Media Rituals: A Critical Approach

Media Rituals: A Critical Approach

Media Rituals: A Critical Approach

Media Rituals: A Critical Approach


Media Rituals rethinks our accepted concepts of ritual behaviour for a media-saturated age. It connects ritual directly with questions of power, government, and surveillance and explores the ritual space which the media construct and where their power is legitimated.Drawing on sociological and anthropological approaches to the study of ritual, Couldry applies the work of theorists such as Durkheim, Bourdieu and Bloch to a number of important media arenas: the public media event; reality TV; Webcam sites; talk shows and docu-soaps; media pilgrimages; the construction of celebrity. In a final chapter, he imagines a different world where the media's ritual power is less, because the possibilities of participation in media production are more evenly shared.


[O]ur codes of conduct are as riddled with contradictions and as full of disproportions as are the forms of our social life, as is the structure of our society.

(Norbert Elias, The Civilising Process, 1994:520)

[Contemporary societies] are required by their very dynamics to become increasingly mythical.

(Ernesto Laclau, New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time, 1990:67)

'Is this … is this for real?' I'm scanning the room, looking for signs of a camera, lights, some hidden evidence that a film crew was here earlier or is right now maybe in the apartment next door, shooting me through holes strategically cut into the crimson and black walls.

'What do you mean, Mr Ward?' Palakon asks. 'Real?'

'I mean, is this like a movie?' I'm asking, shifting around in my chair. 'Is this being filmed ? '

'No, Mr Ward,' Palakon says politely. 'This is not like a movie and you are not being filmed .'

(Bret Easton Ellis, Glamorama, 2000:425) . . .

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