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Article

О социологах, телеведущих, рыцарях и чучелах: деконструкция медиадискурса социальных проблем

The question of social problems often meets with a central epistemological issue; how do we know that a given social problem actually exists? This article takes on this issue with a constructionist approach, employing the rhetorical deconstruction of media discourse witnessed in the work of Ibarra and Kitsuse. In such terms a social problem does not exist independently, it can only be considered to exist with reference to some linguistic version that produces it. Social Constructionism is seen to be the most suitable approach for the research of the processes of media communication as it allows the researcher to deconstruct this discourse into its constituent fragments, which can then be analysed . A review of this theory is provided to acquaint the reader with the strength of this approach. The media world is seen as a place that, rather than faithfully reflecting social reality, actually contributes to the construction of social reality. The focus of this article is the application of constructionism to the talk show ‘Gordon Quixote’, which is dedicated to discussion of the ‘social issue’ of glamour. The analysis of this programme allows us to reveal the strategies of problematisation and deproblematisation of glamour as a social and cultural phenomenon. This leads the author to the conclusion that television programmes are creating only the appearance of public discussion on the ‘hot topics’ of the day, in as far as they choose what things to make into ‘hot topics’. This means the creation of ‘scarecrow’ topics that are not really connected to serious issues. The presenter can take on the role of the knight furiously fighting windmills in the classic quixotic sense. The great source of excitement in the mass media is linked with the internal prerogative to successfully market one’s programming and appear ‘non-conformist’ in the treatment of issues before a skeptical audience.