This is the abstract of my (draft) thesis. If you would like to read the final product (obviously once submitted and graded), please feel free to email me.
EXPLORING THE POLITICAL COMMUNICATION DYNAMICS
IN SOUTH AFRICA’S PLATINUM INDUSTRY
The Case of Marikana
This study of political communication starts from three premises. One is that the complex set of social, political and economic processes communicated via the news media that are strong to invite analysis of national development can be explored using qualitative analysis of mediated products. As skeins of connectivity, mediated political information structures social imaginaries within a nation, and thus contributes to development trajectories. The second is that within political communication processes there exists potential for a ‘Social Justice of Communication’, as theorized by Jurgen Habermas. Thirdly, the growing convergence between the previously separable areas of politics and communication demonstrates the urgent need to address not only conventional media effects such as framing or elite representation, but also the implications of nationwide social exclusion, particularly in the context of the public sphere. Thus, the remit of this thesis is the study of political communication dynamics and the roles and nature of mediated content within the process of national development.
This thesis studies media coverage of the Marikana massacre in 2012 and the wage strike led by the Association for Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) in 2014. Political communication in the context of the platinum industry, and how this relates to theories and practices of democracy in South Africa, is analysed using qualitative analysis of online news articles from four national newspapers: The Times Live; The Daily Maverick; The Mail & Guardian and; The Business Day. Key themes explored via the case studies include the use of framing in news coverage; the mediatisation of poverty and protest; the political economy of the media and resultant discursive spaces and representation of elite actors. Using protest event analysis as a prism for exploring political communication, this research investigates indicators of the status quo in South Africa’s democracy, as communicated via the news media.
v. To be moved in a heartwarming way, usually relating to a story that moved you to tears. (Italian)
n. Refers to someone who is a bit of a dreamer and literally means “air person.” (Yiddish)
n. On its own, “tår” means a cup of coffee and “patår” is the refill of said coffee. A “tretår” is therefore a second refill or a “threefill.” (Swedish)
n. Leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books. (Japanese)
(illustrations by Ella Frances Sanders)
"I saw from the start, and everything confirmed it afterward, that he is a human cauldron heated to the boiling point..
It is a black man who handles the French language as no white man today is capable of handling it.
And it is a black man who, not only for blacks but for all humankind, expresses all the questions, all the anguish, all the hopes and all the ecstasy and who becomes more and more crucial as the supreme example of dignity.”
“In the writing state—the state of inspiration—the fictive dream springs up fully alive: the writer forgets the words he has written on the page and sees, instead, his characters moving around their rooms, hunting through cupboards, glancing irritably through their mail, setting mousetraps, loading pistols. The dream is as alive and compelling as one’s dreams at night, and when the writer writes down on paper what he has imagined, the words, however inadequate, do not distract his mind from the fictive dream but provide him with a fix on it, so that when the dream flags he can reread what he’s written and find the dream starting up again. This and nothing else is the desperately sought and tragically fragile writer’s process: in his imagination, he sees made-up people doing things—sees them clearly—and in the act of wondering what they will do next he sees what they will do next, and all this he writes down in the best, most accurate words he can find, understanding even as he writes that he may have to find better words later, and that a change in the words may mean a sharpening or deepening of the vision, the fictive dream or vision becoming more and more lucid, until reality, by comparison, seems cold, tedious, and dead.”
– John Gardner, “The Art of Fiction”
"… that great and true Amphibian whose nature is disposed to live, not only like other creatures in diverse elements, but in divided and distinguished worlds."
- Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici