Cosmopolitanism as Conformity and Contestation: the mainstream press and radical politics

Fenton, Natalie. 2011. Cosmopolitanism as Conformity and Contestation: the mainstream press and radical politics. Journalism Studies, 14(2), pp. 172-186. ISSN 1461-670X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this paper I consider the concept of cosmopolitanism in relation to two types of communication systems: the mainstream press and alternative networked communications of new social movements. Through the example of the hacking scandal, the paper discusses how the cosmopolitan ethics of the ‘freedom of the press’ have become distorted by a thoroughly commercialized tabloid media, to mean little more than freedom of the market to do as it pleases. This is presented as a form of cosmopolitan capitalism via a communication system that is part of a global economy and one that requires new communication policies in order to preserve and promote democratic values over consumerist ones. The paper then turns to an entirely different form of communications online that seek to establish cosmopolitan solidarity via forms of political democracy that rest on the principle of contestation. The paper suggests that cosmopolitanism invites universalist assumptions that at once deny the particularities of time and space while also being susceptible to the particular hegemonic order of the day and the balances of power in any given context. It is, therefore, always both conformist and contestatory, universal and particular. However, it is through contestation that cosmopolitanism can truly flourish.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Research Office > REF2014
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies > Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre


April 2011Submitted

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Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2012 14:17

Last Modified:

27 Feb 2019 12:16

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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