This article focuses on the formation of the 'global media system' from 1860 to 1910. It begins with a critique of conventional knowledge in international communication and focuses on three themes: first, the rise of the global media; second, how markets, states and imperialism shaped the global media; and third, how the global media developed as a series of multinational cartels - powerful 'private structures of control' through which corporate and national foreign policy objectives were pursued. We critique the strong tendency in the literature to conflate the history of the global media with the history of imperialism and to exaggerate the extent to which powerful nations struggled constantly with one another to control world communication. Over and against this 'struggle for control of international communication' model our concept of empire combines classical theories of imperialism with one of capitalist imperialism. Within this context, the global media evolved as part of a project of creating a worldwide system of accumulation and modernization. Lastly, we show that the global media - in terms of ownership, alliances, corporate identity, international and national laws, views of modernization and imperial strategy - were more global and organized as a system than is often assumed. Copyright

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Global Media and Communication
Carleton University

Winseck, D, & Pike, R.M. (Robert M.). (2008). Communication and empire: Media markets, power and globalization, 1860-1910. Global Media and Communication, 4(1), 7–36. doi:10.1177/1742766507086850