Four Theories of the Press : 60 Years and Counting book cover
1st Edition

Four Theories of the Press
60 Years and Counting

ISBN 9780367889456
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
130 Pages

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Book Description

The links between distinctive political regimes and media systems are undeniable. As Siebert, Peterson and Schramm wrote (1956: 1) 60 years ago: ‘the press always takes on the form and coloration of the social and political structures within which it operates’. Nevertheless, today’s world and politics are completely different from the bipolar era that inspired the ground breaking Four Theories of the Press. What are the main changes and continuities that have driven the study of politics and the media in the last decades? How to approach this interaction in the light of the challenges that democracy is facing or the continuing technological revolution that at times hampers the media?

This provocative book explores the main premises that have guided the study of politics and the media in the last decades. In so doing, it gives the reader key analytical tools to question the sustainability of past categorizations that no longer match up with current developments of both, political regimes and the media. In searching for clarification about current discrepancies between democracies and media’s distinctive structures or purposes, Four Theories of the Press: 60 Years and Counting puts forward an alternative premise: the political-media complex.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Four Theories of the Press and Its Legacy  2. Beyond the Dichotomy: Authoritarianism vs. Democracy  3. Thinking Institutionally About Politics and the Media: Why and How  4. The Political- Media Complex at Work: A New Perspective on The Study of Transitional Democracies  Conclusions

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Maira T. Vaca-Baqueiro is an associate professor at the Communications Department of Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico City, where she teaches courses on media and democracy, public opinion, political communication, and her real passion, research design and methods. She holds a PhD in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom, and a MA in International Relations from Syracuse University in the U.S. As seen in this book, her current research focuses on the relationship between political regimes and media systems beyond traditional paradigms.


'Drawing of a rich supply of literature and original thought, Vaca-Baqueiro explores how to overcome the dichotomy of "liberalism vs authoritarianism," which was so important in Four Theories of the Press.' - Paolo Mancini, Professor of Communication Studies, University of Perugia


'A thoughtful reinterpretation of the literature on media systems in light of recent developments in the relationship between media and state in Mexico. Vaca-Baqueiro  discusses the limitations of old categories and makes a persuasive call to rethink categories such as "democratic" and "authoritarian" that do not accurately capture essential aspects, tensions, and dynamics of contemporary media systems. As media systems continue to change, and their relations with states are in flux, it is necessary to reconsider the legacy of systems-thinking in international media studies and to embrace a flexible approach focused on institutional development and interaction. A strong contribution that deserves a wide audience.' - Silvio Waisbord, Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University