Construing oppositions, demarcating a we-ness : The dramaturgy of a live TV debate on the refugee crisis

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Hellman , C M E & Lerkkanen , T M M 2019 , ' Construing oppositions, demarcating a we-ness : The dramaturgy of a live TV debate on the refugee crisis ' , European Journal of Cultural Studies , vol. 22 , no. 1 , pp. 37-59 . https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549417719060

Title: Construing oppositions, demarcating a we-ness : The dramaturgy of a live TV debate on the refugee crisis
Author: Hellman, Carin Matilda Emelie; Lerkkanen, Tuulia Minja Marjatta
Contributor organization: Sociology
Department of Social Research (2010-2017)
Centre for Research on Addiction, Control and Governance
Date: 2019-02-01
Language: eng
Number of pages: 23
Belongs to series: European Journal of Cultural Studies
ISSN: 1367-5494
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549417719060
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/296515
Abstract: This study concerns the dramaturgy of a 2-hour-long live televised debate by the Finnish public service broadcasting company YLE regarding how the country was to answer to increased numbers of asylum seekers in 2015. It provides insight into generic features of live TV discussions for articulating the refugee crisis as a national political concern. It unfolds a media construction ‘in the making’ identifying: (1) the positions that participants are given and taken in the TV discussion context and (2) the dramaturgical execution that served to create oppositions and tensions. The study points out how dramatic compositions of scenes utilized participants’ assumed speakers’ positions and so created action and tensions. Despite efforts of a bold and fresh grasp, the programme channelled a classic polarization construct between ‘us’ (Finnish people) and ‘them’ (refugees) in its mere point of departure. The analysis shows the wrong and undeserving ways in which the otherhood of the immigrants is performed in a Finnish context. During the live broadcast, refugees were put to the test to demonstrate their compliance with right sorts of otherhood; they were asked to eat Finnish food and show their skills in the Finnish language. The analysis shows how journalistic and editorial decisions surrounding the dramaturgy of a live TV show actively contribute to the reproduction of certain political setups and elements of blame and shame. It points out a great need for awareness and sensitivity of the imaginary material that orders and underpins journalistic narratives regarding the European refugee situation.
Subject: 5141 Sociology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: closedAccess
Self-archived version: submittedVersion


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