The Citizen’s Voice: Albert Hirschman’s
Exit, Voice and Loyalty and its Contribution to
          Media Citizenship Debate...
Media and Citizenship
• Long interest from media perspective:
  – Media and formation of national identities
  – Media, cu...
Albert Hirschman, Exit, Voice and
          Loyalty (1970)
                     Albert Hirschman (1915 - ) was
           ...
Albert Hirschman, Exit, Voice and
             Loyalty (1970)
• “Slack” is a pervasive feature of all economic
  societies...
Voice
• Voice has been a central concept to political
  theory but marginal to economic theory
• Voice and active politica...
Relevance to consumer-citizen debate
• Liberalisation of media systems since the
  1980s has sharpened focus on “exit” opt...
UK Communications Act 2003
Consumer interest       Citizen interest
Economic focus          Cultural focus
Networks and se...
Participation
• Participation in Exit, Voice and Loyalty mostly
  seen in terms of seeking voice in large
  organizations ...
Significance to new media debates
• Can Internet culture revitalize the public
  sphere and political culture? – “post-
  ...
What can Exit, Voice and Loyalty
     contribute to such debates?
• Avoiding all-or-nothing thinking about
  citizenship, ...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

The Citizen's Voice: Albert Hirschman's Exit, Voice and Loyalty and its Contribution to Media Citizenship Debates

3,371 views

Published on

Presentation to "Keywords in Communication", 59th Annual Conference of the International Communications Association, Chicago, IL, USA, 21-25 May, 2009.

Published in: Education, News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

The Citizen's Voice: Albert Hirschman's Exit, Voice and Loyalty and its Contribution to Media Citizenship Debates

  1. 1. The Citizen’s Voice: Albert Hirschman’s Exit, Voice and Loyalty and its Contribution to Media Citizenship Debates Professor Terry Flew, Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia Global Communication and Social Change Pre-Conference Event International Communications Association 59th Conference, Keywords in Communication Chicago, IL, USA, 21-25 May, 2009
  2. 2. Media and Citizenship • Long interest from media perspective: – Media and formation of national identities – Media, cultural citizenship and contemporary representative democracies – Neo-Habermasian public sphere theories – Citizenship rationales for media regulation – Consumer/citizen debates in media policy – Citizen media/citizen journalism • Less interest from political science perspective 2
  3. 3. Albert Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty (1970) Albert Hirschman (1915 - ) was a founder of post-WWII development economics (“unbalanced growth”) and an expert on Latin American political economy. His economic perspective was iconoclastic and he was an expert on Adam Smith and the Scottish enlightenment. He developed an interest in “the micro or personality foundations of a democratic society”, and Exit, Voice and Loyalty is written in this spirit. 3
  4. 4. Albert Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty (1970) • “Slack” is a pervasive feature of all economic societies, as are poor quality goods and services • Consumer responses: – Exit: “invisible hand” of market mechanism – Voice: attempting to influence management and/or public opinion – rise of consumer movement, trade union movement, “stakeholder capitalism” – Loyalty: “stickiness” in consumer behaviour esp. towards complex goods and those with “exit costs” 4
  5. 5. Voice • Voice has been a central concept to political theory but marginal to economic theory • Voice and active political citizenship • Post-WWII political theory questioned relevance of voice – complexities of government, elite competition, “inert citizens”, focus of electoral politics on the “swing voter” • The “exit” option can “atrophy development of the art of voice” (Hirschman 1970: 43) • Voice tends to co-exist with loyalty in political sphere e.g. the dissenting party political activist • Danger of “domestication of dissenters” 5
  6. 6. Relevance to consumer-citizen debate • Liberalisation of media systems since the 1980s has sharpened focus on “exit” options (e.g. more channels) and challenged “loyalty” (e.g. to public service media) • Politics of the “presumption of voice” as the policy counter-weight to media power • How citizen-consumer debates played out in UK Communications Act 2003 (Livingstone et. al., 2007) – shifting discursive constructs 6
  7. 7. UK Communications Act 2003 Consumer interest Citizen interest Economic focus Cultural focus Networks and services Content Individual Community Consumer panel Content board Legacy: Oftel Legacy: Independent Television Commission, Broadcasting Standards Council 7
  8. 8. Participation • Participation in Exit, Voice and Loyalty mostly seen in terms of seeking voice in large organizations (political parties, media corporations, government agencies etc.) that are managed by others • Internet culture generates DIY and DIWO alternatives, as well as expectations about rights to participate and horizontal communication • “Myth of the mediated centre” in media studies debates (Nick Couldry) 8
  9. 9. Significance to new media debates • Can Internet culture revitalize the public sphere and political culture? – “post- deferential desire of citizens to be heard and respected more” (Coleman, 2005) • Opening up new spaces of participation – impact most marked in advocacy/activist spheres (Dahlgren, 2005) • Citizen journalism – “inverting the hierarchy of access” (Atton, 2004) – impact most marked outside of/at margins of “big media” 9
  10. 10. What can Exit, Voice and Loyalty contribute to such debates? • Avoiding all-or-nothing thinking about citizenship, participation and media • Exit, voice and loyalty always co-exist but the balance between them shifts • Helping to clarify how/why participation in media policy occurs • Better understanding interrelationship between the political and economic spheres 10

×