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5 Crime Media Culture 5 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/cmctre5 and id is 1 raw text is: 


  CM C

Editorial: Global collapse and cultural possibility

JEFF FERRELL, Texas Christian University, USA and University of Kent, UK
CHRIS GREER, City University London, UK

This fifth volume of CMC comes along at a particularly precarious time in global history.
The current crisis of global capitalism is of course a crisis of human meaning and sustain-
ability as well; more is at stake, always, than markets. As global capitalism shudders
under the weight of its accumulated contradictions, other dimensions of human life
are shaken as well: local cultures, familial arrangements, immigrant opportunities,
even the provision of daily sustenance. And if Marx and Merton were even half right,
these tremors will rattle the social order in ways that produce new strains on legitimate
achievement, new tensions between social classes, new experiences of perceived
deprivation and material want, and so new sorts of crime and predation. Mix all this
with the global mediasphere - with a live-on-demand mediascape that confounds
causes and consequences, images and their effects - and it's easy to imagine the
madness that may lie ahead.
   Yet a shuddering social order can shake loose new hopes and possibilities as well. As
seen in the recent US presidential election, a well-timed social crisis can help produce
results unimaginable decades before, perhaps even days before. The media saturation
of daily life can convert every moment of progressive resistance into a made-for-
television commodity; but a citizenry armed with video cameras and mobile phones can
also invent the sort of instantaneous communication that makes meaningful political
resistance a viable alternative. A world where commodity consumption no longer
defines everyday life can punch a hole in citizens' acquired sense of self, but the pos-
sibilities emergent in that world can also begin to fill that hole, perhaps, with a new
sort of economic and cultural self-sufficiency. Now is no time for despair, or for drawing
back from the task of critical, culturally engaged analysis. Dangerous times demand at
least a modicum of intellectual courage.
   It is in this cultural context, and in this spirit, that we move into CMC's fifth year of
exploring media, crime, culture, and politics. Media and politics have, of course, for
decades been inseparable; yet with the 2008 US presidential election the use of new
and alternative media as tools for political campaigning was taken to a new level. Clearly
understanding that 'traditional' or 'conventional' media forms - print and broadcast
news, billboard and television advertising - no longer suffice to capture the attention,

CRIME MEDIA CULTURE © 2009 SAGE Publications, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC
www.sagepublications.com, ISSN 1741-6590, Vol 5(1): 5-7 [DOI: 10. 1177/1741659008102059]

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