Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

7-2004

Conference Name

International Society for Political Psychology

Conference City

Lund, Sweden

Conference Dates

July 15-18, 2004.

Abstract

Global news reflects and constructs the continuing story and structure of global hegemony and resistance, a television serial with a simple formula that keeps the audience coming back for more. Words and images of terror and protest are crucial elements of this story. In the play, hegemons and resisters have different masks, costumes, and props. Some characters speak and others don't. In any case, one learns little of what goes on behind the political media spectacle. Hegemons and resisters, protesters and terrororists, are simple free-floating figures that close discourse rather than open it, hardly reflecting the complexity and ambiguity from which they are plucked.. What one learns about are the masks, costumes, and props. There are scripted reports of actions and events; standard speeches with formulaic rhetoric. One never looks behind the mask to the actors; one does not go backstage. More concretely, one learns about the acts; one does not learn about the persons and why they engage in these acts. The story of hegemony and resistance dehumanizes the actors so that they can perform their stylized roles in blocky action sequences and the play may go on.

The global theater of the news has its own logic of expansion and production. Globalization generates discontent. Yet, even as people resist globalization, they use and expand it. The global media provide the virtual stage on which the resisters perform. As they use this stage, the resisters, paradoxically, provide the content which helps globalization to grow. The resisters energize global stories with dramatic words and images. They provide vicarious thrills and chills as they feed the media’s need for excitement. They are an essential element of the basic conflict plot that attracts audiences and advertisers, and on which the media depend. Hegemony and resistance, in order to be effective, become an element of the global political media spectacle.

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