In the early part of the 20th century, state and corporate propagandists used the mass media to promote the valor and rightness of ascending U.S. hegemony on the global stage. Critics who challenged these practices of mass persuasion were quickly discredited by the emergent field of communication research - a field explicitly attempting to measure and thereby improve the efficacy of media messages.
Three strains of critical cultural and media theory were especially engaged with the continued critique of the role of commodified, industrially produced, mass distributed culture- the Cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School, the Cultural Materialism and active audiences of Cultural Studies, and Critical Political Economy of Communication. This book examines these three paradigms, illustrating the major tensions and points of agreement between them, particularly in relation to the dominant paradigms of administrative social science research and media ecology within communication and media studies more broadly.
From the perspective of the emergent cultural environment, Hegemony, American Mass Media and Cultural Studies argues that the original points of disagreement between these paradigms appear less contradictory than before. In doing so it offers a new theoretical toolkit for those seeking to understand the current struggles for a more just, more democratic media, culture, and society.
1. Valorizing Hegemony: American Mass Media, Intellectual Property, and the Economic Value of the Ideological State Apparatuses / 2. A Slightly Deeper Time of the Media: Culture and the Nineteenth-Century Struggle for Hegemony / 3. When Shakespeare Became Black(face) and Christmas Became White: Race, Class, and Valorization before the Commodification of Consciousness / 4. Administration and/of Culture: The Incorporation of Media Culture and the Critique of the Frankfurt School and Political Economy of Communication / 5. The Work of Meaning and the Meaning of Work: Cultural Studies and the Discovery of Audience Labor / 6. Culture Industry 2.0: Properties of Cultural Production and the Value of Commodified Sociality
Johnson Andrews’s book is a refreshing and commendable addition to recent work on cultural production.
Clearly written and forcefully argued, Andrews’ book brings together research across the full range of critical thought to deepen holistic thinking about the ownership and control of media, entertainment and intellectual property; full of essential insights into overcoming the political economy/cultural studies divide.
Hegemony, Mass Media and Cultural Studies offers a needed and welcome engagement with three critical paradigms in media studies—the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, early British Cultural Studies, and the Political Economy of Communication—that aims to provide a compelling, usable theoretical synthesis for contemporary media scholars and students. Rigorously interdisciplinary, historically grounded, methodologically creative and theoretically sophisticated, Sean Johnson Andrews’ book is a prominent intervention in the field.
Sean Johnson Andrews is one of those exceedingly rare critics and commentators who is equally alert to the meaning and the economics of popular culture. He skillfully navigates the foggy waterways where audiences, institutions, and texts collide. Bravo!
The bulk of the text offers a compelling investigation into the corporate control of commodified culture … Andrews is at his best when describing specific histories that support his overall claims regarding hegemony and cultural meaning making.
Andrew Wood, Lateral
Sean Johnson Andrews is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Columbia College Chicago. He received his PhD in Cultural Studies from George Mason University. His research and teaching centers on media and cultural studies, globalization, and the relationship between law and culture. His co-authored anthology 'Cultural Studies and the 'Juridical Turn'' was published by Routledge in 2016. His next book The Cultural Production of Intellectual Property Rights will be published by Temple University Press.