MC423      Half Unit
Global Media Industries

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jungmo Youn


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and UCT), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is not available as an outside option.

This course is 'controlled access', meaning that there is a limit to the number of students who can be accepted. If the course is oversubscribed, offers will be made via a random ballot process, with priority given to students with the course listed on their Programme Regulations. Whilst we do our best to accommodate all requests, we cannot guarantee you a place on this course.


There are no pre-requisites for this course. Students should apply via LSE for You without submitting a statement.

Please do not email the teacher with personal expressions of interest as these are not required and do not influence who is offered a place.

Course content

The main goal of this course is to help students comprehend the theoretical frameworks of media political economy and the critical approaches to the production, circulation, and consumption of global media industries.

Locating an entity of ‘global media industries’ in the historical process of the capitalistic mode of production, this course reviews a range of theoretical developments and debates in political economy, as coevolved with the field of media political economy. In quest of theoretical frameworks for the global transformation of capital-accumulation, students are encouraged to speculate on the material conditions and mechanisms of the metamorphosis of global media sectors accompanied with the emergences of ‘new’ media platforms, digital technology, labour processes in the creative industries and intertextual forms of media commodities.

This course’s format is divided into two blocks. The first block introduces some key theoretical concepts and analytical categories proposed by a variety of theoretical strands of political economy: Lokean concepts of labour and value, Marx’s conceptual distinction of labour power, Braverman’s labour process and Burowoy’s sociological adaptation, the controversy over the form of capitalist state between the Regulation school confining it in the relative autonomy and Institutionalist destined to media ownership, young Hall’s bold Althusserian interpretation of Marx’s ‘capital-circuit’ repeated later in his Encoding/Decoding model, and Smythe’s sneaky return to mainstream economics and Jhally’s attempt to reconcile ‘media commodity’ with Marxism.

The second block, holding a comparative perspective, examines how the locality of media landscape have been articulated with or responding to the global change of political economy since the Nixon Shock in 1971. Looking at concrete media sectors such as the advertising industry, news production, and film industry in local contexts, students will explore how the global restructuring production-relation reshaped the interface between the global economic demands and the historical particularities determined in local/regional contexts. Students are encouraged to understand how such ‘contingent particularities’ are actualizing or ‘embedding’ the historical ‘necessity’ as resonating with a universal logic of the capitalistic mode of production, and furthermore to attempt to trace the localities back to the uneven primitive accumulation stage in coloniality.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the WT.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to complete advance reading, prepare seminar presentations, and submit one essay of 1500 words.

Indicative reading

  • Albornoz, L. (2015). Power, Media, Culture: A Critical View from the Political Economy of Communication. Springer.
  • Duménil, G., Duménil, G., & Lévy, D. (2004). Capital Resurgent: Roots of the Neoliberal Revolution.
  • Fuchs, C., & Mosco, V. (2015). Marx and the Political Economy of the Media. Brill. 
  • Harvey, D. (2018). The Limits to Capital. Verso.
  • Lipietz, A. (1987). Mirages and Miracles (Vol. 21). London: Verso.
  • Scholz, T. (Ed.). (2012). Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory. Routledge.
  • Wasko, J., Murdock, G., & Sousa, H. (Eds.). (2011). The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications. John Wiley & Sons.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Media and Communications

Total students 2022/23: 32

Average class size 2022/23: 10

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills