News for global sustainability?: Reifying and othering social inequality in news
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
This paper discusses news journalism about inequality from a critical point of view, with the aim of contributing to the critical theorization of the relationship between journalism and sustainability. Sustainability and journalism on social inequality are perceived as intersecting in at least two ways. On one level, journalism can serve sustainable development by providing high-quality content that can help citizens to better understand the causes behind social inequality and how it can be overcome. On another level, journalism would itself gain much from sustainable development on a global level, since that would provide a good ground for a high-quality journalism characterized by its professional and democratic ethics rather than one that is strained by market-logics. The paper focuses on reification and problematizes the ways in which social inequality is reified in news journalism. Basing the argumentation on examples from international journalism, it is argued that although the existence of social inequality in a specific country can be acknowledged in the reporting – for example by the reference to rich and poor people and rich and poor geographic spaces – the social, political and historical causes of this inequality remain abstracted. In this sense, reification provides a rather objectivist account on inequality, which in turn limits the critique of the mechanisms that lie behind it. On the long run such constructions serve the legitimation of social inequality, which indeed ought to be seen as a sustainability problem. The paper also argues that for a more sustainable journalism to take place, a shift in the attitude towards social inequality and sustainable development must take place in the broader sociocultural context that surrounds journalism.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Media and Communications
Research subject Media and Communication Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-34736OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-34736DiVA: diva2:1065949
Rethinking Power in Communicative Capitalism Critical Perspectives on Media, Culture and Society, Lisbon, September 8-10, 2016.