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Media, Culture & Society

Impact factor: 1.092 5-Year impact factor: 1.149 Print ISSN: 0163-4437 Publisher: Sage Publications

Subjects: Sociology, Communication

Most recent papers:

  • Democracy, protest and public sphere in Russia after the 2011-2012 anti-government protests: digital media at stake.
    Denisova, A.
    Media, Culture & Society. December 09, 2016

    The 2011–2012 Russian protest mobilisations were largely enabled by the rise of social networks. Social and technological advancements paired to pave the way for the ‘biggest protests since the fall of USSR’. Ubiquitous and uncensored social media facilitated the networking and mobilisation for this protest activity: Liberal masses were able to share and discuss their grievances, unite and coordinate online for the offline protest. The digitally savvy protest public developed to confront the government, which appeared to be astonished by the scale of protest. Those mobilisations marked an important gap between the government’s conception of the society and the real state of resistance. This article studies three main hypotheses regarding the potential of the protest movement in Russia. The hypotheses were drawn from recent sociological, political and media studies on Russian resistance. Current research aims to contribute to the debate from the digital media perspective. It therefore evaluates three main assumptions: Digital media have the potential to empower, dependent upon the relevant political, social and economic factors; digital media isolates protest publics and therefore may be more useful for the government than the resistance; and recent censorship of digital media communication signals a tightening of both formal and informal restrictions against opposition and protest politics. This article uses theoretical and factual evidence on the limitations of democracy and the public sphere and conceptualises the government’s management of resistance in Russia during and after the 2011–2012 protests. It studies how the hybrid political regime in Russia balances restrictions on freedom of speech with strengthened state propaganda and how it mediates media oppression and invites self-censorship. Finally, it examines how the state communication watchdog has recently focused its attention at the digital realm. This move confirms the importance of the online protest communication for the Russian political environment. Yet the state’s acknowledgement of digital political resistance may lead to further oppression and curbing of this emerging component of Russian politics.

    December 09, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716682075   open full text
  • Television format as cultural technology transfer: importing a production format for daily drama.
    Keinonen, H.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 28, 2016

    Since the 1990s, TV formats have become an essential part of the global trade on television programmes. While many of the most popular television programmes today are format adaptations, theorisations on television formats have remained few. This article introduces production format as a specific type of television format. While television formats usually trade both programme content and a mode of production, production format solely contains information on how production can be best managed and organised. Production format can thus be studied as cultural technology transfer. A Finnish daily drama titled Salatut elämät serves as an example of importing and adapting a production format created by the Australian-based Grundy company. The article first presents some theorisations on television formats and reviews technology transfer theory, then tracing the origin of Grundy’s production format and analysing the acquisition and adaptation of the format in Finland. Finally, the production format is evaluated in both industrial and scholarly terms. By establishing a new concept for analysing television formats, the study will contribute to format studies and production studies.

    November 28, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716682076   open full text
  • Being publicly intimate: teenagers managing online privacy.
    Balleys, C., Coll, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 24, 2016

    Adults usually suspect teenagers not to care about their online privacy, although it has been shown that they manage privacy settings more frequently. Actually, adolescents develop a strategic management of privacy in order to translate it to social prestige. This article empirically shows how they rely on strong ties and get advantage on their online privacy in order to produce social and symbolic capital, namely, to show to peers that they grew out of childhood. It also shows that this production relies on a subtle balance between the public and private spheres. Indeed, they must conduct a representation of their private life on a public sphere in order to convince peers, who serve as an authority of legitimation, that they have an exclusive privacy.

    November 24, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716679033   open full text
  • Repositioning news and public connection in everyday life: a user-oriented perspective on inclusiveness, engagement, relevance, and constructiveness.
    Swart, J., Peters, C., Broersma, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 24, 2016

    News has traditionally served as a common ground, enabling people to connect to others and engage with the public issues they encounter in everyday life. This article revisits these theoretical debates about mediated public connection within the context of a digitalized news media landscape. While academic discussions surrounding these shifts are often explored in terms of normative ideals ascribed to political systems or civic cultures, we propose to reposition the debate by departing from the practices and preferences of the news user instead. Therefore, we deconstruct and translate the concept of public connection into four dimensions that emphasize people’s lived experiences: inclusiveness, engagement, relevance, and constructiveness. Situating these in an everyday life framework, this article advances a user-based perspective that considers the role of news for people in digital societies. Accordingly, it offers a conceptual framework that aims to encapsulate how news becomes meaningful, rather than why it should be.

    November 24, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716679034   open full text
  • Reconsidering mediatization of religion: Islamic televangelism in India.
    Eisenlohr, P.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 22, 2016

    This article proposes a rethinking of religion and mediatization by differentiating between two intersections of religion and media, public religion and religious mediation. I argue that whenever religious change that can be usefully described as mediatization occurs it can best be captured as an effect resulting from the interaction of these two dimensions. Extending the debate on religion and mediatization beyond Christian North Atlantic contexts, I compare two instances of Islamic televangelism in India in order to illustrate the diversity of configurations of public religion and religious mediation even within the same regional setting and religious tradition. My analysis greatly complicates an assessment of mediatization as the subsumption of religion under an extraneous media apparatus, pointing at the highly uneven nature of media-related religious transformation and the ongoing domestication of contemporary media practices into established religious paradigms.

    November 22, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716679032   open full text
  • Religious beings in fashionable bodies: the online identity construction of hijabi social media personalities.
    Kavakci, E., Kraeplin, C. R.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 21, 2016

    A ‘hijabista’ – from the terms hijabi and fashionista – is a Muslim woman who dresses ‘stylishly’ while still adhering to the rules governing ‘modest’ apparel that coincides with Islamic dress code. A handful of these digitally savvy young women have established an online presence, becoming social media personalities with hundreds of thousands, even millions, of ‘followers’ who avidly consume (read) their personal blogs and/or social media posts. This study examines new media, faith, and fragmentation online, where virtual spaces facilitate the construction (re-construction) of a digital identity or persona. We employ an approach that combines netnography and case study to examine the content generated by three high-profile hijabistas, or hijabi fashion and lifestyle bloggers, and build upon identity theory to determine how each has negotiated an online persona that privileges her religious or fashionable self.

    November 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716679031   open full text
  • Toward transformative media organizing: LGBTQ and Two-Spirit media work in the United States.
    Costanza-Chock, S., Schweidler, C., Transformative Media Organizing Project.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 04, 2016

    This article summarizes key findings from a strengths and needs assessment of media work by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer (LGBTQ) and Two-Spirit organizations in the United States, conducted in 2014–2015. This mixed-methods participatory research included a nationwide organizational survey with 231 respondents, 19 expert interviews, and a series of workshops with project partners and advisers. We found that despite scarce resources, many LGBTQ and Two-Spirit organizations have an intersectional analysis of linked systems of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other axes of identity and structural inequality. Many seek to do media work that develops the critical consciousness and leadership of their communities, create media in ways that are deeply accountable to their social base, use participatory approaches to media making, are strategic and cross-platform in their approach, and root their work in community action. We call this combination of characteristics transformative media organizing, and we believe it describes an emerging paradigm for social movement media practices in the current media landscape.

    November 04, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716674360   open full text
  • NPR Music: Remediation, curation, and National Public Radio in the digital convergence era.
    Cwynar, C.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 02, 2016

    This article considers National Public Radio’s (NPR) relationship with music and the web. I argue that the NPR Music project has successfully leveraged NPR’s perceived autonomy from commercial factors, sophisticated cultural sensibility, established audience, and unique network of member stations to become an important curator of music-based radio and music itself. Building on an emerging discussion of the politics of curation and publicity in the social media and streaming paradigm, this article extends the concept of ‘soundwork’ to argue that national public media organizations must increasingly both produce and curate content in order to compete for attention and engagement on the platform-based social web. As this case study of NPR Music demonstrates, these legacy institutions can leverage their valuable ‘national public’ identities in order to facilitate these activities, but this strategy threatens to undermine their legitimacy during a period in which ‘public’ is an increasingly contested and contingent term.

    November 02, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716674362   open full text
  • Reconsidering the 'Right to be Forgotten - memory rights and the right to memory in the new media era.
    Tirosh, N.
    Media, Culture & Society. October 24, 2016

    In 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) established the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ (RtbF). Since its establishment, more than 500,000 people filed requests with Google to be ‘de-listed’ from its search. At the same time, the Court’s decision has stirred debates focused on the tension the decision raised between a person’s right to privacy and freedom of expression. This study offers, yet, a different reading of the decision and its meaning. It first outlines the theoretical foundations of the concept of memory and its relation to rights. Then, it focuses on media, memory, and the RtbF. Afterward, the study discusses the legal origins of the RtbF and claims that the right is actually a right to construct one’s narrative. Therefore, in order to analyze the RtbF, this study places it within memory studies and analyzes it through its tools. From this perspective, this study criticizes the emphasis placed on forgetting in the definition of the right and problematizes its focus on individuals. Eventually, this study uses the legitimization the RtbF gives to a new discourse about memory in relation to rights in order to suggest an extended ‘right to memory’ that will answer the memory needs of our time.

    October 24, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716674361   open full text
  • Crowdfunding and the democratization of the music market.
    Galuszka, P., Brzozowska, B.
    Media, Culture & Society. October 20, 2016

    The article analyzes the phenomenon of crowdfunding from the perspective of its democratizing influence on the music market. Crowdfunding enables artists to finance the release of their records, which theoretically allows them to enter the music market without the intermediation of traditional record labels. By using empirical data, the article shows that the democratizing influence of crowdfunding is limited. This results partially from the difficulties of dealing with promotional activities traditionally conducted by record labels. In other words, neither crowdfunding platforms nor contributors have the power, connections, or know-how of traditional record labels.

    October 20, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716674364   open full text
  • Women, youth and everything else: age-based and gendered stereotypes in relation to digital technology among elderly Italian mobile phone users.
    Comunello, F., Fernandez Ardevol, M., Mulargia, S., Belotti, F.
    Media, Culture & Society. October 20, 2016

    In the context of an international research project on older people’s relations with and through mobile telephony, Italian participants spontaneously provided narrations on mobile phones that appeared to be structured around strong stereotypes. Respondents show a twofold representation of mobile phones either as a simple communication tool or as a ‘hi-tech’ device, which generates multifaceted stereotypes. More specifically, when the mobile phone is considered as a simple communication tool, age-based stereotypes address younger people’s bad manners, while gendered stereotypes depict women as ‘chatterboxes’ or ‘social groomers’. On the other hand, when the mobile phone is considered a ‘hi-tech’ device, age-based stereotypes underline younger people’s advanced user skills, while gendered stereotypes focus on women’s lack of competencies. Based on that, we provide a conceptual framework for analysing such stereotyped – and apparently conflicting – representations. Interestingly, while some issues also emerged in other countries, the masculine assumption that women are less-skilled mobile phone users appears as a peculiarity of Italian respondents.

    October 20, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716674363   open full text
  • Three tasks for mediatization research: contributions to an open agenda.
    Ekström, M., Fornäs, J., Jansson, A., Jerslev, A.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 16, 2016

    Based on the interdisciplinary experience of a Swedish research committee, this article discusses critical conceptual issues raised by the current debate on mediatization – a concept that holds great potential to constitute a space for synthesized understandings of media-related social transformations. In contrast to other, more metaphorical constructions, mediatization can be studied empirically in systematic ways through various sub-processes that together provide a complex picture of how culture and everyday life evolve in times of media saturation. The first part of this article argues that mediatization researchers have sometimes formulated too grand claims as to mediatization’s status as a unitary approach, a meta-theory or a paradigm. Such claims have led to problematic confusions around the concept and should be abandoned in favour of a more open agenda. In line with such a call for openness, the second part of the article introduces historicity, specificity and measurability as three transdisciplinary and transparadigmatic tasks for the contemporary mediatization research agenda.

    August 16, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716664857   open full text
  • Watching reality from a distance: class, genre and reality television.
    Stiernstedt, F., Jakobsson, P.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 15, 2016

    The cultural significance of reality television is based on its claim to represent social reality. On the level of genre, we might argue that reality television constructs a modern day panorama of the social world and its inhabitants and that it thus makes populations appear. This article presents a class analysis of the population of reality television in which 1 year of television programming and over 1000 participants have been analysed. The purpose of this analysis is to deepen our understanding of the cultural and ideological dimensions of reality television as a genre, and to give a more detailed picture of the imaginaries of class in this form of television. The results bring new knowledge about the reality television genre and modify or revise assumptions from previous studies. Most importantly, we show that upper-class people and people belonging to the social elite are strongly over-represented in the genre and appear much more commonly in reality television than in other genres. This result opens up a re-evaluation of the cultural and ideological dimensions of the reality television genre.

    August 15, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716663643   open full text
  • Toward an 'African take on the cultural and creative industries?
    De Beukelaer, C.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 11, 2016

    This article questions the extent to which ‘Africa’ can simply buy into the creative economy discourse. This is necessary because the relative lack of attention to the cultural and creative industries on the continent in the academic literature creates a double blind. First, the empirical context in which culture is created, traded, and consumed remains absent from the largely Western literature. Second, the same Western literature serves as a way to make cultural production on the African continent fit the notion of the cultural and creative industries. This creates a tension between the cultural and creative industries models and the context in which most cultural stakeholders on the continent work. My argument is that far greater empirical attention is needed to the practices in the cultural sector across the continent, because ‘Africa’ cannot simply pick and adopt a model, it needs to conceptualize and theorize its own models and approaches to the cultural industries for this discourse to become a useful tool.

    August 11, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716664856   open full text
  • Negotiating new German identities: transcultural comedy and the construction of pluralistic unity.
    Zambon, K.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 09, 2016

    This article explores the potential of entertainment media as a platform for challenging monolithic conceptions of national identity. Discussions about immigration in Germany usually concentrate on what minority communities need to do in order to become integrated, but neglect to consider how normative Germans must renegotiate German identity to include immigrants and minorities. German-language television often reinforces cultural divides through underrepresentation or stereotypical misrepresentation. However, several recent productions have sought to change German television by bringing normative audiences into the liminal space of transcultural Germany. In particular, two Turkish-German family comedies broke new ground with high-quality scripted narratives, distinct from the popular skit-based ‘ethno-comedies’ that began to appear in the 1990s and are still popular today. The more capacious story-telling space of scripted series is well-suited to developing complex characters. In particular, family series are studies in the tensions surrounding difference in community, with the distinct personalities of members responding differently to the same framing conditions. This article analyzes the characters and narratives of these programs in conjunction with their circulation in the public sphere to argue that family comedies provide forums for intercultural negotiation, even as they may risk reifying the stereotypical representations they seek to undermine.

    August 09, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716663640   open full text
  • The history of participatory practices: rethinking media genres in the history of user-generated content in 19th-century travel guidebooks.
    Alacovska, A.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 08, 2016

    This article charts the historical stability and continuity of participatory and crowdsourcing practices. Theoretically, it suggests that the blurring of the boundaries between audiences and producers, with the ensuing result of user-generated content, is by no means solely the upshot of new media technological affordances but largely a function of relatively stabilized, genre-specific formal and functional properties, or ‘genre affordances’. Certain referential and performative genres enable interaction between audiences, texts and producers independently of new media technologies because these genres constitute what matters for both producers and audiences in specific historical circumstances. Genres make available shared cultural, social and pragmatic resources for appropriate and desirable being, doing, feeling and thinking. Empirically, this article builds upon an archival study of co-production related to the specific genre of travel guidebooks. It investigates (a) audience feedback in the form of handwritten letters sent to John Murray, a venerable 19th-century British publishing house, and (b) the ways in which John Murray’s yesteryear guidebook producers actively solicited and implemented reader-authored content in professional production practice.

    August 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716663642   open full text
  • Where are we going? Parent-child television reality programmes in China.
    Keane, M., Zhang, J. D.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 03, 2016

    This article looks at the role of format television in the People’s Republic of China. It juxtaposes two key ideas: the ‘one format policy’ and the One Child Policy. Both are government restrictions intended to kerb reproduction. Formats provide a means for the reproduction of programming ideas, that is, they are generative. When formats ‘fit’ cultural understandings they can be remarkably successful, as with family oriented formats. Yet there is something unusual about China: in comparison to many international markets, China offers a unique demographic – those people born after 1978. The article examines a formatted programme called Where Are We Going, Dad?, introduced into China from South Korea, which illustrates a subgenre known as the ‘parent-child caring’ (qinzi) format. The article shows how this genre has capitalised on the interest in the health and future well-being of the One Child in China, as well as spinning off its own formatted offspring.

    August 03, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716663641   open full text
  • When dating shows encounter state censors: a case study of If You Are the One.
    Guo, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. May 09, 2016

    Postmillennial China has witnessed a surge of TV entertainment programs that constantly straddle the line between market demands and state mandate. Taking If You Are the One, a top-rated dating program that has evoked much controversy as a case study, this article seeks to expand current understanding of the entangled relationship between entertainment and politics in contemporary China. Delving into the critical juncture at which If You Are the One encounters state censors, this article illuminates how the official mandate has played a pivotal role in catalyzing the transformation of If You Are the One from a copycat of Western reality shows into one imprinted with Chinese characteristics. Moreover, the readiness and flexibility of those involved with television programming to negotiate, reciprocate, and adjust their stances characterize the nascent norm of television culture production. Thus, the way in which If You Are the One reinvents its agenda to meet state expectations, pacifies the irritated audience, and subsequently enhances its critical agency illustrates the mutually reconfiguring relationships between official, commercial, and mainstream forces.

    May 09, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716648492   open full text
  • Music, radio and mediatization.
    Michelsen, M., Krogh, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. May 09, 2016

    Mediatization has become a key concept for understanding the relations between media and other cultural and social fields. Contributing to the discussions related to the concept of mediatization, this article discusses how practices of radio and music(al life) influence each other. We follow Deacon’s and Stanyer’s advice to supplement the concept of mediatization with ‘a series of additional concepts at lower levels of abstraction’ and suggest, in this respect, the notion of heterogeneous milieus of music–radio. Hereby, we turn away from the all-encompassing perspectives related to the concept of mediatization where media as such seem to be ascribed agency. Instead, we consider historical accounts of music–radio in order to address the complex non-linearity of concrete processes of mediatization as they take place in the multiple meetings between a decentred notion of radio and musical life.

    May 09, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716648494   open full text
  • Inventing traditions: television dating shows in the Peoples Republic of China.
    Wang, P.
    Media, Culture & Society. May 06, 2016

    Chinese dating shows emerged in the late 1980s and initially were a space for marriage advertisement for individuals. It has then evolved into an entertainment arena for singles to show talent, discuss, and interact with one another. The evolution of the shows not only reflects the changing preference of television viewers but also testifies the broader changes of social and gender relations, media regulations, as well as the different values and identities across generations. By examining the invention and reinvention processes of China’s television dating shows, the article argues that dating shows played a significant role in advancing traditional marriage matchmaking culture through (re)invention of new traditions. In doing so, it has not only created new television genres but also mobilized the audience to discuss love and marriage and to voice their opinions on a rapidly changing society.

    May 06, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716648493   open full text
  • A nuclear cyberia: interfacing science, culture and 'e-thnography of an Indian townships social media.
    Kaur, R.
    Media, Culture & Society. May 05, 2016

    The article’s aims are twofold – to investigate the potentials and limitations of online ethnography and to delineate the discursive dynamics of Indian technoscientific cultures as evident on a nuclear township’s online social network site. Technoscientific cultures of the south cannot be simply seen through a postcolonial lens in terms of north–south tensions over the global political economy or merely through a developmentalist paradigm. There are more complex and illuminating territories with which to appreciate such cultures through the eyes of their protagonists. I note that while Weberian trends towards bureaucratisation are discernible among Indian nuclear technocrats, there is also a considerable counter-narrative in which there is a ‘reconstitution of the cultural’ that demonstrates a strong proclivity towards reinventing particular strains of religio-cultural discourse. I illustrate these dynamics by providing an ‘e-thnography’ of the material posted on the social network site set up in 2010 by scientists who live in a nuclear township in Mumbai. In so doing, I diverge from liberal human-centric understandings of the context of media technologies to consider critical junctures where the subject interfaces with informational technologies in such a manner that notions of the centred and corporeal self dissipate, but traces of his or her embodied self remain.

    May 05, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643156   open full text
  • 'We are not North Korea: propaganda and professionalism in the Peoples Republic of China.
    Simons, M., Nolan, D., Wright, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. May 04, 2016

    This article draws on an empirical analysis of the testimonies of Chinese journalists to (re)consider the nature of professionalism in contemporary Chinese journalism. We draw on earlier work by a number of scholars to develop an analysis of the testimonies in order to trace both how professionalism is shaped by cultural, social, organizational, institutional and political influences, and how these work to shape everyday journalistic practices and outputs. We conclude that professionalization is best understood not as a shift towards an ideal version of autonomous, public service–oriented journalism, but instead as a process informed by diverse and somewhat contradictory influences, including many that are internal to China as well as some that are near universal. Not only are journalists clearly concerned to be distinguished from ‘propagandists’, but editors also engage in tactical practices and organizational strategies that allow a meaningful autonomy from the state. These are not only influenced by conflicting normative discourses of journalism but have also become both a necessity for establishing the legitimacy of individual journalists and news institutions and to facilitate their viability in highly competitive news markets.

    May 04, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643154   open full text
  • How gaming became sexist: a study of UK gaming magazines 1981-1995.
    Kirkpatrick, G.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 29, 2016

    Computer gaming was not born sexist but was codified as an exclusively male practice as it peeled itself away from the rest of the burgeoning computer culture in the mid-1980s. This article traces the development of gaming’s gender bias through a discourse analysis of gaming magazines published in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1995. In their early years (1981–1985), these publications present a milieu that was reflective on gender issues and concerned to include female participants. However, from 1987, the rhetorical framing of computer games, gaming and gamer performance was increasingly gender-exclusive and focused on the re-enforcement of stereotypically masculine values, albeit that much of this discourse had a humorous and ironic inflection. The article presents this as the gender-biased articulation of gaming discourse. Instead of viewing the gendering of computer games as something they inherited from previous kinds of games and activities, the article argues that the political economy of the gaming industry in the second half of the 1980s created specific conditions under which games and gaming were coded as exclusively masculine.

    April 29, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716646177   open full text
  • The digital mundane: social media and the military.
    Maltby, S., Thornham, H.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 27, 2016

    This article draws on empirical data with British military personnel in order to investigate what we call the digital mundane in military life. We argue that social media and smartphone technologies within the military offer a unique environment in which to investigate the ways individuals position themselves within certain axes of institutional and cultural identities. At the same time, the convolutions, mediatory practices and mundane social media rituals that service personnel employ through their smartphones resonate widely with, for example, youth culture and digital mobile cultures. Together, they suggest complex mediations with social and mobile media that draw on and extend non-military practice into new (and increasingly normative) terrains.

    April 27, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716646173   open full text
  • The emergence of the anti-Hallyu movement in China.
    Chen, L.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 27, 2016

    This research focuses on the newly emerged phenomenon of the anti-Hallyu movement in the Chinese online community and maps the dynamics of anti-Hallyu sentiment.

    April 27, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716646176   open full text
  • Loving Ebola-chan: Internet memes in an epidemic.
    Marcus, O. R., Singer, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 25, 2016

    In this article, the authors provide a layered analysis of Ebola-chan, a visual cultural artifact of the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak. Rather than considering her as a two-dimensional anime character (i.e. as a simple iconic coping mechanism and/or a fear response), this recent Internet meme is analyzed using an integrated semiotic and structural approach that involves discussion of the genesis of disaster humor in light of the changing world of the Internet, the history of anthropomorphism of disease, and the biosocial nature of an infectious disease epidemic. Our analysis is designed to advance both the anthropology of the Internet and the anthropology of infectious disease. As a multi-vocal symbol with different meanings for different audiences, Ebola-chan represents a social response to a lethal epidemic in the digital age.

    April 25, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716646174   open full text
  • An arson spree in college town: community enhancement through media convergence.
    Wynn, J.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 25, 2016

    Fears of media and technology undermining ‘community’ have persisted for half a century. It is believed that, in the digital age, place-based collectivities of people become isolated and individualized through media and technology, replacing ‘place-based’ communities with placeless ‘communities of interest’. While this greater trend may well exist, it is hardly uniform. This research examines how sufficiently flexible technologies and media can do the exact opposite: reinforce neighborhood ties and affirm a sense of community, particularly in times of crisis. A singular event, an arson spree, can create a bevy of bounded information for analysis. What unfolds is an image of a community enhanced by social media, providing a new perspective for both areas of research. Rather than using broad survey data, this study examines community through the prism of these fires to reinforce findings on community connection and identity and offers new suggestions for research.

    April 25, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716646175   open full text
  • Capitalism and the media: moral economy, well-being and capabilities.
    Hesmondhalgh, D.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 21, 2016

    This article aims to contribute to the renewal of consideration of media and culture under capitalism, by seeking solid normative foundations for critique via various compatible elements: moral economy, well-being understood as flourishing and Sen and Nussbaum’s capabilities approach. Insufficient attention has been paid to normative and conceptual issues concerning capitalism, media and culture. Moral economy approaches might help fill this gap by valuably providing a richly critical ethics-based approach, drawing on political economy, cultural studies and social theory. Two further concepts, compatible with moral economy, can reinvigorate and renew critique of capitalism, media and culture. The first is a particular (Aristotelian) conception of well-being, understood as flourishing. This is outlined, and its potential contribution to critique of media and culture under capitalism is explicated. The second concept is capabilities, which can provide a basis for dealing with different understandings of flourishing. The article outlines the capabilities approach, analyses rare applications of it to media and culture, and explains how these applications might be built upon, by developing Nussbaum’s work in a way that could ground critique in an understanding of the potential value of media and culture in contributing to people’s flourishing.

    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643153   open full text
  • Fit for prosumption: interactivity and the second fitness boom.
    Millington, B.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 21, 2016

    This article advances the claim that a new ‘fitness boom’ has arrived, one marked by the proliferation of devices such as wearable fitness trackers. The first fitness boom of the 1970s/1980s was characterized by the heightened availability of fitness ‘tools’ and the supposition that pursuing a ‘fit’ lifestyle was tantamount to responsible living. The new era in fitness intensifies foregoing fitness trends, rather than departing from them completely. Specifically, the second fitness boom is deemed to be characterized by the following traits: (1) the manifestation of socio-technical networks, (2) an emphasis on human–technology interactivity, (3) data-intensiveness, (4) customization in the interest of ‘optimization’, (5) the option for individual users to partake in wider online communities and, finally, (6) both ‘new’ and ‘old’ forms of commodification. With these characteristics in mind, a case is made that fitness is a site for prosumption – production and consumption together – now more so than ever. More importantly, fitness is a site for automated prosumption in that fitness data can be generated with limited effort from fitness participants. Consideration is given to the significance of automated prosumption in the fitness realm as it pertains to fitness and to the notion of prosumption both.

    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643150   open full text
  • Governance by algorithms: reality construction by algorithmic selection on the Internet.
    Just, N., Latzer, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 21, 2016

    This article explores the governance by algorithms in information societies. Theoretically, it builds on (co-)evolutionary innovation studies in order to adequately grasp the interplay of technological and societal change and combines these with institutional approaches to incorporate governance by technology or rather software as institutions. Methodologically, it draws from an empirical survey of Internet-based services that rely on automated algorithmic selection, a functional typology derived from it, and an analysis of associated potential social risks. It shows how algorithmic selection has become a growing source of social order, of a shared social reality in information societies. It argues that – similar to the construction of realities by traditional mass media – automated algorithmic selection applications shape daily lives and realities, affect the perception of the world, and influence behavior. However, the co-evolutionary perspective on algorithms as institutions, ideologies, intermediaries, and actors highlights differences that are to be found, first, in the growing personalization of constructed realities and, second, in the constellation of involved actors. Altogether, compared to reality construction by traditional mass media, algorithmic reality construction tends to increase individualization, commercialization, inequalities, and deterritorialization and to decrease transparency, controllability, and predictability.

    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643157   open full text
  • Towards a historical understanding of the media event.
    Ytreberg, E.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 21, 2016

    The English-language research tradition of studying media events is widely considered to have started with Dayan and Katz’ Media Events. This seminal work is characterised by an emphasis on liveness and broadcast technology as conditions of eventfulness. The German-language tradition of research on historical media events provides a very different approach to studying media events, starting from the 16th-century advent of mechanical production and distribution. Bringing together these strands of research, the article argues for a deepening of the historical dimension in conceiving of media events. After a critical review of the English-language tradition and an overview of key media-historical research contributions particularly from Germany, it discusses three main themes: the role of temporal acceleration over time by means of media technologies; the role of premeditation in events and the tradition of discussing media-generated events as ‘pseudo-events’, and the historically shifting relationships between mediated and non-mediated communication in the event. By way of conclusion, the article relates a historical perspective on media events to recent research and discussion around mediatisation.

    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643155   open full text
  • Post-feminism for children: feminism 'repackaged in the Bratz films.
    Becker, S., Thomas, D., Cope, M. R.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 21, 2016

    After their release in 2001, Bratz dolls carved into Barbie’s previously monopolistic share of teen doll sales. Amidst their growing popularity, cultural critics expressed a host of concerns about Bratz dolls, especially over how they sexualize youth, but the line grew to include a host of products like costumes, makeup kits, games, books, clothing, and movies. It also inspired new, similar doll lines from other toy companies. In this article, we situate the Bratz’s popularity in a specific cultural moment tied to the history of modern feminism. We use a content analysis of the Bratz movie series to explore the feminist and post-feminist thematics it contains. We identify the images of girlhood that are being marketed through the films and explore how the series repackages not only girlhood but also feminism itself in a way that encourages girls to exchange political power for purchasing power.

    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643218   open full text
  • 'Our time to act has come: desynchronization, social media time andprotest movements.
    Kaun, A.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 21, 2016

    Protest movements have successfully adopted media technologies to promote their causes and mobilize large numbers of supporters. Especially social media that are considered as low-cost and time-saving alternatives have played particularly important roles in recent mobilizations. There is, however, a growing concern about the contradictions between long-term organizing for progressive, social change, on one hand, and the media technologies employed, on the other. Hartmut Rosa has argued that the current culture of accelerated capitalism is characterized by a growing desynchronization between political practices (slow politics) and the economic system (fast capitalism). This article traces the increasing social acceleration related to (media) technologies employed by protest activists and asks whether there is an increasing desynchronization with their political practices discernible. Furthermore, the article investigates strategies of resistance to overcome the growing gap between ‘machine time’ and political time. Empirically, the article builds on archival material and in-depth interviews documenting the media practices of the unemployed workers’ movement (1930s), the tenants’ movement (1970s) and the Occupy Wall Street Movement (2011/2012) and argues for the need to re-politicize media infrastructures as means of communication in order to tackle democratic problems that emerge from the divergent temporalities.

    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716646178   open full text
  • Fandom and coercive empowerment: the commissioned production of Chinese online literature.
    Tian, X., Adorjan, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 21, 2016

    This article examines how the relationship between consumers and producers of cultural products is shaped by the proprietary nature of digital platforms. Drawing on 4 years of online observation and analysis, we examine the relationship between the producers of online Chinese fiction, amateur writers, and their consumers, that is, the fan communities of readers who respond to their work. Enabled by Chinese literary websites, readers act like sponsors who provide emotional and financial incentives for writers to produce online fictions by commenting, voting, and sending money. Readers become actively involved not just because of the content of the stories but because they form strong commitments to stories and their writers, and gain reciprocity and a sense of self-determination during the interactional process. We argue that although writers are freer from state control online, they are still beholden to the whims of their fans because of what we call the commissioned production of fictions. We contribute to fan community studies by analyzing how commercialized website settings structure the strategies available to participants, how these settings affect the content of the cultural products, and how the Chinese historical and cultural contexts impact the dynamics of the online community.

    April 21, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716646172   open full text
  • Everyday life and locative play: an exploration of Foursquare and playful engagements with space and place.
    Saker, M., Evans, L.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 19, 2016

    Foursquare is a location-based social network (LBSN) that combines gaming elements with features conventionally associated with social networking sites (SNSs). Following two qualitative studies, this article sets out to explore what impact this overlaying of physical environments with play has on everyday life and experiences of space and place. Drawing on early understandings of play, alongside the flâneur and ‘phoneur’ as respective methods for conceptualizing play in the context of mobility and urbanity, this article examines whether the suggested division between play and ordinary life is challenged by Foursquare, and if so, how this reframing of play is experienced. Second, this article investigates what effect this LBSN has on mobility choices and spatial relationships. Finally, the novel concept of the ‘phoneur’ is posited as a way of understanding how pervasive play through LBSNs acts as a mediating influence on the experience of space and place.

    April 19, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643149   open full text
  • 'These cameras are here for a reason - media coming out, symbolic power and the value of 'participation: behind the scenes of the Dutch reality programme Uit de Kast.
    Boross, B., Reijnders, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 18, 2016

    This article addresses the increasing popularity of coming out as mediatized practice, by focusing on the example of the internationally successful Dutch television programme Uit de Kast (‘Out of the Closet’). While the choice of coming out in front of the cameras is often received controversially both by the public and the protagonists’ immediate environment, youngsters keep applying to participate in the programme. To understand the continuous appeal of this form of self-disclosure, in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 participants from different seasons about their motivations, experiences and evaluations of taking part in the show. By following their journey into the world of media production, this article highlights the implications of media participation for the process of coming out, as related to questions of empowerment, visibility and agency, and ultimately, to the perceived symbolic value of (participating in) broadcast media in the new media age.

    April 18, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716643152   open full text
  • Messy interviews: changing conditions for politicians visibility on the web.
    Kroon, A., Eriksson, G.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 23, 2016

    This article provides an updated analysis relating to John B. Thompson’s argument about political visibility and fragility. It does so in light of recent years’ development of communication technologies and the proliferation of nonbroadcasting media organizations producing TV. Instances of a new mediated encounter for politicians is analyzed in detail – the live web interview – produced and streamed by two Swedish tabloids during election campaigning 2014. It is argued that the live web interview is not yet a recognizable ‘communicative activity type’ with an obvious set of norms, rules, and routines. This fact makes politicians more intensely exposed to moments of mediated fragility which may be difficult to control. The most crucial condition that changes how politicians are able to manage their visibility is the constantly rolling ‘non-exclusive’ live camera which does not give the politician any room for error. The tabloids do not seem to mind ‘things going a bit wrong’ while airing; rather, interactional flaws are argued to be part and parcel of the overall web TV performance.

    March 23, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635865   open full text
  • Celebrity capital in the political field: Russell Brands migration from stand-up comedy to Newsnight.
    Arthurs, J., Shaw, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 17, 2016

    Our case study of charismatic celebrity comedian Russell Brand’s turn to political activism uses Bourdieu’s field theory to understand the process of celebrity migration across social fields. We investigate how Brand’s capital as a celebrity performer, storyteller and self-publicist translated from comedy to politics. To judge how this worked in practice, we analysed the comedic strategies used in his stand-up show Messiah Complex and undertook a conversational analysis of his notorious interview with Jeremy Paxman on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight. We argue that Brand was able to secure political legitimacy by creatively constituting himself as an authentic anti-austerity spokesperson for the disenfranchised left in United Kingdom. In order to do so, he repurposed his celebrity capital to political ends and successfully deployed the cultural and social capitals he had developed as a celebrity comedian to secure widespread engagement with his media performances.

    March 17, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635869   open full text
  • Power plays and Olympic divisions: bilingualism and the politics of Canadian viewing rights at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
    Scherer, J., Harvey, J.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 10, 2016

    There have been innumerable political debates around the world over the distribution of live sporting events in the digital era. Typically, these deliberations involve competing claims and interests associated with sport, commerce, cultural and broadcasting policies, and, at times, language rights. This article examines a recent debate in Canada over unequal access to live French-language coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games that prompted several interventions by public authorities and francophone community organizations. These interventions were required precisely because of the economic structure of the broadcasting market and the historical conditions of Canadian broadcasting policy. Indeed, unlike other nations, the Canadian state has not enacted legislation to protect the ‘viewing rights’ of citizens to have access to live telecasts of sporting events of national significance in both official languages. The debate was significant, then, precisely because it revolved around a central political commitment of the state: the principle of bilingualism. Moreover, the deliberations underscored the historical tensions between the material interests of the sport–media complex and the viewing rights of Canadians to have access to telecasts of sport in both official languages, and, by extension, the constitutional language rights of citizens enshrined in the Official Languages Act (1969).

    March 10, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635859   open full text
  • Negotiating the 'real in 'reality shows: production side discourses between deconstruction and reconstruction.
    Mast, J.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 10, 2016

    In this study, we set out to elaborate configurations of the ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ in the discourses of program makers and participants of ‘reality shows’. This production side perspective has more often been the object, rather than the subject, in the debate. We develop our argument through a theoretically informed discussion at the intersection of cultural and documentary studies. Our analysis proceeds through a thematic content analysis of 39 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 14 television professionals and 25 participants involved in the production of formats belonging to various subgenres, all with a border-crossing circulation. The analysis demonstrates that when gauging ‘the real’ in ‘reality shows’, participants and program makers do not subscribe to a ‘naïve realistic’ celebration, as the ‘reality TV’ denominator may suggest, yet, nonetheless still strongly invest in a sense of the ‘real’ or ‘authentic’. As such, they engage in a sophisticated, dynamic and, so it could be argued, strategic shifting to-and-fro deconstructive and reconstructive positions. What ensues from this dialog between deconstruction and reconstruction is a conception of the ‘reality show’ as a nodal point of the multiple and ever-evolving configurations of the ‘real’ and the ‘authentic’ in a reflexive, media-savvy culture.

    March 10, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635860   open full text
  • We are one Kenya: representations of the nation, leadership, and de-ethnicized identity on reality TV.
    Tully, M., Tuwei, D.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 08, 2016

    This research analyzes Uongozi, a massive multimodal civic education campaign that culminated in the Uongozi reality television show, situating the campaign within its socio-political context. Our analysis suggests that Uongozi framed and promoted a version of leadership that is tied to an idealized progressive, youth leader despite the lack of quality youth ‘candidates’ on the show. The campaign also endorsed a message of national unity and identity, articulated through the promotion of a nonethnic collective Kenyan identity. Uongozi contributed to a larger pre-election narrative promulgated through mass media efforts that encouraged Kenyans to move beyond ethnicity in their voting and participate in a peaceful election.

    March 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635868   open full text
  • State celebrity, institutional charisma and the public sphere: managing scandal at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
    Cormack, P. C., Cosgrave, J. F.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 08, 2016

    This article investigates the rise and scandalous fall of celebrity host Jian Ghomeshi within the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). We draw upon Althusser’s conception of the Ideological State Apparatus to analyse how the CBC made use of Jian Ghomeshi as a state celebrity to ‘hail’ the audience/citizen and contribute to the CBC’s ‘institutional charisma’. The discussion also demonstrates the dependence of the CBC on types of legitimate authority in its efforts to manage the scandal and invoke its cultural and moral authority in the Canadian national–cultural context. We demonstrate that the CBC made use of its status as a rational–legal employer and as a moral guardian of the public sphere to compartmentalize itself against scandal and retrench as a public institution.

    March 08, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635867   open full text
  • 'As British as fish and chips: British newspaper representations of Mo Farah during the 2012 London Olympic Games.
    Black, J.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 07, 2016

    This article examines British newspaper representations of the ‘Team GB’ athlete Mohamed ‘Mo’ Farah during the 2012 London Olympic Games. In particular, attention is given to examining how representations of Farah were related to discourses on British multiculturalism. A brief discussion of recent rejections of multiculturalism is provided, with specific reference given to political and public calls for immigrants to assimilate with ‘British values’. By turning away from a dichotomous understanding of assimilation, this article suggests that processes of assimilation reflect a complicated coalescence of national inclusion and exclusion. That is, rather than simply highlighting how the national press serve to reproduce simple ‘us’ and ‘them’ binaries, this article draws upon Elias and Scotson’s established–outsider perspective in order to examine how the discursive construction of the ‘nation’ rests upon a dynamic process of identifying and managing ‘outsider’ individuals. As a result, while ‘outsider’ groups are frequently subjected to negative media portrayals, it is argued that Farah’s significance was underscored by discourses that sought to highlight his assimilated Britishness and through his promotion as a symbol of Britain’s achieved multiculturalism.

    March 07, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635863   open full text
  • Metaphors of free labor: a typology of unpaid work in the media sector.
    Fast, K., Örnebring, H., Karlsson, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 07, 2016

    Over the last decade, free labor has emerged as a key analytical tool for understanding new or semi-new forms of labor in the contemporary digital economy. This article critiques and develops this concept, with specific reference to work in the media industries, by presenting a historically grounded typology of free labor that also highlights some of the analytical problems with the current use of the concept. Our typology presents seven metaphors of free labor based on historical instances of roles people have taken on when performing unpaid labor: those of The Slave, The Carer, The Apprentice, The Prospector, The Hobbyist, The Volunteer, and The Patsy. A key conclusion is that free labor is performed by different actors at either end of increasingly complex and temporally stretched out value chains. This necessitates a more fine-grained and historicized use of the concept of free labor.

    March 07, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635861   open full text
  • Inventing the 'authentic self: American television and Chinese audiences in global Beijing.
    Gao, Y.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 02, 2016

    This article examines the ways educated urban Chinese youths engage American television fiction as part of their identity work. Drawing on theories of modern reflexive identity and based on 29 interviews with US TV fans among university students in Beijing, I found these youths are drawn to this television primarily because they perceive the American way of life portrayed on it as more ‘authentic’. This perception of authenticity must be examined within the sociocultural milieu these students inhabit. Specifically, torn between China’s ingrained collectivist culture and its recent neoliberal emphasis on the individual self, my respondents glean from US TV messages about how to live a spontaneous, nonconforming, and fulfilled life while remaining properly Chinese. By inspecting the ways these youths employ foreign symbolic materials to interrogate their own identity and life, this article demonstrates how transnational media consumption informs lived experiences for a historically unique and important Chinese demographic.

    March 02, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635870   open full text
  • Collective memory mobilization and Tiananmen commemoration in Hong Kong.
    Lee, F. L., Chan, J. M.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 02, 2016

    Collective memory about past events needs to be ‘recalled’ to influence current happenings. Social movements relying on collective memory to articulate and legitimize their identity and causes thus need to engage in memory mobilization, that is, organized efforts to bring collective memory to the fore for the purposes of social mobilization. This article examines and reconstructs the process of memory mobilization through the news media in the case of Tiananmen commemoration in Hong Kong. The analysis shows that social organizations attempted to make news through scheduling their actions in association with multiple temporalities and through engaging the established political institutions on the issue. The news media served as both messengers and mobilizers. Meanwhile, attempts to contest the movement’s representation of Tiananmen inadvertently contributed to memory mobilization due to the power of the dominant collective memory. The article illustrates how the dynamics of memory mobilization can impinge on commemoration of past events.

    March 02, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635864   open full text
  • Strategic witnessing in an age of video activism.
    Ristovska, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 02, 2016

    Witnessing is infused in ethical and legal discourses that operate within the matrix of knowledge, responsibility, and action. Through an analysis of the non-governmental organization WITNESS, this article shows how this matrix has been at the heart of the development of professionalized human rights video activism that emphasizes goal-driven, tactical and audience-oriented approaches to witness documentation. By professionalizing video activism, human rights organizations like WITNESS configure the act of bearing witness as a form of social activism that differs from longstanding modes of activist involvement. Using the term strategic witnessing to describe this development, this article suggests a conceptual framework through which we can think about evolving forms of media witnessing in the contemporary media moment.

    March 02, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635866   open full text
  • Political scandal at the end of ideology? The mediatized politics of the Bo Xilai case.
    Meng, B.
    Media, Culture & Society. March 01, 2016

    In this article, I use the high-profile Bo Xilai case to illustrate the dialectics of media and politics in contemporary China. I start by explaining some of the similarities and key differences between mediatized politics in the West and in China. This leads to an emphasis on the ideological dimension of media logic that is largely missing from discussions derived from a liberal democratic context. I then analyze the dialectics of the mediatized ideological struggle and politicized media logic running through the Bo Xilai scandal. In the last section, I summarize the theoretical contributions that the Chinese case makes to the study of mediatized politics.

    March 01, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443716635858   open full text
  • No alternative to austerity: how BBC broadcast news reported the deficit debate.
    Berry, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. February 09, 2016

    This article examines how BBC News at Ten covered the emergence of the UK public deficit debate in 2009. A total of 25 days of coverage drawn from the first seven months of 2009 were subject to a source and thematic content analysis to examine how news bulletins explained the emergence, consequences and possible solutions to the rise in the public deficit. Results indicated that political and financial elites dominated coverage. The consequence was that the news reproduced a very limited range of opinion on the implications and potential strategies for deficit reduction. The view that Britain was in danger of being abandoned by its international creditors with serious economic consequences was unchallenged and repeatedly endorsed by journalists. Despite their limited record of success during recessions, austerity policies dominated discussion of possible solutions to the rise in the deficit. This research thus raises questions about impartiality and the watchdog role of public service journalism.

    February 09, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620931   open full text
  • Framing referendum campaigns: the 2014 Scottish independence referendum in the press.
    Dekavalla, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. January 19, 2016

    This article explores the framing of referendum campaigns in the press and its relationship to the framing of elections. Drawing from an empirical analysis of the newspaper coverage of the 2014 Scottish referendum and from previous research on campaigns in different contexts, it finds that frames associated with elections, like the strategic game and policy frames, were also dominant in the framing of the referendum. It argues that by framing the independence debate in similar terms to other electoral contests, the press promoted an understanding of this event as being about pragmatic decision-making on policy and political competition, rather than purely a decision about constitutional matters of self-determination.

    January 19, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620929   open full text
  • The economic, social and ontological security of Polish post-accession migrants in popular media narratives.
    Dzieglewski, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. January 19, 2016

    The article is based on extensive analysis of the general assumptions on the Polish post-accession migrants’ trajectories imprinted within the narratives of popular TV programmes. The depiction of migrants in the Polish media is analysed in reference to Alfred Schütz’s figures of the Stranger and the Homecomer as metaphors of the very situation of being a migrant. The empirical data come from two popular Polish productions: the docu-soap ‘Wyjechani’ (The Leavers) and the soap opera ‘Londyłczycy’ (The Londoners) in which we identified 59 migrant characters. The analysis of the narratives of their life trajectory leads one to the conclusion that migration from Poland is depicted as a source of an individual’s feeling of insecurity at the economic, social or ontological level. The article reveals the representations of migrants’ career mobility abroad, the relations to their co-ethnics and the indigenous population, and their sense of cultural identity. The final result of the study is a conceptual map with the general assumptions on migrants’ economic, social and ontological security imprinted in media narratives.

    January 19, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620930   open full text
  • Televising South Africas Truth and Reconciliation Commission: what liveness tells us about the commission; what the commission tells us about liveness.
    Evans, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. January 18, 2016

    Contrary to existing scholarship on the broadcasting of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, this article argues that the televising of hearings did not constitute a ‘media event’, as defined by Dayan and Katz. Based on a qualitative analysis of the only two live broadcasts, a glance at viewership statistics and discussions with media personnel, the article attempts to uncover what media events can tell us about the Commission and what the Commission can tell us about the media events. The article argues that the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) decision to ‘go live’ – with the opening hearing and the broadcasting of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s testimony – demonstrates the ways in which the controversial amnesty provision provided loopholes that altered the original expectations of the Commission’s work over time, leading to the African National Congress’s (ANC) eventual dissociation from it. Additionally, the article argues that complex, unpredictable and contested content – usually the subject of national commissions of inquiry – is unsuited to the media event genre.

    January 18, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620926   open full text
  • Ethnic media, conflict, and the nation-state: Kurdish broadcasting in Turkey and Europe and mediated nationhood.
    Smets, K.
    Media, Culture & Society. January 12, 2016

    Drawing on fieldwork among Kurdish broadcasters in Turkey and Europe, this article shows how ethnic media mediate nationhood in a conflict context. Despite rising interest in the media–nationhood nexus, and the expansion of studies on ethnic media, little is known about ethnic media in conflicts involving state and non-state actors. This study investigates three Kurdish broadcasters, Roj-TV, Gün-TV, and TRT-6. The collected data include expert interviews and informal conversations with employees. Through a grounded theory approach, a model is developed that proposes four modes of mediated nationhood, in which the relation to the state and the role of ethnicity are key elements. Next, it is demonstrated how mediated nationhood in conflicts is characterized by multiple constraints, and how this affects the perceived roles and ethnic belongings among media professionals.

    January 12, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620928   open full text
  • Political conversations on Facebook - the participation of politicians and citizens.
    Sorensen, M. P.
    Media, Culture & Society. January 11, 2016

    Political conversations are according to theories on deliberative democracy essential to well-functioning democracies. Traditionally, these conversations have taken place in face-to-face settings, for example, in party meetings and town meetings. However, social media such as Facebook and Twitter offer new possibilities for online political conversations between citizens and politicians. This article examines the presence on Facebook and Twitter of Members of the Danish National Parliament, the Folketing, and focusses on a quantitative mapping of the political conversation activities taking place in the threads following Facebook posts from Danish Members of Parliament (MPs). The article shows that, in comparison with previous findings from other countries, Danish MPs have a relatively high degree of engagement in political conversations with citizens on Facebook – and that a large number of citizens follow MPs, read posts from the MPs and discuss politics with them and other citizens via the posts made by the MPs.

    January 11, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620924   open full text
  • Limited interests, resources, voices: power relations in mainstream news coverage of Indigenous policy in Australia.
    Mesikämmen, E.
    Media, Culture & Society. January 11, 2016

    Recognising the importance of who gets to speak in constructing knowledges about Indigenous peoples, this article examines power relations regarding mainstream news coverage of the Indigenous policy of Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) in Australia. Integrating content and discourse analysis of newspaper and television stories over a 3-year timeframe with interviews with journalists, this article found media coverage of the NTER, commonly known as the Intervention, followed a pattern of decline, with occasional peaks around events that were newsworthy through the lens of conventional news values. Further, analysis of three key discourse moments found ‘official’ discourses, particularly by the government, overpowered those of Indigenous peoples living under the policy. This article demonstrates how particular journalistic practices – news values, ideas of audiences, and use of sources – together with resource limitations and discursive practices of government provided dominant discursive power on the Intervention to government representatives. The article concludes that daily routines of news media and discursive practices of media savvy social actors perceived as ‘official’ or ‘expert’ by media professionals form a ‘vicious cycle’ of two-way dependence which is hard to break for potential sources with less official status, such as representatives of various Indigenous communities.

    January 11, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620927   open full text
  • Pinning the feminine user: gender scripts in Pinterests sign-up interface.
    Friz, A., Gehl, R. W.
    Media, Culture & Society. January 11, 2016

    Popular social media site Pinterest is known for its strong female user base, something often attributed to the links, images, and ideas available on it. We argue that Pinterest’s popularity with women can also be attributed to a kind of gendering that occurs during the sign-up process. We see the sign-up process as a ‘gender script’ that inscribes specific gender performances into Pinterest itself by ‘pre-scribing’ adherence to a dualistic conception of gender and encouraging users to cooperate rather than to compete with each other, to curate content rather than to create it, and to interact affectively with images rather than with text. These behaviors have connections in the broader public imaginary to traditional performances of femininity, thus the kind of introduction and instruction the new user receives when signing up encourage a perception that Pinterest is for women, a perception that is then materialized in user behaviors. We close by arguing for the sign-up interface as an important site of study in new media scholarship and by discussing the ways in which gender scripts might be resisted.

    January 11, 2016   doi: 10.1177/0163443715620925   open full text
  • 'You are the first journalist and you are the last journalist who will ever come here: Nuclear secrets and media practices of access-trespass.
    Mukherjee, R.
    Media, Culture & Society. December 16, 2015

    In India, information about nuclear technologies is often kept shrouded in secrecy. Science reporters covering such strategic sectors depend for information on cultivating sources and pursuing contacts in the nuclear establishment. Based on in-depth interviews with two science/environmental journalists and analysis of their television reports and magazine articles, I show how journalists are acutely aware of their role as mediators between scientists and their complex technological projects on the one hand and the general public on the other. Reporting on ‘secret’ nuclear sciences makes concerns of objectivity and bias in journalistic practice strategic: if journalists are considered pro-nuclear, they have a better chance of accessing nuclear reactor and space research sites. Journalists and scientists co-design and co-stage experiments to be witnessed by the television audiences, and I argue for a close analysis of these mutual entanglements of scientific processes and media practices to understand the performative mediations of environmental debates. Furthermore, I examine how television studio and split-screen management affords news anchors a strategic advantage in confronting politicians and science experts with questions about the risk and safety of scientific projects – an advantage that is not equally available to journalists while accessing strategic technoscience sites.

    December 16, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715613640   open full text
  • How to organise your body 101: postfeminism and the (re)construction of the female body through How to Look Good Naked.
    Tsaousi, C.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 26, 2015

    The aim of this article is to highlight the attention given by recent makeover shows, and specifically How to Look Good Naked, to the ‘underneath’ as a way of (re)organising the female body. I examine whether this ‘turn’ or change in media’s direction is an appreciation of the real female body (an unmodified body) or whether this is a mere (re-)organisation of the body into a controllable base of overall appearance and a further embedding of Western conceptions of beauty and of the notion that the manipulation of appearance is essential to the construction of the feminine identity and to the measure of women’s social worth. Informed by postfeminist discourse and critique, I analyse the British reality makeover television show How to Look Good Naked, discuss the extent to which it actually provides an alternative to prevailing cultural discourses around feminine beauty and scrutinise the impact that it seems to have on the identities of the women who participate. I analyse how the show, as the ultimate postfeminist show, inscribes gendered identities and practices, and I examine how postfeminism has created spaces for such shows to exist and affirm hegemonic gender constructions based on consumption practices.

    November 26, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715608258   open full text
  • Managing collective trauma on social media: the role of Twitter after the 2011 Norway attacks.
    Eriksson, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 03, 2015

    This study analyses the meaning-making discourse on Twitter in the 6 days following the 2011 Norway attacks. The attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utøya resulted in 77 deaths, of which 69 were youths on Utøya, where a summer camp arranged by the Norwegian Social Democratic youth organisation Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (AUF) was being held. The main discursive themes in the material were found to be focused on the Norwegian nation, expressions of solidarity, the meaning and outcomes of the attacks, as well as details of the attacks themselves. These themes were of changing importance over the 6 days following the attacks, as discussions concerning the Norwegian nation and the attacks themselves dropped rapidly in favour of negotiating the explanations behind the attacks. Twitter was shown to be useful for providing backchannel discourse negotiations that were separate from the mass media discourse concerning the attacks.

    November 03, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715608259   open full text
  • Constant connection as the media condition of love: where bonds become bondage.
    Su, H.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 21, 2015

    Lovers’ capacity to connect with each other over distance has increased drastically with the proliferation of digital media. This augmented capacity to build connection with a distant other has become an important condition of romantic relationship in our time. This article explores the implication of constant connection as a media affordance for romantic relationship by examining media use among young Chinese lovers. Based on in-depth interviews with young Chinese lovers, it argues that constant connection contributes to a continual sense of togetherness between romantic couples as they continually engage in phatic communication, but that it intensifies lovers’ negotiation of intimacy and individuality by pushing their personal boundaries on one hand and cultivating an intolerance of separation on the other. Overall, this article contributes to the scholarly conversation about media technology and human intimacy by offering a critique of social media based on the inner dynamics of romantic relationship.

    August 21, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715594037   open full text
  • Opening the news gates? Humanitarian and human rights NGOs in the US news media, 1990-2010.
    Powers, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. August 05, 2015

    This study examines whether changes in the media, political, and civic landscapes give leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) increased news access. Using longitudinal content analysis (1990–2010) of a purposive sample of US news outlets, it compares the prevalence, prominence, and story location of news articles citing leading human rights NGOs to human rights coverage more generally. In all outlets, NGO prevalence rises over time; media-savvy NGOs drive much of the growth. By contrast, prominence decreases, as do the number of NGO-driven stories. In all outlets, NGOs typically appear in stories already in the media spotlight; as sources, they appear after the statements of government officials. Finally, the news outlets most receptive to NGOs are those that commit the fewest resources to international news coverage. Overall, findings suggest that while NGO news access has indeed increased over time, such access continues to be shaped by established patterns of news construction.

    August 05, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715594868   open full text
  • TV-centrism and politicisation in Italy: obstacles to new media development and pluralism.
    Cornia, A.
    Media, Culture & Society. July 13, 2015

    The article analyses how specific market and political conditions restrain the technology-driven change of the news industry and affect the way the new media landscape is taking shape in Italy. The interviews and secondary data analysis show that the digital transition (the growth of online news and the move to digital terrestrial television) has only limited implications for the pluralism of information within the Italian media system. The TV sector is still dominated by a few legacy broadcasters, and the structure of the online news market substantially reflects that of the newspaper sector. Although the new media, compared to the traditional media, have lower technological barriers inhibiting entry, market and political factors still hinder the entrance of newcomers. A major role is played by the dominant positions of two broadcasters (Rai and Mediaset) in the Italian media sector, the lack of effective media policies and the Berlusconi’s conflict of interest. Finally, the digital transition is more significantly impacting the power relations between broadcasters and newspaper organisations in the online news market, which is dominated by established press publishers who, because of the crisis in their traditional sector, have strongly invested in their online activities.

    July 13, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715594035   open full text
  • The challenge of flow: state socialist television between revolutionary time and everyday time.
    Mihelj, S., Huxtable, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. July 13, 2015

    This article contributes to the growing literature on diverse television cultures globally and historically by examining selected aspects of television cultures in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Being part of a political, economic and cultural system that self-consciously set out to develop an alternative form of modern society, state socialist television offers a particularly apposite case study of alternative forms of modern television. State socialist television was inevitably drawn into the Cold War contest between two rival visions of modernity and modern life: one premised on liberal democracy and the market economy, the other on communist rule and the planned economy. As a result, its formats, content and uses were different from those familiar from western television histories. The analysis, based on 70 life-story interviews, schedule analysis and archival sources, focuses on the temporal structures of television and on the challenges posed by television’s ability to offer an instantaneous connection to the unfolding present. We argue that the nature of television temporality had ambiguous consequences for the communist project, allowing citizens of state socialist countries to disconnect from communist ideals, while synchronising their daily life with the ongoing march towards the radiant communist future.

    July 13, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715594869   open full text
  • Ratings, the state and globalization: the politics of television audience measurement in Israel.
    Bourdon, J., Ribke, N.
    Media, Culture & Society. July 10, 2015

    This is a study of the introduction to Israel of a technology for measuring television audiences, the ‘People Meter’ (PM), focusing on its political aspects. It links the new practice to the history of the state, precisely to the emergence of the neo-liberal state, which brought about a new relation to numbers, using an increased quantity of statistics for the regulation of economic sectors. In Israel, the state, in both its old (government ministers, administrators, state-owned/public channels) and new (regulatory bodies) guises, has been deeply involved in audience measurement. Next, the study situates the history of audience measurement in a global context, examining the ways in which both public actors, and private actors associated with international marketing groups have domesticated a new mode of regulation for audience measurement – the Joint Industry Committee (JIC), and the new ‘state-of-the-art’ technology – the PM. Third, it considers the political role played by audience figures in the fight over the representation of the public and of specific minorities in the public sphere: the Arab minority in Israel, the Palestinians and the settlers in the occupied territories, the Jewish minorities from the former Soviet Union (FSU) and from Ethiopia.

    July 10, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715594034   open full text
  • The old media business in the new: 'the Googlization of everything' as the capitalization of digital consumption.
    Nixon, B.
    Media, Culture & Society. July 10, 2015

    Digital labor and its role in the profitability of digital media companies have received increasing attention from scholars. However, digital audience labor has not been analyzed or recognized as the most important to digital media companies’ profit-making ability. Digital audience labor is here conceptualized as the use of digital media to consume culture and make meaning. Most digital media companies must control the activities of their users as cultural consumers in order to generate revenue, just as most ‘old media’ companies have long done. Google is an exemplary case: ‘The Googlization of Everything’ is primarily a process of trying to gain control over numerous activities of digital cultural consumption. Those activities can be understood as digital audience labor, and Google uses its control to extract value, that is, to exploit digital audience labor. Google Search, Google Books, and YouTube are examples of this effort to exploit digital audience labor.

    July 10, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715594036   open full text
  • Football on television: how has coverage of the Cup Finals in Norway changed from 1961 to 1995?
    Solvoll, M. K.
    Media, Culture & Society. July 07, 2015

    The aim of this study is two-fold: first, to investigate how the production practices of the TV coverage of the Norwegian Men’s Football Cup Final rely on journalism, drama and entertainment and, second, to analyse how the production practice has changed in the period 1961–1995. I conducted a visual analysis of 12 Cup Finals, transmitted on NRK, the Norwegian public service broadcaster, using Whannel’s triangular model. In my study, I found that there was a tendency that entertainment and journalism merged into ‘infotainment’, without disturbing the journalistic convention that formed the base of all the coverage. The dramatic convention played a minor role in the coverage. Elements from this genre increased, significantly in the 1990s when the monopoly of NRK was broken. The practice of producing the Cup Final in NRK has not followed a gradual and linear development. Rather, the production practice continually undergoes changes. The modifications and adjustments are constantly testing the legitimate limits for how the practice can balance between entertainment, journalism and drama without distressing the values of a public service broadcaster.

    July 07, 2015   doi: 10.1177/0163443715594033   open full text
  • 'You Say Rich, I Say Job Creator': How Fox News Framed the Great Recession through the Moral Discourse of Producerism.
    Peck, R.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 17, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 17, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714527565   open full text
  • How Structure Shapes Content, or Why the 'Hindi turn' of Star Plus Became the 'Hindu turn'.
    Chakrabarti, S.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 16, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 16, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714523811   open full text
  • The Rise of the Brazilian Blockbuster: How Ideas of Exceptionality and Scale Shape A Booming Cinema.
    Brannon Donoghue, C.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 16, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 16, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714527566   open full text
  • Networked technologies as emotional resources? Exploring Emerging Emotional Cultures on Social Network Sites like Facebook and Hi5: A Trans-Cultural Study.
    Kohl, M. M., Gotzenbrucker, G.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 11, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 11, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714523813   open full text
  • Blogging While Angry: The Sustainability of Emotional Labor in the Asian American Blogosphere.
    Lopez, L. K.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 11, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 11, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714523808   open full text
  • A User Approach to Dialogic Theory in a Facebook Campaign on Love and Marriage.
    Lee, S. T.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 10, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 10, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714523809   open full text
  • Historical Forms Of User Production.
    Hamilton, J. F.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 07, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714523812   open full text
  • The riot, the people and the neighborhood: Narrative framing of social disorder in four cases.
    van Hulst, M., Siesling, M., van Lieshout, M., Dewulf, A.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 07, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 07, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443714523810   open full text
  • Making Mediated Memory Work: Cuban-Americans, Miami Media and the Doings of Diaspora Memories.
    Lohmeier, C., Pentzold, C.
    Media, Culture & Society. April 03, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    April 03, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443713518574   open full text
  • A Tabloid Mind? Professional values and organizational pressures as explanations of tabloid journalism.
    Skovsgaard, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. February 17, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    February 17, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443713515740   open full text
  • Feminist Publicist Strategies: Women's NGOs' Media Activism and Television Journalism in Serbia and Croatia.
    Minic, D.
    Media, Culture & Society. February 17, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    February 17, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443713515736   open full text
  • A political economy of press self-regulation: the case of South Africa.
    Duncan, J.
    Media, Culture & Society. February 12, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    February 12, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443713515738   open full text
  • Ways of Worldmaking in Wikipedia: Reality, Legitimacy and Collaborative Knowledge Making.
    Fullerton, L., Ettema, J.
    Media, Culture & Society. February 12, 2014
    There is no abstract available for this paper.
    February 12, 2014   doi: 10.1177/0163443713515739   open full text
  • Social media and the co-production of bodies online: Bergson, Serres and Facebook Timeline.
    Goodings, L., Tucker, I.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 14, 2013

    Social media’s networked form of communication provides people with bodies that are combinations of embodied and technologically mediated action. This creates multiple forms of visibility within the infospheres (Terranova) of social media, which require simultaneous production of bodies in and through offline and online spaces. Bergson’s non-dualistic model of bodies as images addresses the challenges of experiencing ‘bodies online’; understood as expressions that blur the subject–object and representation–being dualisms. This article explores how socially mediated bodies are disposed for action in ways that involve negotiating communication through the mediated noise (Serres) of social media, along with managing bodies that are faced with the spatialisation of time through new features such as Facebook’s Timeline.

    November 14, 2013   doi: 10.1177/0163443713507813   open full text
  • The Last PEG or Community Media 2.0? Negotiating Place and Placelessness at PhillyCAM.
    Ali, C.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 14, 2013

    This article investigates the changes, challenges and opportunities present in American community media through a case study of PhillyCAM, a community television/media center in Philadelphia, PA. From this ethnographic study, it is suggested that community media navigate the tensions between television and digital media/user-generated content through reliance on place and liveness. In shifting from ‘community television’ to ‘community media’ these organizations are able to situate themselves as dynamic components in a local and participatory media ecosystem, develop new programs and strategic partnerships, and differentiate themselves from other organizations, while remaining consistent with their original mandates.

    November 14, 2013   doi: 10.1177/0163443713507815   open full text
  • The mediation of distant suffering: An empirical contribution beyond television news texts.
    Scott, M.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 14, 2013

    This article draws on the results of a large-scale audience study to examine how audiences respond to mediated encounters with distant suffering on UK television. The research involved two phases of focus groups separated by a two-month diary study. Research participants’ mediated experiences of distant suffering were generally characterised by indifference and solitary enjoyment, with respect to distant and dehumanised distant others. However, the results also signal that, in various ways, non-news factual television programming offers spectators a more proximate, active and complex mediated experience of distant suffering than television news.

    November 14, 2013   doi: 10.1177/0163443713507811   open full text
  • Democracy in Disguise: The Use of Social Media in Reviewing the Icelandic Constitution.
    Valtysson, B.
    Media, Culture & Society. November 14, 2013

    The aim of this article is to scrutinise the participative processes enabled by social media services in the collaborative rewriting of the Icelandic Constitution. The Constitutional Council creating and presenting the bill made use of Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and its own site to encourage and ensure engagement and participation by the general public in the rewriting process. This article presents the participating citizens as a weak networked public, the Constitutional Council as an intermediate public, and the members of Icelandic Parliament as a strong public. Despite open structures and the facilitation of information, statements, and in some cases deliberation, the communicative efforts of the general public remain in the form of weak publics belonging to the cultural public spheres since decision-making still takes place in the ‘upper’ structures of political public spheres.

    November 14, 2013   doi: 10.1177/0163443713507814   open full text