By James Curran (eds.)

ISBN-10: 0333238885

ISBN-13: 9780333238882

ISBN-10: 134915914X

ISBN-13: 9781349159147

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Classes and the struggles between and within classes continue into and through this phase. And the press continues to be articulated in its complex way with them. But the forms assumed by those class relations are qualitatively different in the period after formal enfranchisement as compared with earlier periods, for now those relations are obliged to 'pass through' the formal democratic process, winning and organising consent to the 46 Introductory Perspectives equations of power struck in the relations of force.

But there is then a broad gap between the details of any such action and the necessarily general political and social policies within which the great majority of local actions will be determined. It is in this difficult and often seemingly intractable area that the deep political bias of the press - its effective consensus over and above party differences and specific issues - is likely to be crucial. The survival of a country is so solidly presented as the survival of a rationalised capitalism, with its imperatives steadily extended to those areas that had been considered reserved from it, that even the inevitable consequence of sustained structural unemployment has not produced the anger and determination which, before this phase, virtually everyone would have predicted.

We cannot reconstruct those histories here: but it is worth simply indicating them, even in the most sketchy and crude fashion, in order to mark the difference. The emergence of something like a modern newspaper in the eighteenth century, governed principally, though not exclusively, by an approximation to commercial and market conditions, is very closely linked with the emergence of an urban and a landed bourgeoisie, and the related formation of the party system. For a major part of that period the close links between the press and the party factions were indeed one of its principal articulations.

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The British Press: a Manifesto by James Curran (eds.)


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