This book covers the key concepts central to understanding recent developments in media and communications studies. Wide-ranging in scope and accessible in style it sets out a useful, clear map of the important theories, methods, and debates.

The entries critically explore the limits of a key concept as much as the traditions that define it. They include clear definitions, are introduced within the wider context of the field and each one is fully cross-referenced, is clearly illustrated with relevant examples, and provides a guide to further reading and an index.

This book is an essential resource for students in media and communications and for those studying sociology, cultural sociology, cultural studies, and sociology of media.



We have included this concept because it is foundational to many other concepts in this book and it has also become increasingly acceptable in general parlance. For a long time, it was considered ‘too critical’ a term and so was confined mainly to Marxian usage and, within media studies, political economy-based approaches (see below). All that changed with the fall of European communism. Occasionally, capitalism has even been openly declared to be ‘cool’ (McGuigan, 2009). Its public use in phrases like ‘the future of capitalism’ has also been very noticeable since the 2008 financial crisis.

Orthodox Accounts

The avoidance of an everyday use of ‘capitalism’ relied heavily on the viability of substitute terms that acted as euphemisms for ...

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