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Conspiracy theories spread more widely and faster than ever before. Fear and uncertainty prompt people to believe false narratives of danger and hidden plots, but are not sufficient without considering the role and ideological bias of the media. This timely book focuses on making sense of how and why some people respond to their fear of a threat by creating or believing conspiracy stories. It integrates insights from psychology, political science, communication, and information sciences to provide a complete overview and theory of how conspiracy beliefs manifest. Through this multi-disciplinary perspective, rigoros research develops and tests a practical, simple way to frame and understand conspiracy theories. The book supplies unprecedented amounts of new data from six empirical studies and unpicks the complexity of the process that leads to the empowerment of conspiracy beliefs.
A wall is a sonic medium. It gathers, reflects, amplifies (or sometimes attenuates), and otherwise processes sound; it thereby creates strata of sensory memory and history. Rethinking the notion of teichoscopy (the use of walls to enhance vision), I propose an analogous concept of teichoacoustics in the Greek and Roman worlds – using walls as a technical means of sounding and hearing; that is, transmitting and receiving auditory sensation. I focus on four cities and their walls: Babylon in the tale of Pyramus and Thisbe (via Ovid, Shakespeare, and the Beatles); Troy during the Trojan War, especially Helen’s visit to the city walls in Iliad 3; Thebes, from the creation of its walls through music to its depiction in tragedy; and finally Delphi and the musical inscriptions on the external walls of buildings there. While the particular media functions of sound vary at each of these different sets of walls, these examples demonstrate a number of productive relations between sound and walls, and suggest possibilities for a practice of listening to architecture – both figuratively and literally – as a way of excavating cultural memory in and about antiquity.
Public health messages and societal discourse during the COVID-19 pandemic have consistently indicated a higher morbidity and mortality risk for older people, particularly those with multiple health conditions. Older adults’ interpretations of pandemic messaging can shape their perceived vulnerability and behaviours. This study examined their perspectives on COVID-19 messaging. Eighteen community-dwelling older adults residing in Manitoba (Canada) participated in semi-structured telephone interviews between July and August 2020, a period of low COVID-19 cases within the province. Inductive thematic analysis was used to identify key themes that described participants’ processes of information interpretation when consuming pandemic-related messages, their emotional responses to messaging and consequent vulnerability, and the impacts of messaging on their everyday lives. Understanding how older adults have construed COVID-19 and pandemic-related messages, and the subsequent impact on their daily behaviours, is the first step towards shaping societal discourse and sets the stage for examining the pandemic’s long-term effects.
This introductory chapter focuses on theoretical issues related to the imagining subject, discussing its subjectification processes and varied uses of mediating technologies to constitute new social imaginaries.
This article assesses, using a framework derived from lesson-drawing, policy transfer and crisis research, the lessons offered by the media from abroad and from the past in the UK COVID-19 pandemic. The lesson-drawing literature focuses on a series of steps and questions associated with the ‘fungibility’ of lessons, and the crisis literature, with its constituent elements of threat, uncertainty and between ‘routine’ and ‘non-routine’ or ‘less routine’ crises. The article utilises the LexisNexis Database1 in order to provide a content analysis of newspaper coverage of lessons offered, giving analysis in ‘real time’ of the source of potential lessons (e.g. past pandemics or other nations), and the type of lessons (e.g. copying or instruments). Its analysis highlights the complexity of lesson-drawing in ‘real time’ in a period of considerable uncertainty, where knowledge is contested, and is subject to change over time.
Chapter 7 shows how diaspora activists’ interventions in the Libyan, Syrian, and Yemeni Arab Spring were shaped by the relative degree of geopolitical support for the cause from their host-country governments and influential third parties, including states bordering the home-country, international institutions, and the media.
This chapter provides some concrete suggestions for how democracies should proceed in the so-called post-liberal era. The future of prodemocratic international law will depend on democracies leveraging collateral areas of international law to advance liberalism. This involves an essentially defensive liberalism.
Diets high in red and processed meat (RPM) contribute substantially to environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and the global burden of chronic disease. High-profile reports have called for significant global RPM reduction, especially in high-income settings. Despite this, policy attention and political priority for the issue are low.
The study used a theoretically guided framing analysis to identify frames used by various interest groups in relation to reducing RPM in online news media articles published in the months around the release of four high-profile reports by authoritative organisations that included a focus on the impacts of high RPM production and/or consumption.
Four major RPM producing and consuming countries – USA, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
Hundred and fifty news media articles were included. Articles reported the views of academics, policymakers, industry representatives and the article authors themselves. RPM reduction was remarkably polarising. Industry frequently framed RPM reduction as part of a ‘Vegan Agenda’ or as advocated by an elite minority. Reducing RPM was also depicted as an infringement on personal choice and traditional values. Many interest groups attempted to discredit the reports by citing a lack of consensus on the evidence, or that only certain forms of farming and processing were harmful. Academics and nutrition experts were more likely to be cited in articles that were aligned with the findings of the reports.
The polarisation of RPM reduction has led to a binary conflict between pro- and anti-meat reduction actors. This division may diminish the extent to which political leaders will prioritise this in policy agendas. Using nuanced and context-dependent messaging could ensure the narratives around meat are less conflicting and more effective in addressing health and environmental harms associated with RPM.
The Matsu archipelago between China and Taiwan, for long an isolated outpost off southeast China, was suddenly transformed into a military frontline in 1949 by the Cold War and the Communist-Nationalist conflict. The army occupied the islands, commencing more than 40 long years of military rule. With the lifting of martial law in 1992, the people were confronted with the question of how to move forward. This in-depth ethnography and social history of the islands focuses on how individual citizens redefined themselves and reimagined their society. Drawing on long-term fieldwork, Wei-Ping Lin shows how islanders used both traditional and new media to cope with the conflicts and trauma of harsh military rule. She discusses the formation of new social imaginaries through the appearance of 'imagining subjects', interrogating their subjectification processes and varied uses of mediating technologies as they seek to answer existential questions. This title is Open Access.
Histories of dissolving high/low culture divides inform Katalin Orbán’s discussion of contemporary graphic fiction, as she posits the critical and popular emergence of long-form, verbal-visual works that push narrative conventions in new directions, such as spatial-temporal experiments (e.g., by Chris Ware and Richard McGuire), the use of visual metaphors and other conventionally linguistic literary devices, and genre blurring distinctive to the drawn medium.
Studs Terkel was a pivotal figure in the popularization of oral history as a literary genre and he is a key point of reference in today’s cultural radio and podcasting worlds. He was also one of the central synthesizers and champions of Chicago literature, drawing deep inspiration from earlier writers and advocating for subsequent generations. This chapter explores how Terkel crafted a variety of inventive “literary lives”: 1) Urban Literary Mythmaker, 2) Eclectic Disc Jockey, 3) Coach for Chicago’s Literary Scene, 4) Co-founder of a Peoples’ Oral History, 5) Soapbox Poet, 6) Global Literary Ambassador, 7) Sidewalk Professor, 8) Memory Palace Archivist, and 9) Humanist Trickster. Key biographic events in Terkel’s life and his links with other key Chicago writers are explored.
We review 1982–1984 articles identifying Superfund sites in three national newspapers. Articles almost never identify the race of nearby residents. Based on sites receiving disproportionate coverage, readers might conclude that Superfund generally affected white, working-class families, but results do not support this narrative. In a pooled sample, neither race nor income predicts the number of times a site gets mentioned. When the sample is partitioned by newspaper or by each newspaper's coverage of nearby sites, a positive relationship emerges between the proportion of Hispanic or nonwhite residents and the number of articles about a site. We discuss this apparent contradiction.
At a time when political observers worry – justifiably – about the health of the US’ national political institutions, threats to local democratic governance cannot be ignored. The local news media – by providing accurate information to citizens about what is happening in city halls, county governments, school boards, and other local political institutions throughout the country – constitute a vital link in the democratic process. Political representation and government effectiveness thus depend on reinvigorating the local news media and the citizen engagement that goes along with it. It can be done, but without a collective effort by citizens, journalists, and groups committed to strengthening local journalism, the long-term health of American democracy may be in peril.
What was the relationship between a revolutionary African state and the postcolonial media? This chapter analyses the evolution of the press in Dar es Salaam after independence. By the mid-1970s, Tanzania had just two national daily newspapers, one of which was owned by the party, the other by the state. But this was not the outcome of a teleological slide from an independent to a muzzled media, as liberal Cold War-era conceptions of the ‘freedom of the press’ would have it. This chapter shows how the press became a contested site of socialist politics in Dar es Salaam’s internationalised media world. Stakeholders debated questions of who should own newspapers, who should work for them, and what they should write in them. Even when the government nationalised the country’s only independent English-language newspaper, it placed it under the control of a radical, foreign editor and emphasised the need for it to serve as a critical voice. However, when this editorial independence transgressed Tanzania’s foreign policy, the state moved to bring the press under closer control, justified by Third World trends towards ‘development media’.
The demise of the newspaper industry in the last two decades has exacerbated the problems of limited public engagement in local politics. The downward slide of local government coverage has left the nation less knowledgeable about its local elected officials and less likely to participate in local elections. These trends are concerning enough as they have already played out. But they are particularly worrisome given local journalism’s precarious future. Without a revitalization of the local media environment, democratic accountability and quality representation in cities and towns across the United States will become increasingly elusive.
This essay considers modernist internationalism and formal mutation in light of the globalized media ecology brought about by imperialism’s capitalist monopoly of the world-system. Since imperialism and colonialism constituted the first ever properly global system of control and circulation, modernism’s global imaginary and technical innovations cannot be understood outside of a world economic and technological frame. Building on scholarly narratives of modernism’s global vision and its metropolitan incorporation of the colonial periphery/“other,” this article shows how new media technology allowed for the rounding of the world and the advent of new literary forms such as the montage. Media discussed include cinema, photography, magazines, and the phonograph, while poets considered include but are not limited to Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Blaise Cendrars.
The American avant-garde theatre of the post-World War II era, with its underlying engagement with the betterment of society and a foregrounding of the body, either solo or collective, could be seen as an extension of the Romantic project. But by the 1990s, the ideas and impulses that fueled its artistic drive seemed to dissipate as it became subsumed by Postmodernism and also by popular culture. The avant-garde energies and impulses did not disappear, however, and increasingly they could be found in the theatre’s eager adoption and exploration of new technologies and digital media. By mediatizing live performance, the new technologies often became co-equal with, or dominant over, the human actors. Beginning with groups and individual artists such as Squat, The Wooster Group, and Laurie Anderson and continuing through The Builders Association, Big Art Group, and Annie Dorsen, among many others, a post-avant-garde has emerged that does not fetishize technology, but rather embraces it as a tool to alter consciousness—much as the historical avant-garde did—and to expand the possibilities and definitions of performance.
In recent decades, turnout in US presidential elections has soared, education levels have hit historic highs, and the internet has made information more accessible than ever. Yet over that same period, Americans have grown less engaged with local politics and elections. Drawing on detailed analysis of fifteen years of reporting in over 200 local newspapers, along with election returns, surveys, and interviews with journalists, this study shows that the demise of local journalism has played a key role in the decline of civic engagement. As struggling newspapers have slashed staff, they have dramatically cut their coverage of mayors, city halls, school boards, county commissions, and virtually every aspect of local government. In turn, fewer Americans now know who their local elected officials are, and turnout in local elections has plummeted. To reverse this trend and preserve democratic accountability in our communities, the local news industry must be reinvigorated – and soon.
Reading lists, course syllabi, and prizes include the phrase '21st-century American literature,' but no critical consensus exists regarding when the period began, which works typify it, how to conceptualize its aesthetic priorities, and where its geographical boundaries lie. Considerable criticism has been published on this extraordinary era, but little programmatic analysis has assessed comprehensively the literary and critical/theoretical output to help readers navigate the labyrinth of critical pathways. In addition to ensuring broad coverage of many essential texts, The Cambridge Companion to 21st Century American Fiction offers state-of-the field analyses of contemporary narrative studies that set the terms of current and future research and teaching. Individual chapters illuminate critical engagements with emergent genres and concepts, including flash fiction, speculative fiction, digital fiction, alternative temporalities, Afro-futurism, ecocriticism, transgender/queer studies, anti-carceral fiction, precarity, and post-9/11 fiction.
Mailer remained skeptical of many forms of technology; he felt technology to be the enemy of critical thinking, growth, and magic. As this chapter acknowledges, his wariness of various technologies informed works such as Of a Fire on the Moon, in which Mailer eerily predicts some of the very criticisms that have become magnified since the advent of the Internet, fearing that “digital computer was not a machine which would force men to think in new ways about the environment” but was instead “plastic brainpower” that might accelerate “the rush to extermination.”