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    Mourning and longing: Media studies learning to let go of liberal democracy

    Fenton, Natalie and Titley, Gavan (2015) Mourning and longing: Media studies learning to let go of liberal democracy. European Journal of Communication, 30 (5). pp. 554-570. ISSN 0267-3231

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    In her essay ‘Neoliberalism and the end of liberal democracy’, Wendy Brown suggests that critical political theory needs to ‘mourn liberal democracy’ in order to develop a transformative vision of ‘the good’. The problem, as Brown outlines it, is not only that – to varying extents and in different scales across democratic states – market rationality has hollowed out representative structures and processes and organizes social life but also that ‘basic principles and institutions of democracy are becoming nothing other than ideological shells’ that nevertheless legitimate neoliberal governmentality. Brown’s concept of mourning has implications for Media Studies’ constitutive focus on publicness and political participation within the democratic nation-state. This article considers Brown’s critique in relation to the tendency in Media Studies to admit the unachievable idealism of certain ideas – particularly in relation to the public sphere and pluralism – while continuing to use them as guiding normative standards and values. The article questions how such normative ideals can provide guidance where not only the political and institutional imaginary that underpins them has changed, perhaps irrevocably, but where the continued flagging of these ideas may be implicated in the kind of ideological camouflage Brown identifies.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Capitalism; liberal democracy; neoliberalism; pluralism; public sphere;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > Media Studies
    Item ID: 11862
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Gavan Titley
    Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 17:59
    Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Communication
    Publisher: Sage
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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