Political Economy

Authored by: Vincent Mosco

The Routledge Companion to Global Popular Culture

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415641470
eBook ISBN: 9780203081846
Adobe ISBN: 9781136175961


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Political economy is the study of the social relations—particularly the power relations—that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources, including communication resources (Mosco 2009). This formulation has a certain practical value because it calls attention to how the communication business operates; for example, how communications products move through a chain of producers such as a Hollywood film studio, to wholesalers, retailers, and, finally to consumers, whose purchases, downloads, and attention are fed back into new processes of production. A more general and ambitious definition of political economy is the study of control and survival in social life. Control refers specifically to the internal organization of social group members and the process of adapting to change. Survival means how people produce what is needed for social reproduction and continuity. Control processes are broadly political, in that they constitute the social organization of relationships within a community and survival processes are mainly economic, because they concern production and reproduction.

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