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Where Technology Goes to Die: Representation of Electronic Waste in Global Television News
Halmstad University, School of Health and Welfare, Centre of Research on Welfare, Health and Sport (CVHI), The Wigforss Group.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4697-5394
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents an analysis of television news stories, aired on global networks, which have been reporting on the problems with electronic waste (e-waste). The main objective is to present a perspective on how a “low-frequency” emergency (i.e. a lengthy and ongoing state of environmental emergency) is presented as a news-worthy issue. Drawing on literature on televised “distant suffering”, the paper engages in a multi-modal text-analysis that addresses three questions:  By what techniques is the e-waste-problem presented as an urgent issue? How is the issue addressed? What relations between the spectator and the problem on display are established through the representation? The findings shows how on-location reports from e-waste dumping sites make use of sublime imagery in the visual representations; how e-waste dumping sites are presented as strange spaces, with no clear and comprehensible history; and finally, that the representations suggests an ambivalence and uncertainty when it comes to agency (who’s responsible, what can be done?). It could be argued that these modes of representation favor a (passive) “aesthetic contemplation” of the waste, rather than possibilities for action and relief.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
National Category
Media Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-29495OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-29495DiVA: diva2:855300
Conference
NordMedia 2015: Media Presence – Mobile Modernities, Copenhagen, Denmark, Aug. 13-15, 2015
Available from: 2015-09-21 Created: 2015-09-21 Last updated: 2015-09-24Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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