week 6 is about political economy, which is about how politics and economy affect production, distribution, consumption of resources. In media, the political economy is to study about how money and power affect mass media in their content, distribution and consumption(Marx, K. and F. Engels ,2006).
Marx thought about the idea of supreme and base, which means the forms of human activity such as politics , law , education ,culture and media are the superstructure. On the contrary, economy and the product it produced is the base. Because of the relationship between working-class and Elites, which is irrational but the society need to run in thing way. Elites get money from the working class worker, then use the money to fund culture, stabilise the society and maintain the stability of the working class subordinate. Let’s look up today’s society, what the whole society believe is ‘money, money, money’, at least in China, the society is like that. The economy is the important force for society, because the economic base decides the superstructure.
In the reading, Smythe was the first one to mentioned the media content without advertisement has a function, which it helps the media to sell “audiences” to the advertisers. In this way, the audience becomes a product when they exposed to the advertisement. When we searing things on Google, there will have the browsing history in the browser, and social media platforms will collect the cookies(the individual browsing history ) to show the advertisement on the pages when people browsing. I was so confused when I use Facebook before, there will always a white background advertisement placed products what I recently searched. Facebook do not create data, but according to the huge number of users, they create data for it when they are online. And Facebook sells these data to advertisers. This is what ‘Social media sell audiences to consumers means’.
Combine with what Marx said, media as part of the superstructure. It sells ideology, and copies or goods. However, I think media under the society that money is important than ideology. It let me understand there are no free things, even in media. Because of social media set a low entry of users, and in the network society, people have to use this to communicate with others. Selling audience to consumers is they have to do, It also let me understand there are no free media. While we are happily using social media to share our daily life, it also takes advantage of us.
1.Marx, K. and F. Engels (2006). ‘The Ruling Class and the Ruling Ideas’, in: Durham, M.G. & D. Kellner (2006), Adventures in Media and Cultural Studies, Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp.9- 12,