POLITICAL ECONOMY OF MEDIA

DUE DATES
Proposal and Annotated Bibliography
5% of final grade Week 4, September 30 **No extensions**
Proposal Length: 1 page, double-spaced PLUS bibliography
Final Paper
30% of final grade Week 11, November 25
Paper Length: 8 pages, double-spaced PLUS bibliography
** You may take a one week extension and hand it in Week 12, Dec. 2. If you do your
assignment will be graded with minimal comments.
This assignment is a standard academic essay. Your papers are expected to make use of original
research, develop an original insight or perspective, and put forth an original and compelling
argument.
Instructions for Research Proposal and Annotated Bibliography
Your proposal should do three basic things: (1) provide a clear outline of your proposed
research question, (2) indicate why it is a significant and worthy topic of investigation, and (3)
outline how you intend to organize and carry out your investigation by introducing the
examples or case studies you will use to illustrate your argument.
Your annotated bibliography should have 2 scholarly sources, none of which are assigned as
course readings (you can use course readings as sources for your final paper, but NOT for the
proposal). Each bibliographic entry should provide (1) a very brief summary of the source, and
(2) a brief description of how it is appropriate to your chosen research topic.
Suggested Research Paper Titles
A good way of thinking about how to approach writing a paper for this course is to start with a
working title. This will help focus your thinking and guide the organization of your research
and writing. The more specific the title, the more focused your approach will be. The more
focused your approach, the easier it will be to research and write a consistent, compelling
paper.
You may also develop and propose your own topic. If you wish to do this, feel free to consult
with me before either part of the assignment is due.
1) “The Political Economy of (REGION) (MEDIUM)” (for e.g., “The Political Economy of
Indian Film Production”
This topic asks you to do an analysis of the contemporary condition of a given media industry
in a given area. The area you choose can be as broad (continental, for e.g.) or as narrow
(provincial or local, for e.g.) as you wish. In terms of selecting a medium, my suggestion would
be to choose a specific aspect of an industry, such as manufacturing, production, or
distribution.
2) “(Commodification OR Spatialization OR Structuration) in the History of (REGION)
(MEDIUM)” (for e.g., “Spatialization in the History of American Television Production” or
“Commodification in the History of Canadian Broadcasting”
Your paper will provide a historical analysis of an aspect of a communication medium using
one of Mosco’s three processes of political economy. Use the process to assess how the
medium/industry has changed over time. What are the important features of these changes?
What sort of actions have facilitated these changes?
3) “Political Economy and Alternative (MEDIUM) in (REGION)” (for e.g., “Political Economy
and Alternative Television in Canada”)
Using political economy as an analytical framework, discuss and analyse the need for, as well
as the challenges faced, by the alternative medium of your choice.
4) “Political Economy and the Future of (MEDIUM)” (for e.g., “Political Economy and the
Future of Social Media”
The historical focus of political economic analysis makes it quite useful as a means of
speculating about future developments in a given industry. This paper will establish a solid
profile of a given industry in order to develop an argument about possible, or even probable,
developments it will undergo.
5) “The Political Economy of Labour in (REGION) (MEDIUM)” (for e.g. “The Political
Economy of Labour in American Video Game Publishing”
Mosco identifies labour, and the specific conditions of creative labour, as one of the key issues
for those doing political economy of media. Your task here will be to analyze such conditions
of labour for a given media industry. What are the key issues or challenges faced by workers in
your chosen industry? How have the conditions of labour changed over time? What have been
the driving forces behind such changes?
6) “Political Economy, Government Policy and the Transformation of (REGION) (MEDIUM)”
(for e.g., “Political Economy, Government Policy, and the Transformation of Chinese Mobile
Telecommunication”)
Government activity is one of the prime movers behind shifts in the political economy of many
media and communication industries. Your paper will analyze a specific example of a
government policy (or policies) that has (or have) inaugurated a major shift in the regional
industry of your choice. Over what period did this shift occur? How did this policy come
about? Why then? What were the driving forces behind it? What were the results of such a shift
in policy? Who benefitted? Who lost?

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