Oktober 07 seminar – Københavns Universitet

Kulturens Medialisering > Seminarer > Oktober 07 seminar

Preliminary programme

  The Mediatization of Society:

Transforming Culture, Consumption and Politics

Conference October 8-9, 2007

University of Copenhagen, Søndre  Campus (Amager)

Auditorium 23.0.49

The conference will revisit theories of the relationship between media and society. Media are no longer “outside” society and producing effects “on” society, but embedded in the very social and cultural fabric of all social and cultural institutions. Media have become an integral part of self-representation and identity formation, and through media social ties are established and sustained. However, media are not only integral to culture and society, but have also achieved a momentum of their own and gained independence of media in terms of both organisation and language. An important challenge is to conceptualize this simultaneous embeddedness and independence of media in culture and society.

The conference will discuss and develop the concept of mediatization in order to grasp how media work as agents of social and cultural change. In particular, the conference will focus upon the increasing interpenetration of different aspects of human life by processes of technology-based communication that reshape symbolic forms of society and their modes of production and circulation. The conference will address the theoretical issues on the basis of empirical work on consumption, politics, and culture. The old question of media’s impact on society is still valid, but must be reformulated in order to specify the processes through which core elements of a social or cultural activity (e.g. politics or consumption) are mediatized.

The Conference is organized by the research priority area on The Mediatization of Culture at Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen .


Monday, October 8 - Auditorium 23.0.49

10,00: Welcome

Morning session: The Mediatization of Culture and Consumption

10,15-11,30: Media and the popularization of political discourse by Bondebjerg

In a journalistic magazine on the Danish public service channel DR2 a couple of years ago one of the themes was to try how far a politician would go on television. One of the gimmicks was to offer male politicians female body tequila, and we have also seen Danish politicians per form in entertainment programs like Crazy with dance and quiz shows. In many ways the politician as media figure has moved from a public discourse of seriousness to the entertaiment discourse of popular culture. Politicians today have to be able to per form on different stages, and the way they communicate as public and political figures is clearly related to dimensions of per sonality and charisma. This is also clear from the popularity of biographies of politicians, written by journalists and the rise in novels and films with a political plot. In this presentation I will trace aesthetic and historical tendencies in the documentary portrait of politicians from the late 1950’s till today and put it in a sociological context of modernity, popular culture and the public sphere.

Ib Bondebjerg is professor in film and media studies, Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen. He was co-director of the European research project Changing Media – Changing (2000-2005) and director of the Danish research project Media and Democracy in the Network Society (2002-2004). He is editor in chief of the international journal Northern Lights. His research covers Danish and European film and media history and documentary theory and history. His edited books in English include Moving Images, Culture and the Mind (2000), European Culture and the Media (2004) and Media, Democracy and European Culture (2008, in press). His forthcoming and latest book in Danish is Narratives of Reality. The history of the Danish tv-documentary (2007).

11,30-12,30:‘The Good Life’ –lifestyle programmes on television by Christa Lykke Christensen.

TV programmes featuring housing, gardening, food, health, consumption and body, collectively considered as lifestyle programmes, set out normative guidelines and standards saying that a modern life is about providing everyday life ’style’. They offer viewers spaces for reflecting on the practice of ’the others’ where matters concerning everyday life, taste, and consumption can be studied and judged. Engaging with Nick Couldry’s argument, I’ll ask if both per formers and audiences are governed through the unreflective naturalization of particular behavioural norms, showing that the premise of the programmes is the possibility and demands of change which unfold in a particular atmosphere of comfort and unconcern – features well known from the stimulating sensuality of the consumption sphere.

Christa Lykke Christensen, Ph.D.,  is Associate Professor at Dept. of Media, Cognition, and Communication at University of Copenhagen . Her research is currently focusing on knowledge and cross mediality in modern TV entertainment and she’s working on projects on satire and life style programmes

12,30- 13,30: Lunch

Afternoon: The Mediatization of Culture

13,30-14,45: The Media as an Independent Social Institution, by Stig Hjarvard

In order to understand the changing role of media in society and culture, we need to consider the history of the media as a social institution vis-à-vis other institutions in society. During the 20th century the different mass media gradually became more independent of other institutions like politics, education, arts and religion. With the spread of mobile, small and inter per sonal media around the turn of the 21st century, the media also became integrated into the culture of civil society. Mediatization of society and culture thus implies that media have acquired the status of meta-capital: they are both an independent institution that constitutes the arena of society as a whole and at the same time part of the fabric of other institutions.

Stig Hjarvard , Ph.D., is professor at Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen . He has published widely on news and journalism, globalization, media history and mediatization theory. He is heading the research programme “Newspa per s and Journalism in Transition” financed by the Danish Research Council, and he is head of the Nordic Network on the Mediatization of Religion and Culture”, financed by the Nordic Research Council.

14,45-15,05: Coffee

15,05-16,20: Celebrity culture, Celebrification and the Paparazzi Photograph by Anne Jerslev.

According to Nick Couldry, celebrification is the very process whereby a private person is transformed into a media person. Thus, celebrification is a process of mediatization where not only the individual person but also her body is rendered photographic, photogenic and public. However, celebrification is an ambivalent interplay between private and public which form part of celebrity culture as a whole. In my talk I want to take issue with the paparazzi photograph as an important commodity in contemporary celebrity culture as well as being an arena of celebrification where the private and the public is constantly contested. Furthermore I want to show how a certain paparazzi style has expanded into other photographic genres.

Anne Jerslev is Associate Professor at the Film and Media Studies Section, University of Copenhagen. She has written books on David Lynch, cult films, youth and films, and media and intimacy. She is currently head of the research project High-tension Aesthetics. Ethics and Aesthetics in Contemporary Media funded by the Danish Research Council for the Humanities.

Tuesday, October 9

10,00 – 12,30: Workshop with presentation of ongoing research projects. The workshop is only for registered participants.  The session takes place in room 23.3.47.

Helle Kannik Haastrup, University of Copenhagen: "One re-enchanted evening - the award show as mediated ritual and celebrity worship"

Line Nybro Petersen, University of Copenhagen: "Constructing Superpowers in Popular Culture"

Camilla Dindler: "Negotiating the political agenda - the Danish Social-Liberal Party and the press"

12,30- 13,30: Lunch

Afternoon: The Mediatization of Politics - in Auditorium 23.0.49

13,30- 14,45: Performing politics: popular culture and political participation  by John Street.

Music and musicians are often associated with political causes, but what is not clear is how this association is supposed to work. Can listening to or playing music also involve participating in politics? This paper explores the conditions under which politics and music become linked. It does this by comparing two UK examples of music-based political movements, Jubilee 2000 (which culminated in Live 8) and Rock Against Racism. It ends by arguing that connection between politics and music has to be understood along three dimensions: the organisation of the link, its legitimation, and its cultural performance.

John Street is a professor of politics at the University of East Anglia , Norwich, UK . He is the author several books, including Politics and Popular Culture and Mass Media, Politics and Democracy. His recent research has focused on: the relationship between music and politics, the cultural politics of arts prizes, and on the role of celebrities in contemporary politics. He is a co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock, and a member of the editorial group of the journal Popular Music.

14,45 – 15,15: Coffee

15,15- 17,00: Panel on Media, Politics and Popular Culture. Chair: Stig Hjarvard.

Maybe politics today can be described to a large degree as performance. The media more than ever act as a stage for politics and politicians, and questions of political content and ideology are often intertwined with the form of the political message and how the politician perform on stage. Questions of front stage and back stage, the public and the private have gained new importance and taken new forms. This panels deals with the mediatization of politics and politicians in tv, on film and in relation to new media and not just in factual genres and formats, but also in fiction and entertainment. We now have weekly popularity poles for politicians measuring both charisma and political profile: have politics become pure infotainment and popularity poles?
In the panel:
Professor Ib Bondebjerg, Dept. Media, Cognition & Communication, University of Copenhagen
Professor John Street, University of East Anglia
Professor Jens Hoff , Dept. Political Science, University of Copenhagen.