Globalisation and media: do twentieth-century concepts remain relevant?

Lynette Gorman

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Abstract

'Historical understanding of the emergence of modern media provides a basis for envisaging alternatives in a commercialized, globalized era': on the eve of 'September 11' a colleague and I concluded a book on media and society in the twentieth century with these words. This paper asks, five years on and particularly in the context of recent literature on the media and twenty-first-century terrorism, if the concepts we had in mind remain relevant. Further into the post-Cold War era, with 'the war on terror[ism]' emphasizing Western-Islamic difference, with continuing rapid changes in media and communication (spread of Internet use, new forms of media and of convergence), the paper considers various claims in the light of the history of media in the twentieth century:that 'history is accelerated' because of changing media and communication technologies;that in the 'war against terrorism' media have been conscripted to patriotic, nationalist causes, in the process abandoning traditional journalistic values;that there is a 'symbiotic' relationship between media and terrorism;that a cluster of developments ' the decline in public service broadcasting, concentration of media ownership, the dominance of global media corporations and of commercial imperatives ' has had considerable impact on the extent to which the public are well informed, especially on international affairs;that the role of media in war has changed because of technological developments;that the advent of non-Western global media has significantly altered the international 'mediascape'.A major aim is to suggest how the history of mass media over the past 100 years might inform our interpretation of contemporary trends such as globalization as we consider history as a guide to the new international order and 'the competition of nations'.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalForum on Public Policy: a journal of the Oxford Round Table
Volume7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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