Education PYPA 2011

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Essays

Masculinities and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict…

Sabine Piccard (Pristina, Kosovo)Course: Gender, Sexuality and Violent Conflict Masculinities and Gender-Based Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings – Addressing the Gap in Violence Against Men  1. Introduction The concept of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) generally...

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Hierarchy and canonization of memory

Course: Memory and its role in conflict and conflict transformationLecturer: Orli Fridman Hierarchy and Canonization of Memory: Adaptation of Historiography to Socio-political Identity Construction Course participant: Jasmina Gavrankapetanović-Redžić, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina In...

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Media and Remembering

Course: Media and Remembering: The Role of Media in the Public Perception of the Past
Lecturer: prof. dr Snježana Milivojević

Course Outline:

In contemporary media and memory studies the past is seen as a multi-valued symbolical construct in in the construct of which media have a significant role. A democratic society expects the media to critically approach the present and therefore also the past. Media is one of the most suitable societal institutions for questioning the past, since ‘past events’ are opened for critical contemplation only when brought into public space. However, this is  a conflict zone, an ideological battle field in which a symbolical battle is being fought for understanding of the past. Such debate blocks the routine manufacturing of mythologized ‘history for populist need,’ abets rational discussion about the past, and cultivates memories about it. But, media contributions to the presentation of historical events are not only specific to informative media. The past and history are also favorite topics of popular culture, and discussions about them are made on television and in tabloids. Comparable to this, only media production as a whole can present an indicator of complexity of the symbolical process of constructing the past in a society.

The course will in particular analyze key media strategies of engaging the past in the societies of the former Yugoslavia; namely, ignorance, denegation, and romanticization.  Ignorance and denegation are strategies for active creation of narratives privileging official, patriotic, and desirable versions of the past. Romanticization is the media’s response to the feeling of uprootedness and the formulation of identity changes in nostalgic or romantic frames. This implies ideological differences in the treatment and commemoration of the past which has resulted in different politics of memory. Another important element of these strategies is the time-distance to the conflict past: commercial logic and an amusing profile of most media have been converting ‘the past’ into a sealed topic which can be easily isolated and forgotten. Politics of not-remembering have been used as a main argument for the reconstruction of ‘healthy’ relationships in post-conflict societies, while its leaders are ‘un-ideological,’ commercial media who nurture forgetting.

Main topics:

Why is the media powerful? Is media only presenting the present or is it creating the pesent at the same time? Does ‘the delusion of transparency’ minimize media’s influence? What does the return of ideology into media productions reveal and how does media defend the status quo? Media representation and symbolical practices; Presenting the present in absence and the creation of meaning; Free, independent and responsible media; A comparative insight into journalism as the main media profession; Social responsibility – public life as a media spectacle; Media history and media archeology; Culture of remembering as a media construct; Politics of remembering: the media’s construction of the past; Main strategies in media presentations of the past: ignorance, denegation, romanticization, and critical contemplation about the past; Ignorance and denegation of the past as a patriotic mission; Popular media content, presentation of history and nostalgia; Public opinion and the perception of the past.

Goals and working methodology:

The goal of the course is to reconsider complex roles of media in the public perception of the past. In contemporary media and memory studies, the past is seen as a multi-valued symbolical construct in which’s construction media have a significant role.

• Participants of the course will be acquainted with and discuss key media concepts significant to the understanding of constitutive media roles. Additionally, through critical reading of media practices, they will reconsider the way in which the media selects, interprets and recycles narratives about events and actors from the past.
• Participants will independently choose and analyze a media archive from the recent past of former-Yugoslavia and compare it to later public perception of the respective events. In accordance to changes in public opinion and media production related to certain events, participants will analyze the lasting quality of journalistic interpretative forms in picturing key places of memory and their significance in the formation of public opinion about them.  
• Through group work, participants will independently pursue media analyses with the goal of collecting materials for a joint media project which will be produced as the final course obligation. The media project can be in the form of a documentary, media web page or a multimedia project in the filed of media and remembering.

Literature:

1. Annabel McGoldrick: War Journalism and Objectivity, Conflict&Communication Online (2006), Vol.5. No.2,  available at: www.cco.regener-line.de
2. Barbie Zelizer: Why memory's work on journalism does not reflect journalism's work on memory, Memory Studies (2008) 1: 79 DOI: 10.1177/1750698007083891, available at : http://mss.sagepub.com/content/1/1/79.
3. Denis McQuail: Accountability of Media to Society, European Journal of Communication (1997), Vol.12 No.4, pp. 511-531.
4. Thematic block Media and Responsibility / Responsibility in Media, Genero, 2007, Beograd: Centar za ženske studije.
5. Snježana Milivojević: Volimo te otadžbino naša..., u Odsutne partije (1998), Beograd: Cesid.
6. Media archive from the Archive of Political Communicology of the Faculty for Political Science in Belgrade