The Media & Communications in Australia

By Stuart Cunningham; Graeme Turner | Go to book overview

4
Policy
Stuart Cunningham and Terry Flew

WHERE DOES THE POLICY APPROACH SIT WITHIN MEDIA AND
COMMUNICATION STUDIES?

The policy approach in media and communication studies draws on critical conflict models derived from neo-Marxist political economy (see Chapter 3), as well as the fields of public administration, policy studies, politics and government. Its approach to policy is largely derived from elite theory in political science, and it is also strongly engaged with applied neo-classical economics. Most of the explanatory power and the dynamic tensions in the policy approach can be sheeted home to straddling these traditions, which can see students studying everything from technical policy handbooks (e.g. Bridgman and Davis 2000) through to racy critiques of unbridled deal-making and the power of media tycoons (e.g. Westfield 2000). (A detailed, alternative perspective on approaches in Australian policy studies is found in Pearce 2000.)

Media and communication studies has always possessed an interest in questions of policy. That interest has often been grounded in normative assessments of what policy should do, and radical critiques of its actual practice. Such normative assumptions might include independence of media outlets; broad community access to media; diversity of media content; objectivity of media content (especially in the area of news); promotion of social solidarity and cohesion; cultural pluralism; and the promotion of quality media (see McQuail 1998). This end of the spectrum is grounded in neo-Marxist political economy, which has for the most part explored questions of policy in order to demonstrate the complicity between governments and regulatory agencies with the dominant economic interests in the media, as part of a larger project of establishing the functional (if at times contradictory) role of the state in the management and reproduction of Australia's capitalist society and economy (see

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The Media & Communications in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Contributors xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Part One - Introduction *
  • 1 - The Media and Communications in Australia Today 3
  • Part Two - Approaches *
  • 2 - Media and Communications: Theoretical Traditions 23
  • 3 - Political Economy and News 35
  • 4 - Policy 48
  • 5 - Textual Analysis 62
  • 6 - Representation 72
  • 7 - Audiences 85
  • Part Three - Industries *
  • 8 - The Press 101
  • Notes 115
  • 9 - Telecommunications and the New Economy 117
  • 10 - Radio 133
  • 11 - Film and Video 152
  • 12 - Television and Pay TV 173
  • Notes 186
  • 13 - Magazines 188
  • Notes 199
  • 14 - Advertising 200
  • 15 - Public Relations 217
  • 16 - Popular Music 226
  • 17 - The Internet and Online Communication 244
  • 18 - Video and Computer Gaming 258
  • Part Four - Issues *
  • 19 - Media Ethics After ‘Cash for Comment’ 277
  • 20 - New Media and New Audiences 293
  • 21 - Youth Media 304
  • 22 - The Future of Journalism 320
  • 23 - The Future of Public Broadcasting 330
  • Reference 344
  • Index 370
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