Media Policy Fetishism

  • Des Freedman Goldsmiths, University of London


Why do ordinary users have so little input into or interest in the formal decisionmaking processes that shape our media systems? This presentation suggests that we focus on the fetishism of the media policy process, understood as the loss of control over the decisionmaking arena and as the outsourcing of political agency to external forces. It focuses on both the dimensions of ‘everyday fetishism’ (its capacity to naturalize commodification processes and to reify social life) as well as its relevance to media policy in particular. It reflects on how a fetishistic policy distorts key policy principles, restricts access to policymaking arenas and mystifies the process as a whole so that it becomes a ‘spectral’ activity from which ordinary citizens are largely excluded. Des Freedman invites us to consider ways in which publics can re-connect themselves to the policy process and, in doing so, to invigorate and democratize the struggles for media justice we face today.

Acknowledgement: This podcast is an audio-recoding of a talk that took place in the University of Westminster's Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI)'s research seminar on March 11, 2015.

Author Biography

Des Freedman, Goldsmiths, University of London
Des Freedman is professor of media and communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and chair of the Media Reform Coalition. He is the author of The Contradictions of Media Power (2014) and The Politics of Media Policy (2008).
Reflections (Non Peer-Reviewed)