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"Exit, Voice and Loyalty:" How State and Power Dynamics Impact the Development of Media Systems and Concepts of Participation

Fri, May 25, 9:30 to 10:45, Hilton Old Town, M, Liszt

Session Submission Type: Panel

Abstract

This proposed panel seeks to respond to this year's ICA theme around the issue of "the expression of voice.", As noted in the call for proposals, there are fundamental questions related to the study of media and society, including:
1) When is voice activated and how is it communicated? 2) How do individual or group voices organize socially available discourses? 3) What individual, social, organizational, economic or legal considerations influence the expression of voice? and 4) How have media technologies amplified the expression of personal voices in public fora?

These questions as outlined in the ICA call could have a variety of vantage points and theoretical starting points for their discussion. Our panel will explore these questions in the context of two significant texts: Albert O. Hirschman's landmark "Exit, Voice and Loyalty," and Monroe Price's book Media and Sovereignty: The Global Information Revolution and its Challenge to State Power, which sought to put Hirschman's theories into the vocabulary of contemporary media practice and regulation. The panel will offer a series of comparative studies in which the relationship between loyalty and sovereignty (on the one hand) and exit and voice (on the other) are played out. The panel will focus on how exercise of "voice" relates to configurations of social media, implications of globalization, and the intensification of info wars, fake news, and misinformation.

In Hirschman's telling, the exercise of "voice" is significant both for enhancing loyalty and improving the exercise of sovereignty. As noted in Media and Sovereignty, "Media have been central to government efforts to reinforce sovereignty and define national identity," but not consistently in ways that emphasize voice. Occasionally, honoring "voice," "globalization is fundamentally altering media practices, institutions, and content. More than the activities of large conglomerates, globalization entails competition among states as well as private entities to dominate the world's consciousness." This panel will consider the tensions and achievements relating to constructing a persuasive argument for effective voice. Examining technologies and their regulation, from satellite to community broadcasting to Internet, the panel will use examples from Canada, Ukraine, Kenya, Venezuela, and Serbia. Panelists will present papers that will relate the concept of "voice" to politicization of the media and role of media and propaganda as part of hybrid warfare strategies as well as the rise of corporate media and internet giants. Finally, the panel will consider regulatory responses, particularly in terms of the recognition of "voice" in debates over freedom of expression and international norms.

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