Thursday, 17 May 2012

Marxism and media ownership

According to Branston & Stafford conglomerates such as News Corporation can wield powers of censorship through their huge incomes that can be as big as a nations. An example of this would be Rupert Murdoch's intervention in 1989 to prevent the publication of a memoir by Chris Patten which was critical of the Chinese regime. He did this because he was setting up business links with the chinese at the time. Powerful figures such as Mohamed Al Fayed also have to power to sway public opinion with government-scale propaganda.
Marxist philosopher Althusser states that media (including advertising) is an Ideological State Apparatus (ISA) which maintains power at an ideological level, in peoples minds, by producing imaginary relations to power structures. It does this by naturalising assumptions and ideas which are ideological in that they manufacture and maintain consent to the existing social order.
Golding and Murdock claim that individuals who control huge portions of media such as Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch ensure that the social imagery and knowledge which is circulated through the media is mostly in their interest, and this reproduces the system of class inequalities from which it benefits.
Ideology is "knowledge that is constructed in such a way as to legitimate unequal social power relations" Williams says that Advertising is one of the most influential ideological forms in contemporary society.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engles "the class that has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it."
Judith Williamson, in Decoding Advertising, claims that advertising encourages people to buy certain things to be perceived in a certain way by creating a human bond with the product. She states that Adverts are selling us ourselves. Essentially people are associated with what they consume, not what they produce.

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