Justin Lewis is Professor of Communication and Head of the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, and a Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research.He has written widely about media, culture and politics. His books, since 2000, include Constructing Public Opinion (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), Citizens or Consumers: What the media tell us about political participation (Open University Press, 2005), Shoot First and Ask Questions Later: Media Coverage of the War in Iraq (Peter Lang, 2005), Climate Change and the Media (Peter Lang 2009) and The world of 24 hour news (Peter Lang 2010). He has also written books on media audiences, cultural policy and media and race.He has worked with the BBC on the coverage of the Iraq War, 24 hour news and the use of user generated content in news; with the BBC Trust on coverage of devolved politics; with the Office of Science and Innovation on media coverage of science; with the Guardian on the independence of British journalism; with Channel Four on the coverage of Islam; as well as doing research on the media and political citizenship and media and the public understanding of science for the Economic and Social Research Council and is currently involved with two European Social Fund projects on the democratic deficit/new models of local media and digital platforms: learning, change and nation branding. At the heart of all these projects is a keen interest in how the media might enhance a diverse and democratic culture in the UK.Professor Lewis is a regular commentator on media, politics and cultural issues for regional and national US and UK media.The talk will begin with the proposition that while consumer capitalism has been a very successful model for creating wealth, in the 21st century it is becoming increasingly obsolete. In developed countries, research shows that it is no longer able to deliver improvements in our quality of life. The proliferation of products has reached a point where increasing consumer choice makes our lives more burdensome, not less. The range of products expands, but the time we have to make decisions about them does not. The more we have, the less value each new possession has. And most alarmingly, the economic growth it encourages is enormously damaging to our environment, with potentially disastrous consequences.These points chime with the way many people feel. At the dawn of the 21st century, we were wealthier than at any time in human history, yet few people felt that we were living in a golden age. The talk will address how our cultural and information industries keep us on the treadmill of consumption -- and how they limit our vision of what constitutes progress. If we are to find a way out of this cul de sac, Professor Lewis will argue, we must begin by changing the way we organise media and communications. We need a cultural environment that encourages rather than stifles new ideas about what guides our economy and our society.
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