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Media : the cultural industry

#hegemony #pec #critical_theory

Akshay Razdan
IIMC Aizawl
1. Hegemony
a. Cultural hegemony
b. Americanisation
c. Media Hegemony
2. Political Economy

Contents a.

Political Economy of
Rupert Murdoch
c. Critique of PEC
3. Critical Theory
a. Critical theory in Mass Comm
b. Wikileaks
4. Counter Hegemony
Media is the ‘Opiate’
Film: Equilibrium (2002) A dystopian world where human emotions are
prohibited, and suppressed by compulsory
Director: Kurt Wimmer doses of an ‘opiate’ resulting in uniform,
complacent society totally controlled by the
Cast: Christian Bale, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs

The totalitarian regime, thus, disassociates an

individual completely from his profound
existence as an earthly being.
Political, economic, or military
predominance or control of one
state over others.
Greek: ἡγεμονία hēgemonía, The dominant state is known as the
"leadership, rule" hegemon.
America: The Hegemon
To maintain Global Order, to ensure
To stability and prosperity in a liberal
A Hegemon is world economy, a leadership is
not exactly evil ? Hegemonic state is characterised by
control of economic and military
That’s why we go to vote, and
resources, that shapes the
choose someone to rule over us.
preferences and actions of other
So what if US emerged as the dominant economic,
political, and technological power after World

America is the War II. (still continues to be..)

US became the postwar home of the United

hegemon? Nations, the International Monetary Fund and

the World Bank.

And, of course, the United States had the

who else has the muscle and the bomb.
When the Soviet Union finally disintegrated in
1991, American hegemony was complete.
In Marxist philosophy, cultural hegemony is the

Cultural domination of a culturally diverse society by

the ruling class who manipulate the culture of
that society—the beliefs, explanations,

hegemony perceptions, values, and mores—so that their

imposed, ruling-class worldview becomes the
accepted cultural norm; the universally valid
dominant ideology, which justifies the social,
political, and economic status quo as natural
and inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for
everyone, rather than as artificial social
constructs that benefit only the ruling class.
Founding member and one-time leader of the
Communist Party of Italy

Imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist


Gramsci's prosecutor stated, "For twenty

years we must stop this brain from

Less than 5 ft in height, because of a spine


Prison Notebooks
He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000
pages of history and analysis during his Antonio Gramsci
imprisonment. (1891-1937)

The notebooks were smuggled out of prison

in the 1930s.
American culture: most widely exported.

Films, TV shows, taste, brands are overwhelming the traditional culture of other

Fear: One day people will quit their customary food and eat out at McD.

The world is learning to be destructively, mindlessly capitalistic and individualistic.

What’s not wrong.

They are not snatching

other’s food.

They are simply good at


You don’t know
where they getchu
They ain’t doin’ no charity. They
are runnin’ a business.

But they aren’t replacing your

food, clothing, rap music, lots n
lots of stuff …. for FREE.

You pay your money to them.

You fool. Tch tch.

Media hegemony

Media hegemony means the

dominance of a certain aspects of
life and thoughts by penetrating
dominant culture and values in
social life.

“Media hegemony served as a

crucial shaper of culture, values and
ideology of society”
(Altheide, 1984)
Media favours the dominant
“The products of the media contain messages that convey the nature of society,
the nature of relation of production within the media and the domain of institutions
and social processes.

“Thus it is crucial to decode media to figure out the latent capitalist ideology within
the products of the media, and more importantly to realize the role of the media as
tools to produce merchandise in a late capitalist economic order.”

- Golding, 1979
Influence on news reporting
The socialization of reporters including guidance, work norms and orientations will be greatly influenced by
the dominant ideology. - Mueller, 1973

And some basic values, norms they share are influenced by ideology as it is hard to be independent from
the culture that the dominant class shapes. - Gans, 1979

It is journalists that can unconsciously facilitate the ideological hegemony by the means of using using
cultural categories and symbols. - Chaney, 1981

Then, reporters are inclined to choose and report those issues that are favorable to the domain ideology
and the status quo. By so doing, it is harmful for social changes by diffusing those conservative news
reports to the public. - Golding, 1981

Media hegemony is a powerful forth that can influence and shape social values and life in an intangible way
to reach consensus of the public which are supportive of the dominant class
Malcolm X

African-American Muslim minister and human

rights activist.
Advocate for the rights of blacks

On February 21, 1965, he was assassinated by

three members of the Nation of Islam.
BJP’s hegemonic power

“Hegemonic does not just mean

powerful. Hegemony is power with
legitimacy. If the BJP is hegemonic
today, it is so because its brute
power enjoys popular

Yogendra Yadav
Political activist and psephologist, and
founder of Swaraj Abhiyan
Political economy
In current trends,
“Political economy most commonly refers to interdisciplinary studies drawing
upon economics, sociology, and political science in explaining how political
institutions, the political environment, and the economic system — capitalist,
socialist, communist, or mixed — influence each other.”

- The Oxford Handbook of Political economy (Weingast, Barry, Whitman)

One hand washes the other..


Media Hegemony
Political economy of communications

“Media sectors are responsible for the generation of sizeable revenues, these
industries are crucially involved in the production and circulation of symbolic
goods and services - products that- products that unlike toothpaste and biscuits,
have the capacity to influence the choices that we take regarding life’s small and
large quandaries- be it the brand of milk that we buy, the investments that we
make or our understanding of the rightness or wrongness of the war in Iraq..”

Political Economy of Communications in India: The Good, Bad and the Ugly
Pradip N. Thomas, Associate Professor, University of Queensland (Australia)
Political economy of communications
Media ownership: Concentration of ownership in media industries as a result of
convergence and media conglomeration under neoliberal economics have
become a concern for media diversity and democratic discourse.

Support mechanisms: Advertising, marketing, subscription, social media, and

crowdfunding revenues are examples of economic support for media
organizations. Such mechanisms influence what types of content are published
or not published, the nature of the commodity (content vs. the audience vs.

Government policy: Policy regulates media and its economics in terms of

ownership, affecting how media industries operate as well as the role of media in

- Understanding Media Industries, Havens and Timothy (2002)

Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and CEO, News
Corporation, 21st Century Fox

Net Worth : US$ 13.1 Bn

Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and CEO, News
Corporation, 21st Century Fox

“News Corporation has remained a

steady supporter of all causes
conservative- from the war in Iraq to
right wing politics.”

Media has played a vital role in

reinforcing and legitimising capitalism
and mainstream politics.
Critique of Political Economy

economy Hegemony


Karl Marx
Theo al
Critique of Political Economy

His main point of criticism of

political economy is that it
fetishizes capitalism; its thinkers
“confine themselves to
systematizing in a pedantic way,
and proclaiming for everlasting
truths, the banal and complacent
notions held by the bourgeois
agents of production about their
own world, which is to them the
best possible one” Karl Marx
Critique of the Political Horst Holzer and Knoche distinguish
Economy of Communication four functions of the media in

1. Capital accumulation in the media industry;

The moral philosophy of PEC 2. Advertising, publication relations, and sales

dictates it to often criticize promotion for other industries

capitalism for its effect on media 3. Legitimization of domination and ideological

and democracy, which originates manipulation
from the critical theory works of 4. Reproduction, regeneration, and
Karl Marx. qualification of labor power.
Prison Notebooks

Capitalism, Gramsci suggested,

maintained control not just through
violence and political and economic
coercion, but also ideologically, through
a hegemonic culture in which the
values of the bourgeoisie became the
'common sense' values of all. Thus a
consensus culture developed in which
people in the working-class identified
their own good with the good of the
bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the Antonio Gramsci
status quo rather than revolting. (1891-1937)
Critical Theory Critical theory is a school of thought
that stresses the reflective
assessment and critique of society
and culture by applying knowledge
from the social sciences and the

Critical theory as a general term

means theories that are critical of
capitalism and domination.
Critical Theory in mass Critical Theory as a more specific term means
communication the work of the Frankfurt School, and
particularly of Theodor W. Adorno, Max
Horkheimer, Jürgen Habermas, and Herbert
Marcuse. Its starting point is the work of Karl

If we assume that information, media,

communication, culture, and technology play
an important role in contemporary capitalism,
then the critique of these phenomena in
contemporary society becomes one of the
tasks of a critical theory of society.
WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks,[6]
and classified media provided by anonymous sources.

Initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organisation Sunshine Press claims a database of 10 million
documents in 10 years since its launch.

Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder, editor-in-chief,
and director.
Wikileaks: Liberalism or Socialism?
Wikileaks: Liberalism or Socialism?
Yochai Benkler and Manuel Castells, who are two of the primary techno-optimistic
Internet scholars

It wants, by leaking official documents, to make government power transparent, to watch

governments, and to advance the establishment of open governments.

Wikileaks as an organisation has both aspects of Liberalism and Socialism.

An alternative medium like WikiLeaks is less likely to be recognized, read, and mastered by everyday
The New York Times #121 The Guardian #146 Der Spiegel Online - WikiLeaks #12,267

“The unequal media and communication power structures characteristic of the capitalist media
system make this difficult and thereby create the risk that leaked documents published by WikiLeaks
willbe censored, distorted, or ignored. Changing this situation will require a struggle to give more
economic,political, and attention power to alternative media”.