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Regular version of the site

Article

«Медиасобытия»: теория, конца которой нет?

Социологический журнал. 2019. Т. 25. № 4. С. 28-37.

The article outlines the key propositions and further prospects of the media event theory founded by Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz in their 1992 book Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of History. The ritual approach they suggested, according to which media events are understood as large-scale televised performances meant to integrate the society, has received a variety of alternative readings. The critique of media events’ ceremonial model mainly follows three directions: (1) the restrictions of neo-Durkheimian paradigm, which emphasizes the consensual nature of media events; (2) the narrowness of the initial definition of media events’ genre and its three scenarios («conquests», «contests», «coronations»); (3) consideration of media events as televised phenomena only, without taking into account other types of media and their interaction. The article shows that one of the possible extensions of Dayan and Katz’s theory can be to develop the concept of transformative media events, which are understood as mediatized social dramas framing the renewal of the social order or its basic institutions. Special attention is paid to methodological difficulties involved in identifying the criteria of transformative media events. For instance, the questions whether events which have not lead to significant social changes (such as failed protest actions) can count as transformative; whether the event’s “vector” (progressive or regressive) should be taken into account; which levels and segments of social life allow for the emergence of phenomena which can qualify as transformative media events — remain open. The article emphasizes that these conceptual difficulties are connected to the more fundamental problem of distinguishing between media events and non-media-events in the digital era. The conclusion contains some thoughts as to why the discussion about “the end of media events” is yet far from closing.