Extremism representations in the media
The term “extremism” has been used in diverse spheres of life for a long time but it still remains problematic. Despite of the usage in many languages the meaning of the term may vary. This can lead to misunderstandings on the international level. Differences could be found also within one country: science, law, politics and media don’t necessarily provide the same understanding of the concept. The media play there an exclusive role providing everyday knowledge. To compare the media extremism representations of different countries constitutes thus a politically and scientifically important task, which have been handled in the master thesis “Extremismusrepräsentation in den Medien: Eine länderübergreifende Analyse” (Muzyukina, 2011). The PhD project builds on it.
The PhD project deals with the comparison between extremism representations in the classical and new media. Since the planned analysis is mostly located on the text level newspapers were chosen as classical und blogs as new media to be analyzed.
Another comparison within the PhD project deals with extremist representations in different countries. These countries will probably be Russia and Germany, but the final decision will be made according to the yet not fully elaborated theoretical framework.
The working version of research question is thus:
Which similarities and differences do have extremism representation in newspapers and blogs in different countries? What are the main causes of these differences?
The analysis of the causes of differences and similarities will be though reduced to the factors which deal with the influences of scientific and legal representations. Thus, the research question could be specified:
• What influence does the scientific extremism representation have on the media one?
• What influence does the legal extremism representation have on the media one?
• What are the interactions between media extremism representations in newspapers and blogs?
The PhD project is located in the media content research and the constructivist approach. It follows the logic of cultural studies combining political and communication sciences under the consideration of cultural context. The theoretical background also covers sociology of knowledge, theory of knowledge, semiotics and linguistics. Under approaches of communication science should be mentioned framing, news values theory, gatekeeper-approach, and discourse analysis. Especially important for the PhD project is the theory of social representations.
Empirical methods relevant for the study are content and discourse analysis and guide interviews for communicator investigation. The exploration of scientific and legal extremism representations occurs as secondary analysis of documents, literature and statistics.