, 2014) With the help of the political economy(PE) ideology we can try to understand how other classes, sections relevantwith power and institutions.
For communication studies, PE is focusing on theeconomic power, power relations it is not examine how audiences affected. Itcan be explaining “background” of the communication sector. Help of the digitalizing is helping tomake a connected global environment.
So that the distance between two countriesare getting closer with technology. This facility makes an opportunity to someglobal wised companies to reach more people. A research take place in 2009 showthe core of communication with the help of this research, we know whatcompanies in which sector or which one isn’t. According to table, “multinational,multimedia companies (i.e. Bertelsmann, CBS, Comcast, Disney, News Corp., TimeWarner, and Viacom internet content companies (i.e.
Google, Apple, News Corp.,Comcast, and Microsoft)” (School, 2011)According toMarx, commodities can appear in a wide range. Can be physical can be cultural.A simple apple can be a commodity for its market value. As we look in cultural,pay for a movie ticket to see the movie. And in digital age, humans, audiencescan be a commodity like a movie ticket. As it is definition commodity; “a materialsubstance which can be bought or sold. “In 1977, Dallas Smythe come with aconcept or term called “audience labour” For his point of view, he claimed whenyou started watching TV show or read newspaper is audience labour.
But thispoint of view has errors. We can see that after Smythe, other political economyof communication thinkers came with different point of views but in their core “audiencelabour” was in there. (Nixon) Although when usingand consuming cultural products as an audience you help newspaper or TV channelto make money. With thetechnological developments in past few years surveillance became a high valuefor companies. Surveillance is come up with digital media. Everyone who used ainternet or a app, leave a footprint and the help of the new technologies, itwill make a cyber identity. What this person like, what is gender? Where dothis person live? This question can be answered with a little research. Butnowadays if we want to use a app or a social platform we must agree with their “agreementterms”.
So that we allow them to follow us, see what we looking at, make littlequestionnaires and gain a bonus or a cyber coin. We think we gain a bonus but companiesgain more information about us. In a way we help them to gather informationabout us. This information flow makes a junk in cyber platform and called bigdata. This means little bit information turn in to a massive volume and turninginto a global struggle.
Technology ishelping companies to make profit over audience. Sector by sector this methodcan change. For web pages, most important thing to achievement is to make aregular web traffic to their site. Regulated action give guarantee to the advertisersand investors. This means they can use this traffic information to companies tomake profits. In that case the people who access the web page regularly theybecome commodified.
Thus, they are the criterion to earn money for the site. Asan example Google has bought YouTube. Site is for watching videos but videosmaking by users and again users watch other user’s videos via YouTube. As Fuchspoints put; “the users who..
. upload or watch videos on YouTube … constitute an audience commodity thatis sold to advertisers…” (Labor in Informational Capitalism and on the Internet). And Brice Nixon hada critique to sentence; “Fuchs has missed the fact that uploading and watchingvideos on YouTube are two different kinds of productive labour from theperspective of YouTube as a digital communicative capitalist.
Users who watchvideos on YouTube are the objects of advertiser attention because it is their”work of watching” that advertisers want to direct toward watchingadvertisements. Users who upload videos to YouTube are doing the work ofcreating user-generated content. Those users and that work are not sold toadvertisers.” (Nixon)