Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis

Transaction Publishers, 2002 - 223 Seiten

Taking advantage of electronic information bases, Altheide, whose previous interpretive studies of the mass media are well known, uses a "tracking discourse" method to show how the nature and use of the word "fear" by mass media have changed over the years. His analysis examines how some of the topics associated with fear (e.g., AIDS, crime, immigrants, race, sexuality, schools, children) have shifted in emphasis, and how certain news organizations and social institutions benefit from the exploitation of fear.

This book is about fear and its expanding place in our public life. The author documents the rise of a "discourse of fear" in the present era: the pervasive communication, sym­bolic awareness, and expectation that danger and risk surround us. Altheide offers explanations of how this occurred and suggests some of its serious social consequences. In doing so, he focuses on the nature and use of social power and social control. The mass media play a significant role in shaping social definitions that govern social action. Relatedly, his methodological and theoretical foundation in classical social theory, existential-phenomenology, ethnomethodology, and symbolic interactionism leads him to view social power as the capacity to define situations for self and others.

Creating Fear is focused on sorting out the ways that the mass media and popular culture help define social situa­tions. It helps understand the nature, process, and organiza­tion of mass media operations, including news procedures, perspectives, and formats. It recognizes the need to expand our methodological frameworks to incorporate new infor­mation technologies and databases and to ask different ques­tions. This volume, which attempts to break the circle of fear discourse, will be of interest to sociologists, communi­cations scholars, and criminologists.

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Ausgewhlte Seiten


Give the Devil His Due Fear in Its Place
Tracking Discourse
The Problem Frame and the Production of Fear
The Discourse of Fear
Journalistic Interviewing
Policing Crime and Fear in the News Media
Children and the Discourse of Fear
The Lens of Fear

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Beliebte Passagen

Seite 60 - So first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
Seite 8 - Instead, when one has identity, he is situated — that is, cast in the shape of a social object by the acknowledgement of his participation or membership in social relations.
Seite 8 - One's identity is established when others place him as a social object by assigning him the same words of identity that he appropriates for himself or announces. It is in the coincidence of placements and announcements that identity becomes a meaning of the self, and often such placements and announcements are aroused by apparent symbols such as uniforms.
Seite 42 - First, the models provide a means by which we can increase our ability to "shift from one perspective to another, and in the process to build up an adequate view of a total society and its components.
Seite 92 - The term risk refers to the probability of damage, injury, illness, death or other misfortune associated with a hazard. Hazards are generally defined to mean a threat to people and what they value.
Seite 8 - Fundamentally, group action takes the form of a fitting together of individual lines of action. Each individual aligns his action to the action of others by ascertaining what they are doing or what they intend to do, that is, by getting the meaning of their acts. For Mead, this is done by the individual "taking the role" of others either the role of a specific person or the role of a group (Mead's "generalized other").
Seite 45 - ... picture that separates it from the wall and from other possibilities, An example is treating illegal drug use as a “public health issue” as opposed to a “criminal justice issue.” These are two different frames that entail a way of discussing the problem and the kind of discourse that will follow. Frames focus on what will be discussed, how it will be discussed, and above all, how it will not be discussed (Altheide 1976; Epstein 1973; Fishman 1980). Themes are more basically tied to the...
Seite 21 - Ferraro's important work on the fear of crime suggested the concept "perceptual criminology." or the notion that "many of the problems associated with crime, including fear, are independent of actual victimization . . . because it may lead to decreased social integration, out-migration, restriction of activities, added security costs, and avoidance behaviors
Seite 117 - I don't mind you doing that, bur here's the thing. Just like I said earlier, don't, in Colorado, don't make the victims have to ask for an apology. Ted Koppel: I heard you and I hear you now.
Seite 48 - However, unlike a morality play, in which the characters are abstractions facing death and damnation, news reports focus on "actual...

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