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The correspondent's experience of war

Markham, Tim (2012) The correspondent's experience of war. In: Plaw, A. (ed.) The Metamorphosis Of War. At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries 80. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Rodopi, pp. 167-190. ISBN 9789042035713.

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Abstract

This chapter takes a political phenomenological approach to the study of war, with the aim of explaining the key determinants of individuals’ conscious experience – in this case war reporters. This perspective avoids both the voluntarist conception of consciousness as ‘owned’ by social agents and the determinism of rational actor theory, holding instead that consciousness is structured by a variety of factors and in sometimes unpredictable ways. Such determinations can be interpreted as strategic, in the sense that individuals and institutions have an interest in how symbolic forms such as professional values and identities are structured. The chapter draws on a discourse analysis of interviews with war correspondents and others active in the field, including military personnel and PR officers, newspaper editors and a US government spokesperson. It identifies two symbolic economies which govern the symbolic value accorded to individuals and media forms, esotericisation and ambivalence, and suggests that while these mostly go unacknowledged there is some scope for reflexivity amongst war reporters of the ‘game’ in which they are engaged. The rules of interaction proceed according to distinctions made between actors, usually not overtly but through expressions of common sense or personal character. However, these rules are subject to change. The chapter assesses how the physical constraints of pool and embedded reporting and the imposition of foreign scheduling influence a journalist’s ability to perform his/her professionalism and autonomy, and ends by suggesting four ways in which new communication technologies produce substantially different experiences of inhabiting a conflict environment.

Item Type: Book Section
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): War reporting, journalism, political phenomenology, Pierre Bourdieu, field theory, communications technology
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Arts > Film, Media and Cultural Studies
Depositing User: Dr Tim Markham
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2012 08:10
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5309

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