Javnost - The Public, Vol. 21 - 2014, No. 1
A commonly accepted assumption is that scientific knowledge on the part of the general public would increase in an era of increasing ease of access to all forms of information. This argument suggests that the public only needs to take an advantage of an inexpensive laptop computer to be superbly informed. However, what appears to be the case is that the public appears to be more prone than ever to misinformation, partial truths, and “spin.” Research shows that, even when it comes to scientific knowledge, we have socially-mediated preferences; we prefer those beliefs that we like and that are considered reasonable by our peers. Importantly, our “peers” can in our hyperlocal world be virtual or real. Thus, social group membership merges with our individual likes and dislikes to shape what we take as “knowledge.” Groups, therefore, become platforms of social epistemologies. We examine our argument from the viewpoint of the United States using a large data set from the General Social Survey. We employ the 2008 topical module to examine the relationships between attitudes and knowledge concerning science and technology, the relationship between media use, demographic group variables, and group-related attitudes toward science.
This paper takes an often neglected labour perspective on journalism and investigates labour relations and processes at Slovenian public radio. By taking into account public radio’s specific position in the media environment, which importantly shapes the dynamics between power, property, and work, and by drawing from the work of Michael Burawoy, this paper explores the strategies of manufacturing consent at the Slovenian public radio that minimise potentials of class consciousness among newsworkers and labour-management conflict on one hand and practices and possibilities for resistance and solidarity on the other. Investigation of labour relations and processes at Radio Slovenia was conducted a few months after the Slovenian government adopted austerity measures that have also resulted in layoffs and changes of the employment arrangements of a considerable number of atypical workers at the Slovenian public broadcaster. To gather, assemble, and analyse data, the authors used two research methods: first, participant observation in two newsrooms of Radio Slovenia, and second, in-depth interviews with public radio editors and journalists.
Hip Hop and the Public Sphere: Political Commitment and Communicative Practices on the Norwegian Hip Hop Scene
In terms of its booming popularity and public outreach, lyrical thematisations of society and adherence to politicised tradition, hip hop as a form of expressive culture may in significant yet largely unexplored ways enter the framework of democratic politics as laid down in Jürgen Habermas’ theory of the public sphere. Based on in-depth interviews with key actors on the Norwegian hip hop-scene, this article explores and discusses political commitment, the degree to which Norwegian rappers can be seen to draw public attention to subaltern experience, the communicative strategies typical of the scene, and how these strategies might be relevant to public discourse. Furthermore, by highlighting recent examples of the mainstream media’s reception of hip hop music, this article shows how songs, lyrics and performances specifi c to the hip hop genre have entered public discourse, and further argues that hip hop music should be seen as an integral part of democratic public sphere processes.
Politics as “Customer Relations”: Social Media and Political Authenticity in the 2010 Municipal Elections in Calgary, Canada
A political leader’s authenticity has always been a site of struggle: politicians have tried to control their own image, while mass media has promised to reveal the “real” self behind the electoral campaign. In recent years, social media such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube have gained a positive reputation as electoral tools. This paper seeks to critically engage with this reputation, by focusing on how these services become discursively articulated with the notion of political “authenticity” in the case of the 2010 municipal elections in Calgary, Canada. In these elections, the intense use of social media by the winning candidate has been seen as proof of the democratic power of these communication technologies to bring together politicians and citizens. A qualitative thematic analysis of 86 undergraduate essays reveals how participants collectively talked about political “authenticity.” The paper argues that political “authenticity” becomes articulated as a result of the intrinsic features of social media, reinforcing the longstanding technological determinist view of technology as the guarantor of a better citizen/politician relation. The discursive articulation of social media and political “authenticity” portrays politics as a customer relations service, providing little insight into how we are to understand and relate to democratic politics after elections.
The current economic crisis is global in scope, thus affecting both countries in the North and in the South. As a consequence, national European governments are modifying their policies in order to cut down on public spending. This article compares how public service media policies are shaped in this new situation in two countries that represent very contrasting models of public service media: Spain and Sweden. The story of public service media survival in times of rapid development of media technology and liberal political hegemony is a common theme in contemporary media and communication research. This study adds to this theme, by exploring the conditions for public service media further by a more explicit focus on how newly elected governments approach public service media policies in times of economic crises. The basic aim of the study is to compare how public service media conditions may change in countries with very diff erent public service media models.
The democratisation of media depends not only on legal reforms and economic changes introduced into their structure, but also the biasing effect the dominant political culture can exert in this process. As seen in the Spanish radio industry, changes made since the beginning of the political transition period are purely formal because they remain deep traits inherited from the Franco dictatorship such as clientelism and political instrumentalisation. This article analyses the evolution of private radio and relates the survival of typical values of the dictatorship with the persistence of the political culture of Francoism, accepted and internalised by the new democratic regime.