Friday, September 2, 2011

A Framework For the Critical Study Of Media Industries

Timothy Havens, Amanda Lotz, and Serra Tinic assert their belief for the need of a more encompassing and grounded framework for the examination of the business of media in their article “Critical Media Industry Studies: A Research Approach”. In arguing the need of an improved framework for the critical study of media industries, Havens et al. outline the core infrastructure of three traditional approaches; the political economy approach, production of culture perspective, and Joseph Turow’s “power roles framework. While the authors find faults with all three approaches (generally due to their constricting perspectives) they believe the Turow’s “power roles” model to be the most encompassing and thusly the best model to base the evolution of the field. I agree. The Turow’s model conceptualizes the power roles found within the industries of media as “the use of resources by one organization to gain the compliance by another organization. In other words, Turow asserts a simple yet successful perspective that examines the wide array of power roles, power sharing, and cooperation that is necessary for these industries to produce and disseminate media at all levels of the media industry. Like Havens et al. I find myself applauding the all encompassing nature of the “power roles” framework while taking into account its inability to provide many theoretical tools to make conclusive arguments on the ways in which humans affect and influence the media industry. It is my belief that a framework this broad needs to serve as a foundation for the establishment of newer approaches in order to properly understand an industry that is so complex, ambivalent, contested, and contradictory.

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