The History of Media Policy Based on Mediatization: A Theoretical Perspective
This article develops a theoretical perspective for studying the history of media policy. It draws on the concept of mediatization and extends it. It conceptualizes media policy as a response by social actors to the increasing significance of the media and to the functional differentiation of society. The article sets out basic assumptions of mediatization research, integrates media policy, and reflects on the historical dimension of mediatization. Finally, an example is used to demonstrate how this perspective might be applied in practice. This example refers to labor unions operating in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1970s. In West Germany, unions attempted to adapt to structural changes of the media system in the decades following the end of World War II and intensified their involvement in press policy. The developed perspective can be used to study media policy from the 19th century, when public attention became a central resource and mass media the most effective tool for capturing that attention.