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Podcasting and the Rise of the Public Intellectual: Viewing an Emergent Group of Media Personalities Through the Prism of Antonio Gramsci’s “The Intellectuals”
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As podcasting has evolved from a niche technology to a mainstream medium, a diverse group of content creators and show hosts have been elevated by their popularity among listeners. As thought leaders in podcasting, these hosts exhibit attributes that fit into a model of the public intellectual as seen through the prism of the work of Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci. This paper explores how content creators use technological solutions to bypass traditional media gatekeepers, how the access that those solutions enable creates space for expression of ideas that are alternative to the mainstream, and how the interrelated cultural, political, social and economic conditions surrounding podcasting and these individuals fit into Gramsci’s hegemonic model. As podcasting’s leading figures, these public intellectuals are endowed with prestige within podcasting, and in some cases, beyond. This paper references examples from other media and technologies to show similar interaction between culture and technology in media. This paper concludes by examining how the financial investment that has followed the growth of podcasting may ultimately have the effect of realigning it with a traditional media gatekeeper model.