Maria Kyriakidou

Maria Kyriakidou

  • University of East Anglia
  • School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Participant in 2008
Work history Lecturer in Cultural Politics, Communications and Media at the University of East Anglia (2013 - today)
LSE Fellow, London School of Economics (2012-2013)
Study history PhD in Media and Communications, London School of Economics
MSc in Social and Public Communication, London School of Economics
BSc in Media and Communications, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens, Greece

Phd Projects

2008

Mediating Cosmopolitanism: Cosmopolitan Discourses and Distant Suffering

Cosmopolitanism has gained an increasing interest in social sciences over the last decade. Constituting a claim about global belonging and solidarity, the concept has attracted as many critics as it has advocates. My PhD research attempts to defend cosmopolitanism as an emerging reality and suggests its exploration in relation to global media and communications. It argues that cosmopolitanism should be thought about and explored as a process ‘from below’ rather than a project ‘from above’. In this process, media constitute a significant force in (re)producing a discourse of global connectivity and responsibility towards distant others. This is especially the case in the coverage of disasters at a global scale, when audiences are faced with the vulnerability of distant others. Theoretically, my PhD is based on sociological approaches to cosmopolitanism, discourse studies and the increasing literature on media representations of suffering and media ethics. It suggests the study of cosmopolitanism as a discourse partly mediated through the coverage of distant disasters. Empirically, the research is grounded on media analysis and the study of Greek audiences in relation to media coverage of distant disasters, in particular of the Southeast Asian Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Kashmir Earthquake in 2005. Media coverage has so far been limited to newspaper analysis. In terms of audiences, the study has employed focus group discussions with different segments of the population. Both sets of data have been analysed using discourse analysis, with the main focus of the study being placed on the focus group discussions. It is argued that a cosmopolitan discourse is emerging in relation to the media coverage of distant suffering, in so far as distant disasters are framed as instances of collective global action at-a-distance and construct the globe as a space of reflection and action. Such cosmopolitan discourse(s) should be studied as socially and culturally situated rather than as discourses of detachment from the local and the national. They are also heavily dependent on media representations and practices. They do constitute, however, a significant part of the experience of audiences. As such, far from an abstract and idealist concept, cosmopolitanism is a lived and grounded phenomenon.

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