The Media Commons

Globalization and Environmental Discourses
Author: Patrick D. Murphy
How the media pushes us to save the whales and devour all the fish
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 04/24/2017
Cloth: 04/24/2017
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About the Book

Today's global media sustains a potent new environmental consciousness. Paradoxically, it also serves as a far-reaching platform that promotes the unsustainable consumption ravaging our planet. Patrick Murphy musters theory, fieldwork, and empirical research to map how the media communicates today's many distinct, competing, and even antagonistic environmental discourses.

The media draws the cultural boundaries of our environmental imagination--and influences just who benefits. Murphy's analysis emphasizes social context, institutional alignments, and commercial media's ways of rendering discussion. He identifies and examines key terms, phrases, and metaphors as well as the ways consumers are presented with ideas like agency and the place of nature. What emerges is the link between pervasive messaging and an "environment" conjured by our media-saturated social imagination. As the author shows, today's complex, integrated media networks shape, frame, and deliver many of our underlying ideas about the environment. Increasingly--and ominously--individuals and communities experience these ideas not only in the developed world but in the increasingly consumption-oriented Global South.

About the Author

Patrick Murphy is an associate professor in the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University. Murphy is a co-editor of Negotiating Democracy: Media Transformation in Emerging Democracies and Global Media Studies: Ethnographic Perspectives.


"The book's approach produces an interesting and unique contribution that should be required reading for scholars and students." --European Journal of Communication


"Murphy skillfully unpacks the links among the institutions, ideology, and messages of global media systems and our imaginaries of the environment. The result is a scathing critique of the absorptive capacity of a market-driven, 'Promethean' discourse that elides social agency in response to our global ecological tensions."--Robert Cox, coeditor of The Routledge Handbook of Environment and Communication

"How is it that in less than four years Discovery replaced Ten Ways to Save the Planet with programming encouraging meat consumption, while The Walking Dead now provides post-apocalyptic survival techniques to a global audience? Murphy provides essential scholarship of environmental discourses within the politics and economies of transnational media."--Libby Lester, author of Media and Environment: Conflict, Politics and the News

"This book is addressing a universal crisis that right now, as we speak, is rapidly mainstreaming. It is a text that will be recognized as a critically important, highly innovative, and possibly paradigm-changing contribution to our understanding of how mediated discourses work to destroy our planet."--Oliver Boyd-Barrett, author of Communications Media, Globalization, and Empire


•  Book of the Year, Global Communication and Social Change Division of the International Communication Association (ICA), 2018