Whatever “media power” means, almost everyone thinks it is important. “It all,” wrote Roger Silverstone, “is about power in the end” (1999, 143). Great historians take the power of the media for  granted, even  as they worry about it: “as the 20th century ended, it became evident that the media were a more important component of the political process than parties and electoral systems . . . however . . . they were in no sense a means of  democratic  government,”  writes Eric Hobsbawm (1995, 581–82). Media—understood to include all technologically based means of communication, means of organizing communication, information, and data—matter.

So why do textbooks on power often say nothing about media? Jonathan Hearn’s respected textbook Theorizing Power states that “power is the central thing that social scientists study,” and “at the core of who and what we are” (2012, 3–4), yet media and communication are absent from the …

This essay may be found on page 145 of the printed volume.

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