In the Eye of the Storm, Vol. 21 - 2014, No. 4
Capitalism has proved to be a dynamic, growth-orientated and enormously productive system which has utterly transformed the material standards of life in most regions of Europe over two centuries. It is a mode of production that is not only inherently expansive but also constantly evolving, prompting and demanding incessant changes in technological, organisational and institutional forms, where the only constant is change as “all that is solid melts into air.” One consequence is that capitalism is also prone to various forms and types of periodic crisis. Indeed, quite unlike most prior modes of production, economic crises in capitalism arise not from sun-spots or other forces in (first) nature but from multiple tensions or contradictions intrinsic to the system. In this paper, we will be especially attentive to the evolving role of both financialisation and mediatisation (in particular) with respect to the evolving forms of economic crises and attendant processes of creative destruction, including “austerity” in contemporary capitalism. We examine such issues by taking the Ireland as our case study, a relatively small country on the western periphery which featured in a central, if not leading role in the wider crisis of Eurozone area. We address how a crisis originating in excessive exuberance in the private banking and property sectors, very soon morphed into a crisis of the wider economy and especially one of state funding. This paper also examines how the key moments and features of these recent crises were constructed and reported in major news media.
By October 2009, Greece faced a sovereign debt crisis and a borrowing crisis and it was said to be putting the Eurozone at risk. After much delay, the EU Commission together with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the IMF formed a hybrid tripartite entity, the so called “Troika,” to deal with the indebted country. This act raised the stakes since it converted the crisis to an issue of intense global media attention, influence and spin. The Greek people entered thus into the epicentre of a ferocious global publicness. This article analyses the Eurozone/Greek financial crisis, assessing critically the way that it was dealt with politically by national, European Union (EU) and Eurozone authorities. The author traces the modes that the eruption of the crisis was reported about, emphasising its crucial initial phase and exploring how crisis-management-policies were presented and discussed in transnational public spheres. She scrutinises the role of national and transnational media in framing this affair and key political communication manifestations or absence thereof. Moreover, the article examines the underlying material conditions and political economy motives of biased or “abnormal” reporting modalities. In terms of impacts, it elaborates on de-legitimation and polarisation of politics and in political communication of Greece as a consequence of “crisis management.” The article explores EU power relations and the tangle of socio-economic and political reactions/ events that evolved from a controversial “crisis management” model and their impacts to date.
The governmental change which took place in Portugal after 2011 was far more than just a new episode in the typical rotation between the two major political parties given that it occurred whilst the country was initiating a three year period of external financial control. As such the three political forces actively engaged in this rough transition have consistently pursued a stern austerity strategy imposed by creditors. This uneven platform (shaped by submission rather than by accord) has been the breeding ground for a discourse centred on the existence of a broad national consensus in support of the adopted draconian austerity measures. Irruptions of dissent have been met with contempt and have been dismissed as self-interested opinions or even as anti-patriotic. This article has four main parts. In the first one, the fundamental features of the economic and financial crisis and its consequences will be presented. In the second part, the political impacts and challenges of the crisis will be scrutinised. The political and economic impact is closely articulated with the current situation of mainstream media that is presented in the third part of the paper. As we will see in the last part of this article, a particular combination of factors in a country without financial sovereignty has created the perfect conditions for media reproduction of the government and creditors’ discourses.
For long, the inter-communal conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriot as well as the invasion and occupation of North Cyprus by Turkey defined the Cyprus Issue/Problem which has affected both the reality and image of Cyprus. The more recent financial crisis has proved to be a mega event that also has the capacity to redefine both the reality and image of Cyprus. This paper aims to address key political and discursive aspects of the financial crisis and their specific expression in Cyprus. A focal point of the analysis is the displacement of the Cyprus Issue by the financial crisis as the dominant factor affecting domestic politics, political rhetoric and international image of the Cyprus Republic. The paper draws together and builds on insights from a number of separate but complementary research projects addressing different facets of the public communication of the financial crisis in Cyprus. The second part provides an account of the unfolding of the financial crisis in Cyprus and some of its major implications; the third examines the impact of the financial crisis upon Cyprus politics and more particularly the displacement of the Cyprus Issue by the Financial Crisis as key issue in the campaign agenda. The fourth part examines the domestic political rhetoric employed for the crisis in Cyprus and more specifically the rhetoric of fear. The fifth part examines the image of Cyprus constructed by the politics of blame, not least in the German political discourse and the sixth part considers the international image of Cyprus.
The study indicates that political, economic and social faces of Slovenia have changed substantially during the half-decade of the crisis. While the ability of citizens to influence important political decisions has been curtailed on both the national and transnational level, instability has become endemic and social solidarity has been eroded. By using quantitative and qualitative content analysis the study analyses how the unfolding crisis has been communicated in the media in the 2008–2013 period with respect to the dynamics between structure and agency as well as regarding the key (inter)national features and contours of the crisis. The study indicates Slovenian news media hardly served as an integrative force and a common forum for an inclusive and open debate. Namely, results of the quantitative content analysis indicate that journalism communicated the “causes” for the crisis by portraying it as something purely accidental, while rarely pointing at the possibility of its systemic nature. Similarly, “solutions” have been predominantly portrayed within the prevailing paradigms or through the neoliberal prism favoured by holders of political and economic power. Qualitative content analysis of how Slovenian news media communicated the decisive breaks and formative moments of the unfolding crisis shows they mostly relied on event orientation, simplistic juxtapositions and naturalisation of the established power divisions on national as well as international levels.