January 1, 2017
11 tables, 2 figures
9.21 Inches (US)
6.26 Inches (US)
1.54 Pounds (US)
$105.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

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

Péter Csigó is a Hungarian sociologist researching collective speculation in the fields of popular media and democratic politics.


"This is a truly eye-opening, trailblazing new study. Péter Csigó sets the commonsensical idea of the 'mediatization' of contemporary politics in an entirely new perspective. Misinformation, miscomprehension, and misadaptation—too often downplayed as occasional lapses or mere 'work accidents' of political procedure—are revealed in this thorough, meticulously documented study as pivotal, all but defining features of the emergent politics-media tandem. Their summary effect is a self-enclosed universe conjured by that tandem and operated from within it, in a deepening separation from the daily life of targeted political subjects and media consumers. Csigó's study is a powerful insight into the mechanism of the widely noted, but still poorly understood breakdown of communication between the political elite and the society it administers."—Zygmunt Bauman

"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
Central European University Press

9789633861677 : the-neopopular-bubble-csigo
426 Pages
$105.00 USD

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