« All articles from this issue

Communication and Social Policy, Vol. 4 - 1997, No. 4

Media Policy And Citizenship: Governmentality, Participation And Policy Formation

, pages: 87-102

A major debate in Australian cultural studies in the 1990s has been the "cultural policy debate". Drawing upon theories of governmentality developed by Michel Foucault and others, there has been a move to understand cultural institutions in terms upon their relationship to the formation of citizens in modern liberal democracies. While such work can provide considerable insight into contemporary media and cultural policy processes, there are significant gaps in the Foucaultian approach, most notably its difficulties in incorporating the significance of citizenship rights to policy processes. The article explores general issues about the relationship between citizenship, participation and policy formation, and discuss their significance in light of Australian media policy debates about content regulation for commercial broadcasters, local content regulations and, more recently, censorship and the future of public broadcasting. It questions attempts to automatically equate citizenship with participation in policy processes, as well as attempts to present such participatory processes as an innately progressive alternative to bureaucratic or governmental decision-making. Instead it proposes that the relationship between expertise and participation constitutes one of the central animating dynamics of policy formation in advanced liberal political formations.

pdf icon Full text PDF | quote icon Export Reference | permalink icon

« All articles from this issue