The fragmented Transition: postmemory and TV

November 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

DSC_0305This week I was presenting a paper at the International Congress of Communication in Pamplona. Organized by the University of Navarra, this was the 30th edition of the meeting, and it was devoted to the regional public channels in Spain. I was presenting a paper entitled ‘La transición fragmentada. Contrahegemonías vasca y catalana en los relatos televisivos del 23F’ / The fragmented Transition. Basque and Catalan counter-hegemonies on 23F TV stories’. I have been researching on the TV documentaries of the regional Catalan and Basque public TV since the eighties.

This is from the abstract:

“In particular, the counter-narrative of these televisions questioned the consideration that the coup was an attempt completely failed, and suggested political gains in the territorial reconfiguration of Spain, as well as the demarcation of red lines in the political debate. From the analysis and in-depth reading of six major documentaries on both channels, the author distinguishes the differences between the Basque and Catalan narrative. The text argues that the explanation of the dissent in the Basque Country and Catalonia is in relation of the national conflict: so for the dominant story the Transition was a success and a model to follow, meanwhile for the counter-hegemonic discourse it was an unfinished process with renounces and limitation for democracy”.

It was quite a lateral communication in a congress mainly focused on the political economy of television, regulation and new technology platforms. Despite this, the whole experience was very interesting and I was able to deliver a contribution in the framework of the research project on post-memory in which I am collaborating.

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A great academic happening to talk about frames and metaphors

April 24, 2015 § Leave a comment


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Yesterday I was organizing a half-day seminar entitled ‘Media framing and metaphor use in conflict: politics, science, sports’. It was a very interesting academic event to which around 25 students, postgrad and doctoral candidates, attended. I had the pleasure to know two colleagues working on close issues who are Marina Dekavalla (University of Stirling) and Pieter Maeseele (University of Antwerp).

Marina focused on how Scottish media covered the Scottish referendum last year. She explained about her project on this issue and I am sure that the results are going to be very a accurate account about the media role in this political process. By his side, Pieter offered a very insightful speech on how the media in Flanders has been covering genetic modify issues during the last years; he illustrated us with a critical viewpoint on scientific communications and the role of stakeholders and citizens. Finally, my colleague Bernat López contributed with a engaging and also surprising speech on how the media have used a set of metaphors to refer to the doping issue linked to professional cycling.

All, students and teachers, enjoyed the approach of every speaker. Among the public, we got colleagues coming from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona and Universitat de València, what was really encouraging. I had the very useful help from some colleagues at the Department, who reported on the issue. See more there: http://www.comunicacio.urv.cat/news/5/the-department-of-communication-studies-holds-an-international-seminar-on-framing-and-metaphors. All in all, a great occasion. Thanks to all for attending, contributing and your help.

All

1981’s coup d’état in Spain: a cultural studies approach

September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

It was in a turbulent Madrid. In 1981, democracy was trying to break the iced era of Fracoism dictatorship, but the rightists, Spanish nationalists and the army still had to say a last word. The 23rd February (23-F) was the date, during the voting for a new First Minister, Civil Guards commanded by Colonel Antonio Tejero crashed into the Spanish parliament armed and shouting “Todos al suelo, coño!”.

114_laeTVE cameras and a photographer (EFE) recorded this image, Spaniards turn on the radio that night (la noche de los transistores), and since that moment 23-F became a site of memory, a ‘meaningful place’ ready to be read and re-read for current and future generations. Coedited with Francisca López (Bates College), a new book compiles eleven articles on the 23-F impact on, broadly, Spanish popular culture. The book, Cartografías del 23-F. Representaciones en la prensa, la televisión, la novela, el cine y la cultura popular (Mapping 23F. Representations in media, fiction, cinema and popular culture), is the first monograph that takes a cultural studies approach to the issue.

23-F was explained and retold by the media each ephemeris; films used the moment as a context for drama and humour; writers located the fiction and essays around the matter (including the acclaimed Cerca’s Anatomía de un instante); and journalists, comedians or cartoonists returned to the image and the story of a failed coup d’état that marked the democratic transition and the memory of the Spanish people. The book tries to offer a comprehensible approach to the uses of the 23-F narratives and the discourses around that episode; not only interestingly for historians, media analysts or sociologists, but also to any reader aiming to understand current Spanish politics, society and culture. Added to the editors, experts on media and cultural analysis contribute to the volume: Manuel Palacio (Universidad Carlos III); Arantxa Capdevila (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Hugh O’Donnell (Glasgow Caledonian University); José Carlos Rueda Laffond (Universidad Complutense de Madrid); Laia Quílez (Universitat Rovira i Virgili); Ruth Gutiérrez (Universidad de Navarra); Sira Hernández Corchete (Centro Universitario de la Defensa, Zaragoza), Concepción Cascajosa and Vicente Rodríguez (Universidad Carlos III).

Forthcoming article in TVNM

July 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

I am willing to see my next article in Television & New Media on the public channel (regional and statewide) coverage of the massive demonstration in Barcelona in September 11, 2012 (claiming for the self-determination). The article offers a mixed (quantitative & qualitative) textual approach to the issue and reveals how citizen’s political engagement was minimized by most of the channels. In the text, I discuss how the processes of mediation and mediatization of the event resulted in a narrative that displaced the political, meanwhile offering a frame close to what scholars have identified as ‘strategic’, focusing on politicians statements (with a relevance of official/governmental sources) and secondary aspects around the march. As stated in the text, this also tended to offer a ‘depoliticized’ account of the demonstration:

The result of this type of depoliticization is that “the political” is reserved as a sphere for politicians, while organized citizens are excluded from the political logics. This is part of a wider professional phenomenon in Western societies, where almost everything is susceptible to being explained in economic and financial terms.

… from the concluding remarks.

***

Masking Political Engagement: Television Coverage of a Mass Demonstration in Barcelona

Enric Castelló, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

This article analyzes how statewide and regional public television in Spain handled the demonstration held on September 11, 2012 (the National Day of Catalonia), in Barcelona under the slogan “Catalonia, a New European State.” The author performed a content analysis of fifty-eight news programs and a narrative analysis of eighty-nine stories. The results indicate that the majority of the channels offered limited coverage of the demonstration. The television narratives also minimized the role of citizen agency in the achievement of goals through democratic participation and displayed a depoliticized account. The author argues that the coverage of the march and its consequences resulted in a masking of citizens’ political engagement; far from promoting an understanding of why the march was so massively supported, it instead presented a story on politicians’ strategy. The author relates this case with a wider trend of media coverage of citizens’ protests in a Western post-democratic context.

Keywords

democracy, demonstrations coverage, mediatization, political conflict, public television, television news

Television & New Media, DOI: 10.1177/1527476414545890

Mediatizing conflict in Spain

September 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

We have recently published a book on the mediatization of political conflict within the Spanish context. La mediatización del conflicto político, which I have edited, offers a deep analysis on several political and sociocultural conflicts and its treatment by the Spanish press and radio. The book is leaded by a theoretical approach to the concepts of mediatization and political conflict, which also tries to update the last international advances in the field. A set of nine case studies are analysing aspects like the constitutional trial of the Catalan statue and the massive demonstrations in Barcelona claiming for the independence, the processes of legalization of the Basque political parties, or the controversies in Galicia and the reform of the regional statute. The book is also touching other topics, like the political controversies on the so-called ‘Papepeles de Salamanca’, the banning of bullfighting in Catalonia or the politization of football in Spain.

Overall, I think that with this book we have contributed to a better understanding of how media in Spain, and specifically newspapers, offer a politized and polarized narrative which not always help in a better knowing of the political reality.

Narratives of conflict on Spanish and Catalan television

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Neighbourhood squabbles or claims of right? Narratives of conflict on Spanish and Catalan television

Hugh O’Donnell, Glasgow Caledonian University
Enric Castelló, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona

It is in the explanation of conflicts that narratives of confrontation are most clearly deployed. In the definition of the problems, in the roles embodied by the different subjects, in the lexical choices made when referring to territories or symbolic objects, we establish differences in terms of how such confrontations are (to be) understood. These narratives are articulated through structures which work to construct the origin of the problem, the solution, the victim or aggressor and so on. Applying a narratological analysis, the aim of this article is to offer a set of key elements for understanding news constructions of the — essentially political — conflict among nations and regions within Spain. Starting from a study of five cases and a comparison of ten TV news items from both the Spanish (TVE) and the Catalan (TVC) public-service channels concerning recent conflicts, the authors attempt to throw light on the ways in which different and divergent conceptions of the same set of problems are presented from a “national” point of view.

Keywords: Catalonia, narratology, news narratives, political conflict, Spain, television

In: Narrative Inquiry 21:2. 2011. (pp. 191–212)

A ‘discursive vacuum’ on the independence

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Next September, Arantxa Capdevila and I will be presenting a paper in the X Conference of the Asociación de Ciencia Política y de la Administración in Murcia. We did research on the treatment of “the independence” as a topic in four important newspapers during the elections in Catalonia. We compared the results between 2006 and 2010. The results suggest that the independence is growing as a ‘media topic’ in the newspapers. In 2010, we could consider that it was a ‘electoral topic’. Despite this, we found that the treatment of the issue was very superficial. The discourses on the newspapers regarding the independence as a political project are poor and scarcely analytical. Few arguments (backing or not the independence) are given and when a presence, it is mostly used to ‘adjectivating’ or to “attacking” or “giving support” to some political leaders. In this sense, we have defined this situation as a “discursive vacuum” on the independence, a meaning space inhabited or poorly filled with any sense.

Get full text here: Capdevila_Castello_AECPA2011

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