Culture and Democracy
This book is about democracy and communication. The media and popular culture are often identified as bearing primary responsibility for the decline of active citizenship and the decay of democratic institutions. Media culture is charged with eroding the capacity of citizens to trust in public institutions and with encouraging widespread civic disengagement. In Culture and Democracy, Clive Barnett critically evaluates the conceptual underpinnings of such widespread judgements. In doing so he provides an innovative and theoretically informed exploration of the interface between culture, political economy, and public life. Through a triangulation of the ideas of Derrida, Foucault, and Habermas, he argues that deconstruction, poststructuralism, and critical theory converge around shared concerns for the possibilities of democratic public life in a globalising age. Drawing on cultural and media studies, human geography, political philosophy and social theory, and research on media policy and politics in the United States, Europe and South Africa, he demonstrates the indispensability of concepts of the public sphere, representation, and spatiality to the analysis of the politics of cultural democratisation. This book combines critical conceptualisation with policy analysis, and connects cultural studies to normative political theory. Clive Barnett demonstrates the importance of developing theoretical arguments in connection with case studies for understanding the contemporary interactions between media, culture and democracy.