Industry & Institution: Political Economy

New media and photography theory 2013

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Week one concentrated on the concept of political economy, which has been described as “The study of social relations and power relations that mutually constitute the production, distribution and consumption of resources” (Long and Wall 2012:490). This approach is one way of justifying and explaining the formalities carried out within the media and the influences that they have over media products. Political economy has been challenged by other concepts such as cultural studies.

Larger companies are said to create products suitable for a mass audience to achieve profit maximisation (Long and Wall 2012:176). As a result, they become potential power figures and could hold large influence over the factors of production, distribution and consumption. Long and Wall cover this, explaining how the smaller firms are regularly disadvantaged by the domination of larger companies (Long and Wall 2012:179). Natalie Fenton supports this by saying that power figures within the media have the ability to sustain or extend that power successfully, and by any means, through their high position and wealth (Fenton, N:13). Once they have positioned themselves close the market’s geographic core they can then be readily available to a larger audience. (Hotelling in Long and Wall 2012:176)

It can be said that Google is a prime example of this as it has monopoly over the search engine industry and other industries. It has few competitors in Yahoo and Bing and controls a large percentage of its media sector. Size is said to give advantage, through domination (Long and Wall 2012:179), and conglomerates such as Google will most likely out-compete other smaller firms. Janet Lowe agrees “Google appears to be an unstoppable online giant, capable of growing as fast as the internet grows. On a corporate level, Google challenges everyone remotely near it.”(Lowe, J 2009:262)

To research political economy in more detail, I would conduct an organisational study on Google. My primary focus would be the head office team, mapping out their roles and delegation of company plans. I would aim to analyse how they are tackling competitors and keeping their company strategy at its peak and make a report on my findings.

References:

Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context (2nd Edition), London:Pearson.

Bridging the Mythical Divide: Political Economy and Cultural Studies Approaches to the Analysis of the Media. Fenton.N

Lowe, J (2009). Google Speaks: Secrets of the world’s greatest billionaire entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. New Jersery: John Wiley & Sons Inc. p262.

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