Edited by Johannes M. Bauer and Michael Latzer
Understanding of the means of communication as a world property – a public and globally shared resource – is fundamental to how a political economist approaches the Internet. Dallas Smythe, a founder of this approach, began from this standpoint to identify how such essential resources were the subject of constant power struggles, given relentless efforts to transform a world public property into one where private ownership and control dominates. Rather than taking this as an inevitable, acceptable or desirable outcome, political economists question what is generally taken for granted by orienting the focus on the social relations, social processes and social changes – and thus the power struggles – that constitute the Internet as one of today’s most important forms of world property. This chapter begins with a definition of political economy and explains four fundamental aspects that mark a political economy approach to the Internet. It then distinguishes between historical and current variations to provide an overview of examples moving from the general to specific. This is followed by an explanation of commodification, spatialization and structuration – three social processes that are central to the field – as applied to the Internet. It concludes with a discussion of major directions and distinctive advances in a political economy approach to the Internet today.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.