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.

Media and the Amplification of Neoliberal Values

Media and the amplification of neoliberal values

The individualism of self-realization … has … become an instrument of economic development, spreading standardization and making lives into fiction. (Axel Honneth)1

We no longer had … the time or the capability to be thorough enough to explain to ourselves, to Parliament and the public just what we were attempting, and therefore to make reasonably sure what was practical and would work. (Christopher Foster)2

So far we have tracked the contemporary crisis of voice in the principles of neoliberal economics and in the multiple ways that neoliberal doctrine has become embedded in democratic politics. I have concentrated on neoliberal economics’ denial of voice as a value and the contradictions of democratic political systems organized ...

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