Television and Radio Criticism

Burkart_Political Economy - Sheva Latif

Political Economy
 In Political Economy by Patrick Burkart, he provides detailed analysis of his thesis with his not only his own research but other scholar writings. He references the “Frankfurt School” as a basis of research into media studies. I believe the author’s thesis to be in the first paragraph of the conclusion section of the article. It reads, “Critical political economy of media and communication is an enduring and ongoing critique of the capitalist practices of intellectual property creation, preservation, growth, and projection”.
Burkart divides the article into three parts. Part one is the history of political economy of communication and the origins of the concepts we understand in society today. It also cites other notable studies and influences in the field. Part two is about IPRs, intellectually property rights, and its importance in conjunction with the political economical approach in media studies. Part three, the final, touches on the globalization of political economy.
According to the author, political economy is the analysis of social conflict due to the power inequalities in media systems and industries. In support of his theory, he provides the reader with a deeper understanding by comparing critical political economy with Marxist thinking towards capitalism. Some of the main points I picked up on were political economy and its effects on digital rights activism, media ownership, concentration, copyrights and piracy. He constantly refers back to scholars Horkheimer and Adorno, who recognized the power stratifications between the audience and the industries who have significant influence and effect on them on page 126. The author used these to further back up his claims of the reality of political economy--- power.
I believe the audience of this article to be the media viewers who aren’t in charge of the capitalist decisions being made domestically, and also globally. The author builds on this idea all throughout the article without explicitly saying it. For example, in the article Burkart talks about the consistent usage of U.S. media into the European Union versus the United States’ minimal programming from European sources. I think this is very unfair to audiences across the country because you then have a limit on cultural diversity that you had no choice in. It is unbalanced when we have the bare minimum from other countries, but all of our services and content are readily available.
“The trade relationship in media and entertainment the United States and the European Union provides an example of asymmetrical interdependence of economic power in IP, where market power is shared in a lopsided trade relationship”. As an audience to media, the topics of this article left me with questions. Due to this kind of global arrangement, are we missing out? Government regulation of media to the extent of minimizing what comes in is confusing to me, as the United States has exerted censorship domestically, but rarely to the extent of what feels like international Marxism. In conclusion, Burkrat's thesis was well supported with evidence and significant details, and was very clear to the reader. 


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