Choose a current issue/debate/controversy and analyze how it is informed and determined by power, spectacle and memory within contemporary mediated culture.
Issue/Debate/Controversy: The Ongoing phone scandal controversy with emphasis placed towards News International.
The issue that I aim to discuss in the essay is the ongoing controversy surrounding tactics employed by News International over the years to gain their news stories.
I’ll be looking into power, spectacle and memory as separate entities whilst linking in the concepts on certain points. I shall begin by looking into power by looking into the argument that knowledge is power, I’d be considering Foucoult’s theory of discourse. One of his arguments is that knowledge ceases to be liberation and turns into surveillance, this would lead me onto linking his findings into the phone hacking scandal which dominated the news schedule of summer 2011 and continues to the point of writing. I would be looking into the power that news international had and how they used that power to gain further knowledge and therefore more power. I would then link that into the spectacle that the discovery of these tactics presented, I would be considering these events with Foucoult’s theory on morality and the master/slave relationship.
I’d also be looking into the spectacle side of news internationals hackings by who they targeted, I’ll particularly be looking into the hacking of celebrities messages and how this is informed by helps determine the celebrity culture. I’d be looking into guy debord’s arguments from society of the spectacle and considering recent issues including Hugh Grant’s role in the scandal and The ryan giggs/twitter affair.
Also looking into Jean Baudrillard ‘s theory of The Simulacra. Baudrillard’s theory is that our society has turned mearly into a representation of reality through symbols and signs. If this theory is true then it must be assumed that news outlets such as news international would play a big part in this illusion, is this scandal a look into ‘reality’ or is it just changing the representation of certain symbols and signs.
The whole scandal has brought up a lot of stories that are embeded in the publics collective memory such as the murders of jessica wells and holly chapman, I’d be looking into Maurice Halbwachs views into collective memory. I’d be looking into how reigniting the country’s collective memory on certain stories has helped to ‘inform’ the audience of the narrative of this summers events. My theory is that this story has captured so much public attention because of the collective memory of these events so this would probably take up a fair chunk of the essay.
I’d be looking into how other papers have reported this case aswell especially under consideration that a few of them have been accused of similar tactics that news international has found themselves being accused of. I would be looking at the power of rival orginisations and social mediums such as twitter in the case against NOTW but also on how the narrative has been played out over many years (the case has been ongoing for a number of years but the stories only really caught public attention recently)