The South African newspaper and printing industry and its impact on the industrial conciliation act of 1924
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Various theoretical approaches to evaluating the impact of the media on society have been drawn on over the past decades, ranging from Marxist media critiques, a culturalist approach and discourse analysis, to media effects and political culture theory. The divergent frameworks and their frequently contradictory findings have resulted in 'see-sawing estimates of media power' which have characterized the field over the years. This article adopts an approach that attempts to consider questions of the power of the press in terms of a, concrete analysis of economic relations and the ways in which they structure both the processes and results of
cultural production. In media scholarship, this approach would ordinarily be described as part of the Marxian political economy
paradigm, as it deliberately focuses on the economic decisions and relations that underpin the industry, rather than on the textual, cultural or symbolic attributes of the newspapers themselves. There naturally is a considerable overlap between a political economy methodology when applied to a media product and traditional studies in institutional labour history. Both delve into matters of class, power, capital and the labour process. Both consider the political and social context. Both attempt to understand history by examining underlying and complex patterns of ownership, control and economic location.