Submitted by Henry
on April 10, 2009 - 9:05am
One of the most productive things to come out of the University of Virginia conference was some rapproachment between political economy (which dominates the current media reform movement) and cultural studies (which has been much more closely associated with the participatory culture paradigm). The cliche is that political economy is all structure and no agency and cultural studies is all agency and no structure. We are, as Robert McChesney suggests, at a "critical juncture" because there are structures and constraints which could be locked down, resources that can be lost, and rich potentials which are fragile. In such a time, we need to look at both agency and structure and so we need to end the theoretical conflict in favor of identifying shared goals -- working together when we can, working separately but in parallel where our goals and tactics differ, but wasting little time on squabbles on the borders between fields. I learned more from conference participants about what steps had already been taken within the media reform movement to embrace some of these same principles.