Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Book Chapter

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Civil Society Yearbook 2007/8: Communicative Power and Democracy

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My purpose in this chapter is to suggest a particular mode of thinking about media and global civil society: ways in which major groups that seek to mould opinion around the world interact with each other, with states and corporations, with domestic regulatory systems and with international organisations and structures. I start with an approach I developed in a book called Television, Ihe Public Sphere, and National Identity (Price 1995) and expanded in Media and Sovereignty: The Global Information Revolution and its Challenge to State Power (Price 2002). There I described the existence of a 'market for loyalties', in which large-scale competitors for power, in a shuffle for allegiances, often use the regulation of communications to organise a cartel of imagery and identity among themselves. In the retrospectively simple state centred version of a market for loyalties, government is usually not only the mechanism that allows the cartel to operate, but is often part of the cartel itself. Management of the market yields the mix of ideas and narratives employed by a dominant group or coalition to maintain power. For fulfilling that process - or attempting to do so - control over participation in the market has been, for many countries, a condition of political stability.


civil society, globalisation, communications technology, regulation



Date Posted: 10 November 2009