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  • Political Communication in the Public Sphere

    Christian Fuchs

    Chapter from the book: Fuchs, C. 2020. Communication and Capitalism: A Critical Theory.


    The focus of this chapter is political communication in the public sphere. In the past decades, there has been much talk about the role of new social movements. Many liberal and conservative observers have argued that the labour movement is outdated and that new social movements have replaced the labour movement in social struggles, a view the author rejects. Instead the analysis of political communication in the public sphere poses the question as to how capitalism and domination are related. Exploitation, i.e. economic alienation, acts as a model of political and ideological alienation. In capitalist communications and society, exploitation and domination are based on the logic of accumulation. Political and ideological alienation aim to establish surpluses in authority and distinction that act as political and ideological wages. The public sphere is a realm of political communication that allows the democratic participation of all but its openness is constrained by economic, political, and cultural power asymmetries. Because capitalism depends on these, its bourgeois public sphere is necessarily limited, colonised, feudalised, and just a pseudo public sphere. Capitalist media limit the public sphere and hamper democratic communication. Public service media and critical alternative media have the potential to challenge capitalist media. But both these two models face many problems and limits and are not immune to the subsumption of communication under the logic of capitalism and domination but are still with potential for representing alternatives to capitalist communication.

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    Fuchs, C. 2020. Political Communication in the Public Sphere. In: Fuchs, C, Communication and Capitalism. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book45.h

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    Published on May 19, 2020