Political Economy Approach as Complementary to Cultural Studies Approach in the Study of Contemporary Mass Media
In contemporary communication scholarship, political economy and cultural studies approaches to the analysis of the mass media have often been at loggerheads. As a reaction to the reductionism and economism of the political economy approach,for the last several years, the cultural studies approach has madeaudience agency and, hence, audience reception study the central focus in its critique of the mass media, thus making convergence between the two approaches more difficult. By laying out the locus of the difference between the two approaches and the merit of the
political economy approach in the analysis of the mass media, this theoretical paper stresses the need for cultural studies scholars to go beyond using the shortcomings of the political economy approach as an excuse for not seriously engaging in a consistent and meaningful articulation of political economy with cultural studies. This paper calls for the convergence of the two approaches through the adoption of Kellner’s ‘multiperspectival’ approach for a better and more comprehensive understanding of the way the mass media works in contemporary society.
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