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The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power

The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power

by Andrew Chadwick

The diffusion and rapid evolution of new communication technologies has reshaped media and politics. But who are the new power players? Written by a leading scholar in the field, The Hybrid Media System is a sweeping and compelling new theory of how political communication now works.

Politics is increasingly defined by organizations, groups, and


The diffusion and rapid evolution of new communication technologies has reshaped media and politics. But who are the new power players? Written by a leading scholar in the field, The Hybrid Media System is a sweeping and compelling new theory of how political communication now works.

Politics is increasingly defined by organizations, groups, and individuals who are best able to blend older and newer media logics, in what Andrew Chadwick terms a hybrid system. Power is wielded by those who create, tap, and steer information flows to suit their goals and in ways that modify, enable, and disable the power of others, across and between a range of older and newer media.

Chadwick examines news making in all of its contemporary "professional" and "amateur" forms, parties and election campaigns, activist movements, and government communication. He presents compelling illustrations of the hybrid media system in flow, from American presidential campaigns to WikiLeaks, from live prime ministerial debates to hotly-contested political scandals, from the daily practices of journalists, campaign workers, and bloggers to the struggles of new activist organizations. This wide-ranging book maps the emerging balance of power between older and newer media technologies, genres, norms, behaviors, and organizational forms.

Political communication has entered a new era. This book reveals how the clash of older and newer media logics causes chaos and disintegration but also surprising new patterns of order and integration.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Hybrid Media System is thoroughly worth the read: illuminating, reorienting, even analytically liberating." -- Regina G. Lawrence, University of Texas at Austin, Political Science Quarterly

"In The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power, Andrew Chadwick achieves something remarkable: encapsulating the complexity and fluidity of the emerging, hybridized media system into a succinct and systematic delineation of its actors, processes, and properties. Proudly eschewing the discipline's 'boundary fetishism,' Chadwick makes an important contribution to a discipline that too often gives in to the temptation to divide the contemporary media landscape into a simple dichotomy of new and old. He offers, instead, a nuanced picture of how 'newer' and 'older' media logics (he also eschews the terms new and old media) interact, compete, cooperate, and co-opt each other and, in doing so, create the interdependent, negotiated, hybridizing media systems that characterize Britain and the United States today." --Political Communication

"self-assured feast of hybrid thinking, which renders simple dichotomies relating to politics and media obsolete." --Public Administration

"...valuable, thought provoking, and conceptually compelling..." --Mary L. Dudziak, American Politics

"The lesson from Andrew Chadwick's The Hybrid Media System is both simple and profound: we are all hybrids now. The book offers a clarion call for studying the various hybrid "logics" that help define the current media system. Twenty-first century political communication, Chadwick argues, cannot be neatly divided into a competition between new and old media effects. Instead, Chadwick directs our attention towards the messy in-betweens that construct power in the media system through their interactions. This is an important and timely book." --Information Polity

"Big theory for understanding a complex political media environment... This is a vital approach in the study of digital media, where we desperately need a synthesized understanding of what is, arguably, the biggest change contemporary media have experienced since news hit the airwaves on television." --Journal of Politics

"This book blows up the old categories of media. Forget about organizational boundaries, gatekeeping, and simple distinctions between information producers and consumers. We have entered an age of hybrid media in which changing assemblages of communication are transforming political processes. Chadwick explains how to understand these hybrid systems, and raises the possibility that the proliferation and democratization of communication technologies will make hybridity the new norm." --W. Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science and Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication, University of Washington

"For too long, accounts of digital media and democratization have relied on generalized narratives of transformation. Andrew Chadwick's new book by contrast focuses on what people actually do with today's combinations of old and new media, particularly those in media or politics whose professional lives are devoted to managing that interface. Through a concept of 'hybrid media' well-grounded in media history and social theory, Chadwick provides a smart and much-needed manual for an age of bewildering change." --Nick Couldry, Professor of Media, Communications, and Social Theory, London School of Economics

"Chadwick's approach offers several important hypotheses and insights that political communication scholars will do well to examine in further empirical detail... [His] primary aim is to peel away the misbegotten dichotomies shaping so many current debates surrounding contemporary political communication and to present alternative frameworks that go beyond those dichotomies. In that aim, he is extraordinarily successful." --Media, Culture, & Society

"...[T]his is an important book, already cited as seminal in the field of political communication." --CHOICE

"Chadwick approaches media with considerable theoretical nuance and a rigorously empirical sensibility. Most importantly, the book directly and accessibly addresses a set of questions that have significant implications across sociology, political science, and media and communication research-as well as outside the academy-concerning how power, citizenship, and democracy work in hybrid media environments." --Social Forces

"Chadwick provides a compelling analysis of the complexity of hybrid media systems where political life is mediated through the web of networked actions involving offline and online communication as well as grassroots activism. This transformation which has been facilitated by digital technologies has broken the 'elite political-media nexus' and enabled ordinary citizens to make strategic interferences in order to safeguard the public interest. The book is a valuable contribution to the debates on the rupture caused by digital technologies which has changed the power relations in society, and it would be useful for scholars of political communication, social theory, media studies and comparative politics. "
~Tabarez Ahmed Neyazi, Political Studies Review

"Andrew Chadwick's book The Hybrid Media System offers something important and rare: an empirically grounded and theoretically rich account of how and why the assumptions that have historically guided journalism studies and political communication cannot explain contemporary media." -- Journalism

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Oxford Studies in Digital Politics Series
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Chadwick is Professor of Political Science and the Founding Director of the New Political Communication Unit in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of the award-winning book Internet Politics: States, Citizens, and New Communication Technologies, co-editor (with Philip N. Howard) of The Handbook of Internet Politics, and the founding editor of the OUP book series, Oxford Studies in Digital Politics. http://www.andrewchadwick.com.

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