Power Without Responsibility: Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain, 7th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Power Without Responsibility

Press, Broadcasting and the Internet in Britain, 7th Edition

By James Curran, Jean Seaton


438 pages

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Power Without Responsibility is a classic introduction to the history, sociology, theory and politics of the media in Britain.

Hailed by the Times Higher as the 'seminal media text', and translated into Arabic, Chinese and other foreign languages, it is an essential guide for media students and critical media consumers alike.

The new edition has been substantially revised to bring it right up-to-date with developments in the media industry, new media technologies and changes in the political and academic debates surrounding the media. In this new edition, the authors consider:

  • the impact of the internet
  • the failure of interactive TV
  • media and Britishness
  • new media and global understanding
  • journalism in crisis
  • BBC and broadcasting at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Assessing the media at a time of profound change, the authors set out the democratic choices for media reform.


‘A lucid, engaging account of how Britain's media is developing - and it is now bang up to date. I couldn't put it down.’

Maggie Brown, Channel 4 historian and Guardian media writer

‘Curran and Seaton are indispensible navigators through a media ocean whose sea state is ever more turbulent.’

Peter Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London.

'More essential than Essential Law, more elemental than The Elements of Journalism, Power Without Responsibility is an essential work for understanding a trade and an industry under pressure'

John Lloyd, Financial Times and Reuters Institute, Oxford University

'The one and only Authorized Version of the field, for all students of British media, from the pauper press to the BBC to Twitter'

Paddy Scannell, Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan

Table of Contents

Part 1: Press History 1. Whig Press History as Political Mythology 2. The Struggle for a Free Press 3. The Ugly Face of Reform 4. The Industrialization of the Press 5. The Era of the Press Barons 6. The Press Under Public Regulation 7. Fable of Market Democracy Part 2: Broadcasting History 8. Reith and the Denial of Politics 9. Broadcasting and the Blitz 10. Social Revolution? 11. The BBC Under Threat 12. Class, Taste, and Profit 13. How the Audience is Made 14. The First New Media 15. Broadcasting Roller-Coaster Part 3: Rise of New Media 16. New Media in Britain 17. History of the Internet 18. Sociology of the Internet Part 4: Theories of the Media 19. Metabolising Britishness 20. Global Understanding 21. The Liberal Theory of Press Freedom 22. Broadcasting and the Theory of Public Service Part 5: Politics of the Media 23. Contradictions in Media Policy 24. Media Reform: Democratic Choices

About the Authors

James Curran is Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Jean Seaton is Professor of Media History at the University of Westminster.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies