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- PublicationBook Review: An Unlikely Audience: Al Jazeera’s Struggle in America(Sage, 2018-07-01)All happy media families resemble one another; every unhappy media family is unhappy in its own way. An Unlikely Audience examines the “confusion in the house” of Al Jazeera after its entry in the U.S. news media market and offers a novel explanation of the network’s struggles. A metaphor of a “port of entry” allows Will Youmans to foreground the role that specific locations played in shaping the network’s advancement and in molding its attempts to establish a solid footprint in the United States.
- PublicationImage brokers: visualizing world news in the age of digital circulation(Taylor & Francis, 2018-03-06)A proverbial statement of a picture being worth “a thousand words” may have been an early observation of the tensions between the world and its representations. Intensified, those tensions and uncertainty about the adequate means of describing reality have reportedly developed into a veritable crisis of representation that, since Foucault, has been diagnosed in much contemporary cultural production. A solid and dependably “real” world has been rendered inaccessible to human beings now destined to deal with a mere play of signifiers. But who creates signs and, therefore, who exercises power over the representations of the world we get? Zeynep Devrim Gürsel’s monograph Image Brokers: Visualizing World News in the Age of Digital Circulation enters a conversation on representation with a question about news images and their role in the worldmaking. She sets out an anthropological investigation of news agencies and visual content providers in order to understand the process through which some images become formative fictions, that is, dominant narratives about the world, while other images never stand a chance to “circulate with evidentiary or truth value” (p. 14). To do so, she interrogates the infrastructures of news image-making and follows a very loosely aggregated group of decision-makers in the world of photojournalism whom she calls image brokers.
- PublicationBook Review: Handbook of Culture and Memory by Wagoner, B. (Ed.)(Sage, 2018-07-09)Connections between culture and memory have been actively explored by historians, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and literary theorists for a better part of the past century, most intensively since 1925 when Maurice Halbwachs published Social Framing of Memory (Les Cadres Sociaux de la Mémoire). These extensive efforts (Erll, Nunning, & Young, 2010; Erll & Young, 2011; Olick, Vinitzky-Seroussi, & Levy, 2011) have aimed to understand remembering, commemorating, forgetting, and related activities from the standpoint of the genres they adopt, the participants they involve, and the symbols they use. In that context, the current volume positions itself at the intersection of memory and culture and strives to rescue the former from causal explanations dear to the heart of psychologists in order to root it in social and symbolic practices. Thus, it is bound to cover a lot of familiar ground before it sheds new light on the subject. The Handbook of Culture and Memory edited by Brady Wagoner masters this task by arguing that culture is to be viewed as a resource for and constraint on the memory process (p. 3) and by detailing the intricate dynamics of memory and culture in several contexts. Readers, however, have to put aside expectations triggered by the volume’s designation as a handbook. Unlike most academic handbooks, this collection does not offer an exhaustive treatment of the latest research on the intersections of culture and memory, programmatic projections of future inquiries, or a comprehensive bibliography. Instead, it surveys a range of sites where memory and culture are involved in mutually constituting people’s pasts and presents.