How the news media shapes environmental direct action

Newlands, Maxine (2008) How the news media shapes environmental direct action. In: Abstracts from the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association Annual Conference. From: MeCCSA 2008: Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association Annual Conference , 9-11 January 2008, Cardiff, UK. (Unpublished)

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Over the past two decades, the media representation of environmental direct action (EDA) frames its subjects with images of people with 'dreadlocks', 'facial piercing', adorned with 'colourful gloves', 'hats and scarves', often clinging to a tree trunk. Expressions such as 'crusties', 'hedgers', 'tree huggers', 'wishy-washy liberal lefties', 'the great unwashed' and not to mention 'sandal-wearing hippies' are often applied to eco-activists. If you mention the name Swampy, your audience will understand what you mean.(Paterson: 2001). News media discourse often conjures up these images to represent EDA - many of which derive from idioms articulated during the anti-roads protests of the early 1990s. These contribute to the contemporary discursive formation of environmental activism. However, such representations have not always been associated with EDA. Using case studies of newspaper reporting of EDA, this paper will maintain from the beginning of EDA to the anti-roads movements, media representations have actually supported EDA. A marked shift towards more negative representations coincide with the anti-roads protests of the 1990s and resulting anti-globalisation protests in 1999, coupled with formal and mainstream political acknowledgement of environmentalism. This paper, using discourse theory (Laclau and Mouffe 1985), will analyse the relationship between media and environmental discourse. The work will show firstly, the discursive effect of media framing of subjects – as 'smelly hippies'. Secondly, the discursive struggle over the term 'environmentalist' following the interventions of party politicians and multinationals and finally, to ask what is the future of environmentalism/EDA as a discourse?

Item ID: 35223
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
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This presentation appeared in the Environment & the Media session of the conference (10/01/2008):

Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2014 01:13
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1903 Journalism and Professional Writing > 190301 Journalism Studies @ 60%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified @ 40%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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