Governance, Media and Democracy

Democracy and the potential democratisation of governance and media for more equitable local, national and global societies

Many and varied forms of representative democracy have emerged in the twentieth century and into the new millennium, often in the wake of the modernizing forces of global capitalism. Some of the newer systems are fashioned after Western parliamentary or presidential templates, but the social and political structures of others do not align with the values of liberal-democratic, or even Christian-democratic representative state formations.

Even in its liberal-Western heartlands, however, democracy remains highly contested as a concept, as a form of government and as a field of political practice. Consequently, there is no consensus about how the authenticity of a national democracy is to be assessed. Under what circumstances of political economy and social conditions do the notions and practice of democracy flourish, or conversely, come under attack from powerful state or state-economic interests? The relative conditions of political democracy within a social formation shape, at least to some extent, systems of 'governance' that operate both within the state apparatus; in fields of civil, commercial and criminal law and between citizens and other institutions. Governance refers to the complex array of practices through which a degree of order and coordination is achieved across governmental and other organisations, at local, national or supra-national levels.The media itself is an institution with a problematic and dialectical relationship with democracy and social institutions. In the heavily mediatized world, these relationships are also a site of contested meaning.

Democracy and the potential democratisation of governance and media give rise to critical issues for conceptual and empirical research and for aspirations for more equitable local, national and global societies. The Governance, Media and Democracy (GMD) thematic group investigates problems in this field, including:

  • challenges to democratic theory posed by processes of democratization and democratic reversals;
  • whether democracy and governance can be made more democratic;
  • experiences of and prospects for democratisation in domains such as health, education, the media, and the economy;
  • the potential for democratization of the media and media practice through the emergence of social media and user-generated content on digital media platforms;
  • the crisis of trust and confidence affecting the commercial mass media and the conditions of economic disarray in respect of traditional media business models;
  • the degree of political participation in non-Western democracies in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa;
  • the potential for democratisation in authoritarian polities such as China;
  • the prospects for democratisation of regional, transnational and global governance.


Publications from the group

So You Want to be a JournalistSo You Want To Be A Journalist?: Unplugged

Bruce Grundy, Martin Hirst, Janine Little, Mark Hayes, Greg Treadwell

So you want to be a Journalist? Unplugged is a fully revised guide to the world of journalism. This new edition of Bruce Grundy's guide for journalists takes us through new media's impact on the structure and practice of journalism today, with its 24-hour news cycle of multi-platform, interactive media audiences. The book contains instructions on writing for news media as well as practical advice on all facets of reporting. Skills involved in finding information, interviewing, writing news and features,research and investigation, basic subbing, layout and design are covered, along with the essentials of grammar, the law, and practical tips on ethical and professional behaviour.

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