Communism, Capitalism and the Mass Media

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Colin Sparks provides a challenging reassessment of the impact of the collapse of communism on the media systems of Eastern Europe. He analyzes both the changes themselves and their implications for the ways in which we think about the mass media, while also demonstrating that most of the orthodox accounts of the end of communism are seriously flawed. There are much greater continuities between the old system and the new than are captured by the theories that argue that there has been a radical and fundamental change. Instead of marking the end of critical inquiry or the end of history, as some have suggested, Sparks argues that the collapse of the communist systems demonstrates how very limited and frequently incorrect the main ways of discussing the mass media are. He concludes with a provocative discussion of the ways in which we need to modify our thinking in the light of these developments.