• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Media Studies examines the theories, practices, and future of this fast-growing field. Editor John Downing and associate editors Denis McQuail, Philip Schlesinger, and Ellen Wartella have brought together a team of international contributors to provide a varied critical analysis of this intensely interesting field of study. The Handbook offers a comprehensive review within five interconnected areas: humanistic and social scientific approaches; global and comparative perspectives; the relation of media to economy and power; media users; and elements in the media mosaic ranging from popular music to digital technologies, from media ethics to advertising, and from Hollywood and Bollywood to alternative media.

The Political Economy of Communications
The political economy of communications
The Historical/Theoretical Foundations of Political Economy

To fully understand a political economic approach to studying media and communication, it is necessary to trace the foundations of political economy itself. (Some of this background is similar to the discussion of media economics by Alan Albarran in Chapter 14, this volume; the differences in these approaches are discussed at the end of this chapter.) The general study of political economy draws on 18th-century Scottish Enlightenment thinking and its critique in the 19th century. For Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and others, the study of economic issues was called political economy and was grounded in social theory. Smith defined political economy as the study of “wealth” (material goods) or the allocation ...

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