The Four-Leafed Clover: Political Economy as a Method of Analysis

  • Ruth Teer-Tomaselli


Political economy of the media is one of the few traditions in media studies that have drawn on both a North American and European (specifically British) heritage. It has a long and well-documented history, and over time has managed to weather periods of vibrant expansion and heavy criticism (Garnham, 2011; Hardy, 2014). The reason for this, I suspect, is that political economy is a holistic, embracing paradigm, flexible to the needs of the time while maintaining a core integrity of rigor and normative principle. Based in the heart of “Western” economics, and Eurocentric to the core, these precepts are still able to explain in large measure the specificities of local historical and current social science events. In this chapter I attempt to explore how such approaches can be used not only as a paradigm, but as a methodology to research, account for and teach media and media-related phenomena. The chapter will be illustrated with two mini-case studies taken from the southern African mediascape, one historic, one contemporary.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Teer-Tomaselli
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa

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