For a Political Economy of Mass Communications

Graham Murdock, Peter Golding


The mass media impinge upon people's lives in two very important ways. Firstly, in providing the facilities with which people occupy a considerable amount of their non-work time they command an increasing proportion of discretionary spending. Average weekly household expenditure on the media and on leisure activities is higher than on clothing or on household durables, and, in 1971, over L3,000 million was spent on the media and leisure (not even including drink, travel or catering).l Secondly, the media are the major source of information about, and explanations of, social and political processes. The mass media therefore play a key role in determining the forms of consciousness and the modes of expression and action which are made available to people. Consequently, any adequate analysis of the distribution of power and of the process of legitimation must necessarily include an analysis of the mass media.

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