Recollections of September 11 in three English villages: identifications and self-narrations

Adams, Matthew and Burke, P.J. (2006) Recollections of September 11 in three English villages: identifications and self-narrations Journal of ethnic and migration studies, 32 (6). pp. 983-1003. ISSN 1469-9451

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This paper examines the responses of adults of white ethnicity in three English villages to media coverage of the attacks of 11 September 2001. We analyse how news narratives set up particular kinds of identification with which audiences engage and/or disengage. We highlight the emotional, ambivalent and contradictory nature of identifications and dis-identifications which respondents make with the victims and perpetrators of the attacks. We explore their notions, expressed explicitly and implicitly, about Englishness, normality and niceness, perceptions of Islam and Muslims, and the joint American and British military action. Their accounts are shaped by, and form part of, ongoing negotiations of identity and subjectivity that are triggered by media consumption: they constitute forms of 'self narration'. In particular we examine the intertwining of emotional responses and modes of reasoning, discourses of ordinariness as a means of encompassing 'others' and questions of audience agency in relation to the regulation of social conduct. We argue that the strong perception among our informants that the British media and the Labour government are tightly constrained by discourses of political correctness is also reflected in their own accounts. We found a great deal of nervousness about what it is possible to say, and fear about openly expressing blatantly racist views. Thus what is not said--absences and pregnant pauses in their utterances--requires inferential analysis if we are to glean a fuller picture of our respondents' reactions.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emotion; Discourse; Identifications; Media Narratives; Political Correctness; Regulation of Social Conduct; Audience Agency; September 11
Subjects: L000 Social Sciences
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1080/13691830600761461
Faculties: Faculty of Health and Social Sciences > School of Applied Social Science
Depositing User: editor sass
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2009
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2011 14:16

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