English Research Seminar 22.10.2018

22. Oktober 2018

Vortrag: Colleen Cotter (Queen Mary University of London)

"Discourse and displacement: Following and finding news in new contexts"

Zeit: 18:15

Ort: WU, Gebäude D2, Eingang D, 2.OG, Besprechungsraum


Over the past several years, society has changed how it consumes public information, and I argue that as we are no longer comparably socialized into what news “means”, or how it can be presented as identifiable genres across proliferating media platforms, this can work against a larger shared social understanding and critical response. Indeed, whether one watches Fox News or MSNBC in the US indexes not only a different political affiliation (Pew 2016), but also a different perception of what counts as news, the state the culture is in, and what is “fact”. It is within this context of discursive displacement and reconfiguration that I look at both the dynamics of change and the critical space we accord its impacts, focusing on language in US and UK news coverage and commentary, noting “hysterical style” effects (Fowler 1984) that dampen rational response and “normalize” types of expression, and the coverage routines and professional practices that support them. I also tie the interaction between language, media, and ideology that underpins news and political discourse (Briggs 2011) to industry research on news consumption patterns to determine what the evolving social media environment facilitates, and how news as discourse is changing because of it. These changes are happening at the same time as politicians (mostly) are redefining or co-opting “fake news” to mean something they disagree with, as my examples show. Hence, revisiting how beliefs proliferate (Sperber 1996) and naturalize within new discourse contexts remains essential.

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