Lecture 2: Journalism, marginalization, discrimination and diversity

This lecture focuses on journalism, marginalization, discrimination and diversity. Below are main points presented for the session leader to elaborate on.  



Nation, nationhood, belonging and identities


  • The imagined community of a nation state, nations as socially constructed communities. Diversity as a term oftentimes replacing “multicultural”. Multicultural as descriptive term for diversity, multiculturalism a more disputed, ideological term.
  • Identity as self-understanding, identification and sense of belonging.
  • Different ways to define identity (gender, community, nation, sexuality etc).
  • Differences in the way an individual look at its own identity, and the way that identity is perceived and/or described by others.
  • The relations between individuals and groups in society, recognition and understanding of identity.



Dilemmas faced when reporting on minorities: inclusion/exclusion 


  • “We”/”they”. Likeness and difference (media often more concerned with differences than similarities): ethnification (or culturalization, focus on religion, culture) processes vs. belonging and citizenship. How to meet diversity: dialogue vs. confrontation; humiliation vs. recognition (Honneth, Lindner). Worries about problem and victim focus in representation.
  • What does integration entail: “thick (practises, religion)” or “thin (language skills, work)”; formal citizenship?
  • What is “normal” and what is not?
  • Terms: What does it take to be called a Norwegian (or Russian)? First generation Norwegians vs. second, third generation of “immigrants”.
  • Negativity in reporting from “out there” may affect coverage of those who have arrived “here”.
  • Inclusion through a larger “we”. De-ethnification when reporting.



Differing diversity discourses


  • “We” as problem for “them” (strict migration practices, discrimination, racism).
  • “They” as problem for “us” (refugee numbers, labour competition).
  • “They” as a problem for “their own” (bad practices: forced marriages, genital mutilation, etc.).
  • “Colorful community works/ Successful integration.”. Positive co-existence and good examples of integration.
  • Current refugee discourses: Linguistic turn, they as threatening mass, “waves of migrants”, lack of individual recognition. War on terror-related, who hides in these waves? Wars and interference in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria as causes of the refugee situation. Oppositional discourses, focused on law related rights (Refugees Welcome-movements).



Prominent stereotypes of today’s world 


  • Gendered stereotypes, sexual minority stereotypes (“feminine male homosexual”, the “butch lesbian”, disabled stereotypes (“linked to the wheelchair”, “individual tragedy”) and stereotypes of religious minorities (“the strict Imam”, the “fiercly oppressed Muslim woman”). Linked to media marginalization processes.



The development of journalism and its consequences for diversity coverage


  • Media matters, but how much? And which media? Freedom of expression and diversity. Social media and threats: Somebody’s freedom silencing others (ex: men vs. women with sexualized threats). Who is silencing whom?
  • The critic of media; blamed both for élite and populist leanings.
  • Recognition of diversity might be in decline. Two important tendencies: More voices from minority groups are present, but also more focus on problems and more conflict-orientated.
  • Media debates on belonging and diversity. What does it take to be included?
  • Recommendation: A more balanced, solution-oriented journalism. Challenging the journalistic doxa of focus on conflict/polarization; more “constructive” news.


Elisabeth Eide, Professor, Faculty of Media and Journalism, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (Norway)
Anders Graver Knudsen, Phd, Faculty of Media and Journalism, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (Norway)

An online manual on intercultural understanding, ethics and human rights to be used by teachers and students in journalism education. Read more.

Email : post@journalism-edu.org

Find Sessions

© 2017 Menneskerettighetsakademiet. All Rights Reserved.