Transformations in Media, Culture and Economy
Workaround: In current version of Panels 3.8, it seems this body field needs to be populated in order for title above to appear. This note is hidden by custom CSS style. Jack Latimer.
This theme examines the role of the media as key catalysts of cultural, economic and social change. Such research has become more urgent as claims about the media's capacity to bring about change have become increasingly overblown, speculative, value-laden and contradictory. Some theorists, for example, hold the media responsible for all manner of social ills: increasing tendencies towards individualisation, privatisation and fragmentation. Others argue that the media promote community, democratisation and participation. Some believe that the media industries spearhead new business models and economic practices and are key drivers of change, others that the media merely react to economic change. How are we to asses such contradictory claims about media and change? The research in this theme evaluates the available evidence. We analyse how the media are implicated in cultural, economic and social change, and offer measured assessments of the nature, pace and scope of change in national and transnational media cultures and economies.
Our approach to tackling these questions is distinctive in three ways. First, we are an interdisciplinary group of researchers (from the fields of sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, economics, accounting and business studies) who have come together to develop new ways of understanding media and change. Second, we draw on existing and new empirical evidence, both quantitative and qualitative, in order to develop new methodologies and theories of media and social and economic change. Third, we use historical and comparative analytical frameworks in order to grasp cyclical and long term processes of transformation. We also examine how change in one part of world affects change elsewhere.
Research in Theme 2 investigated (i) how media institutions (and their regulatory regimes) catalyse and respond to social, cultural and political change ii) the consequences of transnational media flows and audience practices for new forms of identity and community (iii) the impact of technological convergence on market structures and business models.
In relation to (i) We explored the regulatory and policy changes that would be necessary to improve access to high quality information via the Internet and the extent to which ideas about fairness and redistribution could/should feed into regulatory policies on inclusion. In relation to (2) research in eight UK cities with multi-ethnic news viewers, broadcasters and policy makers on their responses to the mediation of the Iraq War in 2003, led to a re-thinking of questions of political legitimacy. We found that: despite a huge increase in transnational news flows, national sources (BBC especially) is the primary source of news for the majority; the BBC World Service is especially significant for particular migrant, mobile and refugee groups, a finding that subsequently contributed to the Treasury awarding £1 million annually to the World Service to provide programmes for UK diasporic groups to promote inclusion. (3) Research on the BBC and its business model found that it struggles to deliver what key stakeholders expect due to its revenue being limited by regulation, the demand for more programming hours due to digital TV, and by the demands of regulators who act on behalf of ‘absent’ consumers. A further study highlighted the discrepancy between a vision of the broadcast producer as a creative individual in pursuit of ‘art for art’s sake’ and the realities of working in a sector where large ‘super-indies’ dominate, and smaller producers/owners become rich by selling up. Research with workers in television, music and magazine journalism revealed that high levels of insecurity, precariousness and exploitation are tolerated to pursue creative work.
Theme Convenor: Marie Gillespie
Below is a list of the projects run by this research theme. Click on the title of the project for more information.
This project explores the strategy and business model of the BBC and the reasons for its recent defensive restructuring. It starts from the position that we understand much less about the...
Below is a list of the publications produced by this research theme.