Center for Media at Risk Colloquium: Des Freedman, Goldsmiths, College of London

April 10, 2024 12:15pm-1:15pm
  • Annenberg School, Room 300

Capitalism and the Political Economy of Risk

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About the Talk 

Risk is often individualised – conceptualised in terms of threats to individual journalists, refusals by audience members to trust the messenger or bad choices made on the basis of disinformation. This talk focuses instead on the systemic roots of risk as the logical outcome of a set of social relations that are profoundly destabilizing and dangerous. This is not about the failures of a particular business model, the liabilities of a ‘hostile’ propaganda machine or the ethical malpractice of a specific outlet. It is rather about how capitalism, as the prevailing social system, fosters the instability, inequality and injustice that pollute our information environments and undermine the ability of, for example, journalism to hold power to account and to adequately represent publics.

The talk will provide a typography of some of the defining features of capitalism and explore how they are generative of the problems faced by both media practitioners and media audiences. It will suggest that risk is not an ‘externality’ caused by deformed politics or captured media but part of the very DNA of a social system that is fueled by competition, discrimination and violence.

About the Speaker

Des Freedman is Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Co-Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre. He is the author of books including The Politics of Media Policy (2008), The Contradictions of Media Power (2014), Misunderstanding the Internet (with James Curran and Natalie Fenton, 2016) and The Media Manifesto (with Natalie Fenton, Justin Schlosberg and Lina Dencik, 2020). He was a visiting research fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication in 2017 and is a founding member of the UK Media Reform Coalition.

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