BEING POLITICAL IN MEDIA SPACES
My PhD-project is concerned with ways of being political in the media. By studying the ways in which political activists are positioned in media discourses and in the symbolic and imaginary spaces of the media I am interested in the practices and ideologies related to participatory activism in and through the media (Carpentier, 2011). I am doing this by exploring the ways activists are experiencing their relationship to media and mediation as well as through studying how different media discourses (for example news discourse) create and subjects or subject positions out of activist practices. Through studying a few different actors who are organized differently as well as employing different media strategies I attempt to explore new ways of understanding political media subjectivities (Dahlgren, 2013; Dahlgren & Alvares, 2013).
In studying media text as well as in-depth interviews the project is concerned with analysing possible and articulated modes of identification processes (Wetherell, 1998; Wood, 2010), to grasp the dimensions of media experiences (Couldry, 2000; Silverstone, 1999) related to political practices. Thus what the primary interests are to inquiry aspects of media experiences and the ways these experiences they can be understood as constitutive for individual, social and political identities.
Empirically the project is constituted around case studies, of which the first is coming close to completion. This first case study is concerned with a group of migrant rights-activists based in Malmö, Sweden. The work with this case will result in two different analyses, employing different methodological approaches. The first one is a critical discourse analytical study (Fairclough, 1989, 1995; Macgilchrist, 2011) focusing on epistemic and dynamic modalities (Machin & Mayr, 2012) in journalistic texts about the group. As a consequence of such analysis I discuss how activists are positioned in news discourse in terms of knowledge claims and possibilities of political change. In the second study I analyse interview data collected from interviews with activists. This analysis has a focus on how they discursively expresses constitutive aspects of their media experiences, circled around issues fear of over-exposure, visibility, empowerment, ethical violence (Butler, 2005) and representation.
The coming task is to finish the work with the first case as well as develop strategies of choosing and working with new relevant case studies within the project, complementary and consistent with the projects broader aims.
Butler, J. (2005). Giving an account of oneself (1st ed. ed.). Ashland, Ohio: Fordham University Press ; [London : Eurospan distributor].
Carpentier, N. (2011). Media and participation : a site of ideological-democratic struggle. Bristol: Intellect Books.
Couldry, N. (2000). The place of media power : pilgrims and witnesses of the media age. London: Routledge.
Dahlgren, P. (2013). The political web : media, participation and alternative democracy.
Dahlgren, P., & Alvares, C. (2013). Political Participation in an age of mediatisation: toward a new research agenda. Javnost/The Public, 20(2), 47-66.
Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and power. Harlow: Longman.
Fairclough, N. (1995). Media discourse. London: Edward Arnold.
Macgilchrist, F. (2011). Journalism and the political : discursive tensions in news coverage of Russia. Amsterdam ; Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co.
Machin, D., & Mayr, A. (2012). How to do critical discourse analysis : a multimodal introduction. London: SAGE.
Silverstone, R. (1999). Why study the media? London: Sage.
Wetherell, M. (1998). Positioning and Interpretative Repertoires: Conversation Analysis and Post-Structuralism in Dialogue. Discourse & Society, 9(3), 387-412. doi: 10.1177/0957926598009003005
Wood, H. (2010). From Media and Identity to Mediated Identity. In M. Wetherell & C. T. Mohanty (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of identities. Los Angeles, [Calif.] ; London: SAGE.