The politics of comparison in mediated publics

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News media and social media are often compared in a way that focuses on their contrasts, e.g. as between objective news and passionate opinions – or between a clear-cut public and multiple issue-oriented quasi-publics. If we do not assume such divisions to be pre-given, it becomes possible to study how the contrast is enacted through the media’s own comparative practices that produce navigable pluralities of ’news’ or ’opinions’. Paying attention to media as comparative devices thus turns comparative media studies into a comparison of comparisons. Here is a choice: Do we focus on how these comparative practices are different, or do we focus on how they interlink? I argue that if we want to learn from the comparative work being done with media, the politics of linkages is more interesting. In the paper, I try to demonstrate empirically what is at stake in these politics of comparisons through two case studies. For instance, it becomes possible to not just describe how news media and social media handle issues through setting up socio-technical ‘comparators’ (Deville et al. 2013), but also attend to how actors draw creatively on a range of interlinked comparators in their navigation of mediated publics. Here, the researcher can begin to think with and not just about contemporary media practices when trying to rethink comparison and its politics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event2nd Nordic Science and Technology Studies (STS) Conference - AAU CHP, København, Denmark
Duration: 27 May 201529 May 2015
Conference number: 2


Conference2nd Nordic Science and Technology Studies (STS) Conference
LocationAAU CHP

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