606.3 'Affective political articulation': A new approach to examining the role of the media in the construction of infectious disease risk(s)

Friday, August 3, 2012: 3:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Jed HORNER , School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, NSW, Australia
The media has long been recognised as a powerful force in constructing, as well as amplifying, the risk(s) of infectious disease transmission, particularly in high-income countries. In both Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and cultural studies approaches to media analysis, the notion of the ‘frame’ and ‘spectacle’ of media attention have come to speak to this phenomenon. In this paper, I draw on an analysis of public ‘texts’, including media articles, policy documents and focus groups concerning the ‘immigrant TB’ ‘threat’ and attendant ‘risks’ to human ‘health’ and ‘national security’ in the Australian context. I suggest that a new approach to exploring the role of the media in the construction of ‘risk’, and one that moves beyond the limiting, and arguably essentialising, tenets of CDA, is needed. Arguing from both a theoretical and empirical purview, I advance the notion that analyses of media texts need to account for the way in which specific affects, such as anger and shame, are articulated in both the media and everyday life and are thus rendered meaningful, within particular political discourse(s), always grounded in specific spatio-temporal context(s). Such an approach, which is intertextual and beyond the confines of the written text alone, is capable of taking us beyond merely examining the ‘circulation’ of affects in public, and media, discourse(s) of ‘risk’, towards a situated understanding of how they operate in specific contexts and permeate our everyday lives.