I am working on a book based on my master's work in sociology of media that explores the reasons some ideas resonate in the current media environment and others do not. The project seeks to incorporate theoretical ideas about media with practical political realities.
Over recent years, the American conversation has shifted from concern over equality to concern over freedom. The turn toward ideals of freedom and individualism has been termed “neoliberalism.” Most research on this transition focuses on the political and economic conditions associated with neoliberalism, and not on the relationship between this transition and the revolutionary change our media environment has undergone simultaneously. The paper argues that although accounts that seek to understand neoliberalism as a part of an ongoing ideological debate between conservatives and liberals are partially true, these accounts fail to provide a satisfying explanation of why these ideas have resonated so strongly at this time. By perceiving the moving image as the foundation of a fundamentally different mode of production, and by perceiving neoliberalism as an outgrowth of the breakdown of the historic relationship between labor and capital, we can understand neoliberalism as a change to social ethic associated with new technology.