For more than thirty years neoliberalism has declared that market functioning trumps all other social, political, and economic values. In this book, Nick Couldry passionately argues for voice, the effective opportunity for people to speak and be heard on what affects their lives, as the only value that can truly challenge neoliberal politics. But having voice is not enough: we need to know our voice matters. Insisting that the answer goes much deeper than simply calling for ‘more voices’, whether on the streets or in the media, Couldry presents a dazzling range of analysis from the real world of Blair and Obama to the social theory of Judith Butler and Amartya Sen.

Why Voice Matters breaks open the contradictions in neoliberal thought and shows how the mainstream media not only fails to provide the means for people to give an account of themselves, but also reinforces neoliberal values. Moving beyond the despair common to much of today's analysis, Couldry shows us a vision of a democracy based on social cooperation and offers the resources we need to build a new post-neoliberal politics.

Voice as Value

Voice as value

Human beings can give an account of themselves and of their place in the world: ‘we have no idea’, writes Paul Ricoeur, ‘what a culture would be where no one any longer knew what it meant to narrate things’.1 Treating people as if they lack that capacity is to treat them as if they were not human; the past century provides many shameful examples of just this. Voice is one word for that capacity, but having a voice is never enough. I need to know that my voice matters; indeed, the offer of effective voice is crucial to the legitimacy of modern democracies, while across economic and cultural life voice is offered in various ways. Yet we have grown used ...

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