Silvio Waisbord

Interrogating the Analytical Value of «Media System» for Comparative Political Communication

  • Abstract

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Keywords: media system, comparative media research.

In this article, my interest is to interrogate the validity of the concept of «media system» for the study of two issues: the disjointed, turbulent reality of «the media» in the digital era and critical developments in contemporary political communication. While I remain convinced that «media system» remains analytically valuable to define and compare media structures, institutions and practices across countries, I believe it is necessary to reassess its analytical validity for the study of similar cross-national developments in contemporary political communication. Media system remains an indispensable category and analytical instrument for understanding fundamental institutional aspects of national media orders and for comparing media industries, policies and practices across countries. It highlights cross-national similarities and differences that help us understand clearly the features of national media orders. What is needed is to reassess the meaning of «media system» considering that so much has rapidly changed as well as the analytical salience of contextual aspects that helps us explain similar cross-national developments.

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