(Re)sounding Histories

On the Temporalities of the Media Event

in Social Analysis
Penelope Papailias University of Thessaly papailia@ha.uth.gr

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This article argues that the media event constitutes a critical mode for experiencing temporality in contemporary society. A perceptual and topological approach is presented centering on the event’s transitivity as it unfolds across event-spaces, media formats, and national media envelopes. My case is the unprecedented ‘live’ televisual coverage of the 1999 hijacking of a Greek bus by an Albanian migrant worker, whose death was publicly mourned in a widely circulated cassette-recorded Albanian memorial song. Focusing on the hijacker’s act of ‘speaking back’ to Greek bosses and police, I link the re-enactments and affective (re)sounding of this contested media event to the violent unsettling and reconfiguration of national borders, ideological discourses, social networks, and labor regimes that occurred after the collapse of European communism and prior to the establishment of the neo-liberal Eurozone.

Contributor Notes

Penelope Papailias is an Associate Professor of Social Anthropology in the Department of History, Archaeology, and Social Anthropology at the University of Thessaly. She has written an ethnography about popular historical production in Greece entitled Genres of Recollection: Archival Poetics and Modern Greece (2005). Her recent work explores the cultural politics of technological mediation in relation to subjects such as the media event and witnessing, visuality and violence, digital memorials and public mourning, networked citizen groups, and online affect.

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Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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