Mediatized Conflict: Developments in Media and Conflict Studies

Mediatized Conflict: Developments in Media and Conflict Studies

Mediatized Conflict: Developments in Media and Conflict Studies

Mediatized Conflict: Developments in Media and Conflict Studies


We live in times that generate diverse conflicts; we also live in times when conflicts are increasingly played out and performed in the media. Mediatized Conflict explores the powered dynamics, contested representations and consequences of media conflict reporting. It examines how the media today do not simply report or represent diverse situations of conflict, but actively 'enact' and 'perform' them.

This important book brings together the latest research findings and theoretical discussions to develop an encompassing, multidimensional and sophisticated understanding of the social complexities, political dynamics and cultural forms of mediatized conflicts in the world today. Case studies include:

  • Anti-war protests and anti-globalization demonstrations
  • Mediatized public crises centering on issues of 'race' and racism
  • War journalism and peace journalism
  • Risk society and the environment
  • The politics of outrage and terror spectacle post 9/11
  • Identity politics and cultural recognition
This is essential reading for Media Studies students and all those interested in understanding how, why, and with what impacts media report on diverse conflicts in the world today.


Walter Lippmann's classic text Public Opinion, first published in 1922, opens with an intriguing tale. He sets the scene by describing a remote island where British, French and German expatriates live together in a harmonious community. In the absence of telegraphic cables connecting them with the outside world, the islanders rely on a mail steamer to visit every 60 days with the latest newspaper. In September of 1914, however, the steamer is delayed, making everyone even more anxious for news than usual, not least because coverage of a celebrated court trial is the talk of the island. 'It was, therefore, with more than usual eagerness that the whole colony assembled at the quay on a day in mid-September to hear from the captain what the verdict had been,' Lippmann writes. Instead, what they learn comes as a shock. Britain and France, they discover, are waging war against Germany. What were the islanders to think? 'For six strange weeks they had acted as if they were friends,' Lippmann observes, 'when in fact they were enemies.'

Neatly pinpointed in this tale are a number of issues concerning the mediation of distant conflict, the central theme of Simon Cottle's Mediatized Conflict. The phrase 'mediatized conflict', he explains, is used here 'to emphasise the complex ways in which media are often implicated within conflicts while disseminating ideas and images about them.' The media, he proceeds to show, possess the capacity to enact or perform conflicts – that is, to actively shape their constitutive nature – in the course of defining their realities in representational terms. The opening chapters of the book clarify the theoretical implications of this approach, taking care to elucidate pertinent concepts, perspectives and debates. Building on this foundation, subsequent chapters revolve around different examples to help extend this path of enquiry. Topics under scrutiny include news and racism, war reporting, peace journalism, coverage of environmental risk, treatments of terrorism, and identity politics. In the final chapter, this array of topics unifies around Cottle's commitment to extending new research trajectories . . .

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