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Why Voice Matters

Why Voice Matters
Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism

  • Nick Couldry - London School of Economics, UK, London School of Economics and Political Science, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

July 2010 | 184 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

For more than thirty years neoliberalism has declared that market functioning trumps all other social, political, and economic values. In this book, Nick Couldry passionately argues for voice, the effective opportunity for people to speak and be heard on what affects their lives, as the only value that can truly challenge neoliberal politics. But having voice is not enough: we need to know our voice matters. Insisting that the answer goes much deeper than simply calling for 'more voices', whether on the streets or in the media, Couldry presents a dazzling range of analysis from the real world of Blair and Obama to the social theory of Judith Butler and Amartya Sen.

Why Voice Matters breaks open the contradictions in neoliberal thought and shows how the mainstream media not only fails to provide the means for people to give an account of themselves, but also reinforces neoliberal values. Moving beyond the despair common to much of today's analysis, Couldry shows us a vision of a democracy based on social cooperation and offers the resources we need to build a new post-neoliberal politics.

Voice as Value
The Crisis of Neo-Liberal Economics
Neo-Liberal Democracy: An Oxymoron
Media and the Amplification of Neo-Liberal Values
Philosophies of Voice
Sociologies of Voice
Towards a Post-Neo-Liberal Politics

Nick Couldry has emerged as one of the most brilliant critics we have of neoliberalism and its assault on almost every aspect of public life. What is unique about this book is that it not only understands neoliberalism as an economic discourse but also, if not more importantly, as a profound and powerful mode of cultural politics. This is one of the best books I have read in years about what it means to engage neoliberalism through a critical framework that highlights those narratives and stories that affirm both our humanity and our longing for justice. This book should be read by everyone concerned with what it might mean to not only dream about democracy but to engage it as a lived experience and political possibility

Henry Giroux
McMaster University, Canada

An important and original book that offers a fresh critique of neoliberalism and its contribution to the contemporary crisis of ‘voice’. Couldry’s own voice is clear and impassioned - an urgent ‘must-read’. 

Rosalind Gill
Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, King’s College London

Nick Couldry sets out a provocative critique of the democratic shortcomings of the neoliberal social order, while offering some compellingly radical arguments for the role of the media in creating new spaces of citizen-government relations. 

Stephen Coleman
Professor of Political Communication, University of Leeds

This is an important book... In focusing our attention on the importance of voice, in putting it at the heart of contemporary political and economic change, and in summoning an array of contrasting services, Couldry has done us a very valuable service.

John Street
European Journal of Communication

A valuable contribution to the field... Resisting a familiar tendency of scholarship in which a critique of neoliberalism is paired either with Utopian thought experiments [or] with an ennui toward practical action, Couldry's work is refreshingly productive in its scope. The author not only skilfully outlines the problems that are present in the age of neoliberalism, but offers a platform to discuss how scholars and citizens can spur shifts in values in order to move forward towards a more democratic post-neoliberal world today and into the future... Why Voice Matters is a grounded, imaginative and valuable piece of writing that will appeal to a broad-based audience of scholars in the field of communication and beyond.

Garrett Broad
Journal of Communication

"Nick Couldry gives a very interesting analysis of the challenge of 'voice' in our times."

Emile McAnany
Santa Clara University
Communication Research Trends v30-4

An excellent book that seeks to explore the actual title from the outset. Has been recommended for further reading.

Mr Amer Shehzad
Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire
October 15, 2014

Excellent book for Intro to Cultural Studies in Education doctoral course.

Great text for navigating the complexity of voice in a neoliberal society.

Dr John Lupinacci
Teaching Learning Dept, Washington State Univ-Pullman
February 22, 2014

This book provides interesting theoretical discussions regarding voice. It would be suitable for both academic students and social scientists who are interested in the way that voice can be manipulated and manifested.
It gives a clear and precise account of the tensions between neoliberalism and the real world.
I will recommend this book as a supplementary resource to my Sociology of Education students.

Mr Graham Downes
School of Education, Bath Spa University
February 3, 2014

Interesting arguments. Not relevant for module at this stage.

Mr David Ness
Social Science, Moray College UHI
October 23, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Voice as Value

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