Neoliberalism, the Commercialization of Journalism and the Rise of Right-Wing Populism in post-1989 Bulgaria

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join us for a talk with Martin Marinos, postdoctoral research scholar at the Harriman Institute.

Brexit and the election of Donald Trump demonstrated that the rise of far-right political parties and leaders is not a marginal phenomenon in Western liberal democracies. However, similar processes have been in motion across the former Eastern bloc for some time now. In fact, since 1989 the post-socialist space has turned into a laboratory for neoliberal economics, media commercialization and right-wing populism. Martin Marinos’ talk, based on his book project, Free to Hate: The Liberalization of Socialist Mass Media in post-1989 Bulgaria, explores the relationship between these three phenomena. Drawing on archival research, participant observations and oral interviews with journalists, media managers, and politicians the book shows how the commercialization of journalism facilitated the proliferation of racist rhetoric against the Roma and Muslim minorities and more recently against the Syrian refugees trying to enter “Fortress Europe” through the Balkan route. Marinos argues that the symbiosis between media and populism reveals the deep flaws of contemporary mass communication systems and the limits of post-1989 theories of democratization and civil society.

Martin Marinos is a postdoctoral research scholar at the Harriman Institute. He completed his PhD in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh in August 2016. His research areas of specialization include transnational media history, political economy of media, socialist mass communication, media production studies and media populism. His work has appeared in Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European Media, Communication, Capitalism and Critique, Global Media Journal, Social History, Radical Philosophy, Advances in the History of Rhetoric and other publications.