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The Dynamics of Mediatized Conflicts

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Edited By Mikkel Fugl Eskjær, Stig Hjarvard and Mette Mortensen

This book engages with the mediatized dynamics of political, military and cultural conflicts. In today’s global and converging media environment, the interrelationship between media and conflict has been altered and intensified. No longer limited to the realms of journalism and political communication, various forms of new media have allowed other social actors to communicate and act through media networks. Thus, the media not only play an important role by reporting conflicts; they have also become co-constitutive of the ways conflicts develop and spread.
The first part of the book, Transnational Networks, addresses the opportunities and challenges posed by transnational media to actors seeking to engage in and manage conflicts through new media platforms. The second part, Mobilising the Personal: Crossing Public and Private Boundaries, concerns the ways in which media framings of conflicts often revolve around personal aspects of public figures. The third part, Military, War, and Media, engages with a classic theme of media studies – the power relationship between media, state, and military – but in light of the mediatized condition of modern warfare, in which the media have become an integrated part of military strategies.
The book develops new theoretical arguments and a series of empirical studies that are essential reading for students and scholars interested in the complex roles of media in contemporary conflicts.
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Chapter One: The Mediatization of Environmental Conflict in the ‘Network Society’

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CHAPTER ONE

The Mediatization OF Environmental Conflict IN THE ‘Network Society’

ALISON ANDERSON



INTRODUCTION

This chapter examines the analytical utility of the concept of ‘mediatization’ for understanding the communication of environmental conflicts in contemporary society. A new media ecology is made up of complex, dynamic, overlapping flows, in which mainstream media frequently operate in tandem with new communication networks. Who gains media access, why, and how raises crucial questions about power relations in society and the nature of news production. Activists have long been at the forefront in using ‘new’ information technologies and digital networked communication, which enables environmental organisations to coordinate actions with increasing speed and transgressing traditional geographical boundaries. However, there is considerable variability in the extent to which environmental groups are adopting such tactical tools, and their objectives may be very different. Moreover, while this may achieve enhanced visibility, it does not necessarily subvert established structures of media and political power. Mediatization from this perspective involves recognising that what gets in the news is the product of struggles between groups with competing definitions of reality. The concept thus sheds important light on how media actively shape environmental conflict and challenger groups are forced to resort to creative tactics using new modes of communication to attempt to gain media space and symbolically counter established imbalances of power. I begin by providing an overview of the literature on ← 31 | 32 → environmental conflicts and the news, before...

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