The trouble with many critiques of the neoliberalization of the media is that they tend to be more concerned with disparaging neoliberalism than with trying to understand it. More often than not, the term is invoked cursorily and applied as more of a storytelling device than a formally explicated concept as such (16). And although there may be a political necessity to “name neoliberalism,” ostensibly critical accounts that offer grand narratives of hegemony, ideology, class interests, and the imposition of monolithic neoliberalism—as politically effective and important as such accounts may be—only go so far toward understanding how the process of neoliberalization actually occurs.

Taking particular issue with this tendency among media scholars to reduce everything around us to a unitary neoliberalism imposed from outside, Sean Phelan draws upon a diverse range of theoretical sources (though he is most indebted to Pierre Bourdieu and Ernesto...

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