Media Policy Fetishism

Freedman, Des (D. J.). 2015. Media Policy Fetishism. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 32(2), pp. 96-111. ISSN 1529-5036 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Recent studies have demonstrated that media policy is not a clean, administrative, depoliticized, and nproblematically evidence-based space but instead, an ideological power field in which certain preferences are confirmed and others marginalized. In this context, this article proposes that we focus on the fetishistic character of the media policy process, understood in relation to the loss of control over the decision-making arena and the outsourcing of political agency to external forces. The article focuses on both the dimensions of “everyday fetishism” (its capacity to naturalise commodification processes and to reify social life) as well as its relevance to media policy debates concerning press freedom and the pursuit of media pluralism. It reflects on how a fetishistic policy distorts key policy principles, restricts access to policymaking arenas
and mystifies the process as a whole so that it becomes a “spectral” activity from which ordinary citizens are largely excluded. The article finally considers three key ways in which publics can re-connect themselves to the policy process and, in doing so, to invigorate and democratize the struggles for media justice we face today.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


commodity fetishism, media policy, media pluralism, elite theory, Marxism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre


9 April 2015Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

19 May 2015 16:19

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:10

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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