Media Now: Emotion, Affect and Mythologies

mch-final-poster_march15th_highres-page-001We are delighted to welcome:

Prof Karin Wahl-Jorgensen (School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University)

Dr Darren Kelsey (Media, Culture and Heritage, Newcastle University)

Chair: Dr Florian Zollmann (Newcastle University)

Prof Karin Wahl-Jorgensen (School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University) – ‘Anger as a Political Emotion in Media Discourses: Trump, Brexit and Beyond’

Wednesday, March 15, 3pm – 5pm in Armstrong Building 2.90

This presentation looks at the role of anger as a political emotion, in the context of recent political events. Anger has historically been viewed as a “dangerous” emotion in public life, associated with uncontrollable aggression and violence. Yet social movement scholars have discerned a mobilising potential in anger: Through sharing the experience of being angry about particular forms of injustice, citizens and activists are collectively empowered to take action.

The presentation explores how news media represent anger in a variety of different contexts, including routine protest coverage, the EU Referendum campaign, and the US Presidential election campaign of Donald Trump. The presentation suggests that anger is frequently constructed as an explanatory framework for understanding grievances, but also as a rhetorical and strategic tool for mobilising support amongst disenfranchised groups. Anger stems from collective and publicly articulated grievances, usually against larger injustices that no individual can address on their own. Ultimately, anger is always-already political, for better or worse.

Dr Darren Kelsey (Media, Culture and Heritage, Newcastle University) – ‘“You’re not laughing now, are you?” Farage, Brexit and the Hero’s Journey: a case study of affective mythology’

This paper is concerned with affective mythology and right wing populism in media coverage of Nigel Farage. It considers how archetypal traits of mythological Heroism appeared in the Mail Online through Farage’s image as a man of the people who distinguished himself from the political establishment. Through Campbell’s (1949) monomyth we see a distinct trait of this archetypal convention: The Hero’s Journey. Farage was constructed as a man on a mission, fighting against the odds, overcoming trials and tribulations to “take back control” from the EU. Hero mythology functioned to suppress ideological and historical complexities that contradicted Farage’s populist image. This analysis then extends to consider the affective-discursive loops operating through reader comments on the Mail Online website. This enables us to look more closely at responses to news stories and the contributions of readers that reflect the affective qualities of the monomyth. Through this attention to a powerful albeit familiar archetype, the ideological tensions of British national identity and EU politics are analysed in light of the referendum.


The seminar is free and is open to all interested in attending. No need to book