Karl Marx and the Study of Media and Culture Today


  • Christian Fuchs University of Westminster’s Communication and Media Research Institute




Karl Marx, Marxist theory, culture, media, capitalism


The task of this paper discusses the role of Marx in analysing media, communica-tion and culture today. An analysis of three contemporary Cultural Studies works – Lawrence Grossberg’s monograph Cultural Studies in the Future Tense, John Hartley’s monograph Digital Futures for Cultural and Media Studies and Paul Smith’s edited volume The Renewal of Cultural Studies – shows that there is an agreement that the economy needs to be taken more into account by Cultural Studies, but disagreement on which approach should be taken and what the role of Karl Marx’s works shall be. The paper argues that Marx’s labour theory of value is especially important for critically analysing the media, culture and communica-tion. Labour is still a blind spot of the study of culture and the media, although this situation is slowly improving. It is maintained that the turn away from Marx in Cultural and Media Studies was a profound mistake that should be reverted. Only an engagement with Marx can make Cultural and Media Studies topical, politically relevant, practical and critical, in the current times of global crisis and resurgent critique.


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How to Cite

Fuchs, C. (2014) “Karl Marx and the Study of Media and Culture Today”, Culture Unbound, 6(1), pp. 39–76. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.14639.



Theme: Capitalism: Current Crisis and Cultural Critique