The Neopopular Bubble
Speculating on "the People" in Late Modern Democracy
The common critique of media- and ratings-driven politics envisions democracy falling hostage to a popularity contest. By contrast, the following book reconceives politics as a speculative Keynesian beauty contest that alienates itself from the popular audience it ceaselessly targets. Political actors unknowingly lean on collective beliefs about the popular expectations they seek to gratify, and thus do not follow popular public opinion as it is, but popular public opinion about popular public opinion.
This book unravels how collective discourses on "the popular" have taken the role of intermediary between political elites and electorates. The shift has been driven by the idea of "liquid control:" that postindustrial electorates should be reached through flexibly designed media campaigns based on a complete understanding of their media-immersed lives. Such a complex representation of popular electorates, actors have believed, cannot be secured by rigid bureaucratic parties, but has to be distilled from the collective wisdom of the crowd of consultants, pollsters, journalists and pundits commenting on the political process.
The mediatization of political representation has run a strikingly similar trajectory to the marketization of capital allocation in finance: starting from a rejection of bureaucratic control, promising a more "liquid" alternative, attempting to detect a collective wisdom (of/about "the markets" and "the people"), and ending up in self-driven spirals of collective speculation.
About the Author
"This is a very original, witty, and thoughtful book, most particularly in its development of a double critique: first, of the media industries themselves for creating and reinforcing the myths associated with media's supposed resonance with their audiences; and, second, of the academic field of media and cultural studies for not distancing themselves sufficiently from these industry myths. This is a genuinely original and rich line of analysis, which forcefully hits out against the self-fulfilling interpretative bubble in which industry and academic commentary lives. The field of media and communications—and wider cultural sociology—does not see many attempts to integrate cultural and media analysis with wider social and cultural theory of the sophistication this book offers, that has the potential to have major impact."—Nick Couldry
Other Titles in SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies
Other Titles in Media studies