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Power, form and subjectivity

This book explores how issues of power, form and subjectivity feature at the core of all serious thinking about the media, including appreciations of their creativity as well as anxiety about the risks they pose. Drawing widely on an interdisciplinary literature, the author connects his exposition to examples from film, television, radio, photography, painting, web practice, music and writing in order to bring in topics as diverse as reporting the war in Afghanistan, the televising of football, documentary portrayals of 9/11, reality television, the diversity of taste in the arts and the construction of civic identity. The book is divided into two parts. In the first part, three big chapters on each of the key notions provide an interconnected discussion of the media activities opened up for exploration and the debates they have provoked. The second part presents examples, arguments and analysis drawing on the author's previous work around the core themes, with notes placing them in the context of the whole book. The book brings together concepts both from Social Studies and the Arts and Humanities, addressing a readership wider than the sub-specialisms of media research. It refreshes ideas about why the media matter, and how understanding them better remains a key aim of cultural inquiry and a continuing requirement for public policy.

Imaging gothic from the nineteenth century to the present

Monstrous Media/Spectral Subjects explores Gothic, monstrosity, spectrality and media forms and technologies (music, fiction's engagements with photography/ cinema, film, magic practice and new media) from the later nineteenth century to the present day. Placing Gothic forms and productions in an explicitly interdisciplinary context, it investigates how the engagement with technologies drives the dissemination of Gothic across diverse media through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, while conjuring all kinds of haunting and spectral presences that trouble cultural narratives of progress and technological advancement.

This collection interrogates the representation of humanitarian crisis and catastrophe, and the refraction of humanitarian intervention and action, from the mid-twentieth century to the present, across a diverse range of media forms: traditional and contemporary screen media (film, television and online video) as well as newspapers, memoirs, music festivals and social media platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr). The book thus explores the historical, cultural and political contexts that have shaped the mediation of humanitarian relationships since the middle of the twentieth century. Together, the chapters illustrate the continuities and connections, as well as the differences, which have characterised the mediatisation of both states of emergency and acts of amelioration. The authors reveal and explore the significant synergies between the humanitarian enterprise, the endeavour to alleviate the suffering of particular groups, and media representations, and their modes of addressing and appealing to specific publics. The chapters consider the ways in which media texts, technologies and practices reflect and shape the shifting moral, political, ethical, rhetorical, ideological and material dimensions of international humanitarian emergency and intervention, and have become integral to the changing relationships between organisations, institutions, governments, individual actors and entire sectors.

On the cultural afterlife of the war dead

media discussion about the threat of the illegal entrance of foreign workers into the USA. In the course of the film, the discussion of an illicit border crossing turns into a far more toxic boundary transgression from death back to life. By cross-mapping Brooke’s lyrical imagery with the lore of voodoo zombies, my chapter proposes that what we get is a sense of an uncanny

in Monstrous media/spectral subjects
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interiority. Nor is it surprising that media and cultural research has been at the forefront of attempts to engage with issues of subjectivity, placing them more centrally within its accounts. As a major producer of the symbolic environment in which many people grow up and live their lives, the media have always been seen as a formative factor in consciousness and SUBJECTIVITY 87 the various makings of ‘what people are’ and ‘who they think they are’. Indeed, there is a tradition of assuming so direct an impact in this regard that part of the intellectual dynamics behind

in Theorising Media
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1 Power In this chapter I want to explore a selection of the numerous and wideranging issues that are to do, directly or otherwise, with the ‘power’ of the media. Research into the various aspects of power, and arguments about it, have always been at the centre of academic interest in media. Sometimes, the focus has been on ‘influence and effects’, a concern with the measurable consequences of output for the perceptions and attitudes of media readerships and audiences. This is the strongest strand of international research, operating across a wide variety of

in Theorising Media
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Introduction ‘Theorising’ is used in this book to indicate the activity of trying to reach adequate conceptual terms for understanding media structures and processes. It is therefore rather different from, if necessarily related to, the idea of ‘media theory’, the body of published explanations and propositions about the media that has developed from different fields of study. Both have their place in what follows, but primacy is given to the former. Later in this introduction, I discuss definitional matters concerning the ‘theoretical’ a little further. Part I

in Theorising Media
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2 Form Whereas ‘power’ is a term taking us immediately to the contested centre of media research and debate, including that conducted outside the academic sphere, the notion of ‘form’ is far less certain in its indications. To talk beyond the academy, and even at points within it, about enquiry into form is to invite a degree of suspicion. Around the notion of form in respect of the media there is often the sense of something elusive and possibly of secondary significance to what really needs to be known more about. Formal analysis suggests a carrying over of

in Theorising Media

the rapid influx of people, the Jordanian government opened Za’atari refugee camp in late July 2012, with support from the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation, United Nations agencies and other partners. 3 In the harsh conditions of Jordan’s northern desert, Za’atari rapidly became a massive aid operation and at the same time the media face of not only the refugee crisis in Jordan but across the

in Global humanitarianism and media culture
Spaces and tensions

6 Public knowledge and popular culture: spaces and tensions PRELIMINARY NOTE Discussion of the nature and relationship of the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ has been a feature of media research for some time, with ‘private’ both indicating the personal sphere and also, in some usage, the sphere of market-based institutions and activities. I wanted to relate the vulnerable idea of the ‘public’, as a civic commonality, to ideas of the ‘popular’ as these have been changed both in their grounding and their articulation by the cultural industries, which produce popular

in Theorising Media