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.

Philosophies of Voice

Philosophies of voice

Back in Chapter One, I set out the aspects of voice as a process to which voice, as a value, is attentive. What matters is less the sonic aspect of voice (deaf people's language of signing is just as much voice, in our sense, as spoken language);1 more important is voice's role as the means whereby people give an account of the world in which they act. As such, voice is socially grounded, performed through exchange, reflexive, embodied, and dependent upon a material form.

I only hinted then at the philosophical underpinnings of this notion of voice, and its basis in an appreciation of narrative's role in human experience. I went on in later chapters to link voice to other philosophically ...

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