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Michiel P.M.M. de Krom and Peter Oosterveer

In August 2005, avian influenza entered European public arenas as the next food and agricultural risk. As the virus was detected close to Europe, questions arose whether measures were required to protect human health and secure European food supply. This article analyzes the public debates on the characteristics of the risk and on the interventions needed. The mass media in two EU member states, the UK and the Netherlands, were studied for this purpose. With the help of qualitative analysis the debates were analyzed as they unfolded in selected national newspapers. Arguing that risks are socially mediated realities, the article discusses how struggles on risk definitions relate to different policy decisions. Moreover, it analyzes how these political dynamics are informed by the involvement of state, market, and civil society actors in European governance, and discerns their wider implications for the functioning of the EU food governance framework.

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Simone Derix

This article argues that state visits are highly symbolic political performances by analyzing state visits to Berlin in the 1950s and 1960s. The article concentrates on how state visits blended in the Cold War's culture of suspicion and political avowal. Special emphasis is placed on the role of mass media and on the guests' reactions and behavior. State visits to Berlin illuminate the heavy performative and emotional burden placed on all participants. Being aware of the possibilities for self-presentation offered by state visits, West German officials incorporated state visitors into their symbolic battle for reunification. A visit to Berlin with extensive media coverage was, therefore, of prime importance for the German hosts. Despite their sophisticated visualization strategies, total control of events was impossible. Some visitors did not want to play their allotted role and avoided certain sites in Berlin, refused to be accompanied by journalists or cancelled their trips altogether.

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Mark C. J. Stoddart and Paula Graham

, government, and non-governmental organizations with a stake in tourism development in the province. Second, how are these tourist places retranslated as the discourses produced by local tourism promoters are taken up in “outsider” mass media travel narratives

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The Anthropologist's Video Camera as Stage

Forced Displacement and Production of Audio-visual Witnessing in Northern Sudan

Valerie Hänsch

specific performative forms of communication that were informed by representations of other crises and conflicts as portrayed in the mass media. The villagers’ mass media consumption practices concentrated on listening to radio and above all watching TV

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Monika Boll

This article delves into the relationship between cultural radio and the Cold War. After 1945, culural radio took on a central role in the intellectual self-understanding of the early Federal Republic. From the very beginning, there was much less censorship than with political editorial departments. Thus, it was possible for cultrual radio to offer an intellectual forum in which socialism was not simply dismissed due to the official anticommunist political doctrine. This article shows the ways in which the East-West conflict was present in the cultrual departments of radio broadcasters. It argues that socialism appeared less as an ideological restraint or taboo, but rather as a productive challenge, which in the end was part of the modernization of West Germany's intellectual self-understanding. Two prominent examples buttress this argument: the free space that cultrual radio conquered in a kind of leftist integration with the West, and the rapid advancement of sociological discourse.

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The Media and the Crisis of Democracy

Rethinking Aesthetic Politics

Jaeho Kang

This essay reassesses the German-Jewish social and cultural critic, Walter Benjamin's famous, yet widely misunderstood thesis of the aestheticisation of politics with reference to the development of the mass media and the crisis of democracy. I argue that his thesis of the aestheticisation of politics represents the focal point of his account of both the crisis of liberal democracy as a deliberative and representative political system and the emergence of fascism as a form of direct political communication between a political power and the public. My examination of Benjamin's analysis of the interplay between fascist politics and the mass media leads to a wider critical consideration of the function of political spectacle in the media age. In so doing, I seek to draw out its theoretical relevance for our critical understanding of the linkage between new media and democracy, be it 'new' or 'old' democracy.

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"I Want My Boy Back!"

Substitute Sons and Damsels in Distress

Jeffery P. Dennis

Three recent mass media texts are analyzed in which the object of rescue for a male hero is a teenage boy rather than the traditional damsel in distress. These rescues and their aftermaths display considerable slippage between custodial and romantic conventions, blurring the image of the hero as father and the hero as lover. It is argued that their function is to evoke the possibility of same-sex desire while safely pretending that same-sex desire does not exist.

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Harvey Hames

In the few years of great optimism leading up to the start of the second intifada in October 2000, I was charged with organizing a large conference which was to be held at my university, the theme of which was to be perceptions of the ‘other’ in the Middle East. The conference was supposed to involve members of all three monotheistic faiths, men of the cloth, as well as politicians, diplomats, people involved in education, in mass media from the region and from further afield.

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Mariano González-Delgado and Manuel Ferraz-Lorenzo

This article explains the approach to mass consumption developed in social studies textbooks in the early years of the transition to democracy in Spain. It begins by examining the way in which school textbooks represented consumer society and mass media in the late 1970s. This is followed by an in-depth explanation of the reasons that led the authors of these textbooks to choose one theoretical framework over another. Above all, this article emphasizes the complexity and variety of the historical materials used to represent consumer society, and how this process of social construction is reflected in the textbook content of the time.

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Marco Giuliani and Erik Jones

The year 2009 was a period of uncertainty, during which the Italian

political world appeared to be floundering and in need of a compass.

As evidenced by the chronological overview, many events continued

to beleaguer the political and social life in Italy. Some, such as the

result of the European elections and the escalation of the economic

crisis and its repercussions, were foreseen or, in any case, predictable.

Others, including the numerous scandals and irregularities that

tarnished the political year, continuously feeding the mass media with

distractions and nurturing the public debate with less then edifying

themes, were less expected.