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Media and the Politics of Offence (2019)

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Media and the Politics of Offence (2019) 

Contributor(s): Graefer, Anne (Editor)  

Binding: Paperback
Pub Date: July 15, 2019
This book explores different forms of mediated offence in the context of Trump's America, Brexit Britain, and the rise of far-right movements across the globe. In this political landscape, the so-called 'right to offend' is often seen as a legitimate weapon against a 'political correctness gone mad' that stifles 'free speech'. Against the backdrop of these current developments, this book aims to generate a productive dialogue among scholars working in a variety of intellectual disciplines, geographical locations and methodological traditions. The contributors share a concern about the complex and ambiguous nature of offence as well as about the different ways in which this so-called 'negative affect' comes to matter in our everyday and socio-political lives. Through a series of instructive case studies of recent media provocations, the authors illustrate how being offended is more than an individual feeling and is, instead, closely tied to political structures and power relations.


Provides a nuanced understanding of mediated offence and challenging mainstream discussions through which offensive media content is often framed and understood by educators and media experts.

Sheds light on an underexplored field with diverse theoretical and empirical analyses.

Goes far beyond a westernised approach by providing cross-cultural insights to the study of media and offence from international scholars

Commendation Quotes:

"This valuable collection of essays helps to foster a more sophisticated approach to important questions of offensiveness in public discourse. Situating offence in relation to structures of power, the book is diverse in its empirical cases and analytical approaches; takes us beyond westernised contexts as well as including them; and deals with a range of different forms of expression, representation and practice." (Michael Pickering, Loughborough University, UK)

"This collection is both timely and extremely welcome in a climate where issues of offence have become of central political importance. Wide-ranging in its scope, the book provides an accessible introduction to the contemporary entanglements of media, offence, controversy, civility and affect." (Feona Attwood, Professor of Cultural Studies, Communication and Media, Middlesex University, UK)

"This is a significant and timely collection exploring the knotty business of mediated offence in contemporary political landscapes.. A must-read for scholars and students in media and communications, cultural studies, gender studies, sociology and political science." (Sharon Lockyer, Brunel University London, UK)

"This multi-disciplinary volume highlights the increasingly central use of offence as a communicative resource for taking a stance, staging protests, silencing others and gaining a voice, combining classic thinkers such as Goffman with up-to-the-minute case studies. A must-read for divisive times." (Caroline Tagg, Open University, UK)

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Introduction to Media and the Politics of Offence.- Chapter 2: Political Offensiveness in the Mediated Public Sphere: The Performative Play of Alignments.- Chapter 3: Creating an Emotional Community: The Negotiation of Anger and Resistance to Donald Trump.- Chapter 4: Unruly Women and Carnivalesque Counter-Control: Offensive Humour in Mediated Social Protest.- Chapter 5: Visual Politics in South Africa: Old and New Modes of Exclusion, Protest and Offence.- Chapter 6: Other Bodies within Us: Shock, Affect and Reality Television Audiences.- Chapter 7: 'Period Sex' Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the Feminist Politics of Offence.- Chapter 8: Fans at Work: Offence as Motivation for Critical Vidding.- Chapter 9: Blocked Access: When Pornographers take Offence.- Chapter 10: Regulatory Expectations of Offended Audiences: The Citizen Interest in Audience Discourse.- Chapter 11: Negotiating vulnerability in the trigger warning debates.- Chapter 12: Gruesome Images in the Contemporary Israeli Mediated Public Sphere.

Biographical Note:

Anne Graefer is Lecturer in Media Theory at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, UK. She is co-author, with Ranjana Das, of Provocative Screens: Offended Audiences in Britain and Germany (2017).

Physical Info: 0.57" H x 8.27" L x 5.83" W (0.72 lbs) 258 pages

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