Brice Nixon, Ph.D.
Brice Nixon is an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University and a Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication. His research concerns the political economy of communication, media and cultural industries, digital media studies, communication history, communication policy, critical theory, and journalism studies. His research has been published in Media, Culture & Society and tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. He has also contributed chapters to the edited collections Reconsidering Value and Labour in the Digital Age, Marx and the Political Economy of Media, and Explorations in Critical Studies of Advertising. He is on the editorial board of the journal tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. He has a Ph.D. in Communication, with an emphasis in Media Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Critical Theory, from the University of Colorado Boulder. He also has an M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University. He was recently a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Studies on Media, Technologies and Internationalization (CEMTI) at the University of Paris 8.
As a Visiting Scholar, Nixon is working on a research project on the development of media and cultural industries titled, “The Long History of the ‘Attention Economy.’” The project is an examination of the way power has operated in the relationship between media industries and their audiences. It uses the framework of the “attention economy” to produce insights into how media industries have developed through various processes of attempting to channel and capitalize on audience attention. The concept of the attention economy has been used to describe the supposedly distinct functioning of the economy in a digital communication environment: an economy in which attention is said to be the key scarce resource and source of value.
This project will examine the development of media industries as forming a long history of the attention economy — a history in which treating attention as an object of control and source of value has long been the key process. In doing so, it will also draw on the recent scholarship that has examined digital media use as a kind of digital labor. But, as with the concept of the attention economy, the concept of media use as labor will be employed in an analysis of pre-digital media industries, using the specific concept of audience labor to focus on the audience activity of paying attention. The concept of audience labor is the foundation for a broader political economy of signification, which attempts to show that media industries seek to channel attention, or the consumption of meaning, in order to make it possible to capitalize on the productive, meaning-making aspect of audience labor. The first part of this project will look at the development of print media industries (books and newspapers), focusing on the development of copyright as the political-economic basis for the book industry in England and the U.S. and the development of advertising as the political-economic basis for newspapers in the U.S.
Brice Nixon is an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Media Studies and Production at Temple University and a Visiting Scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication. He is working on a research project titled, “The Long History of the ‘Attention Economy,’” which examines the development of media and cultural industries as being based on efforts to channel and capitalize on attention.