Between Emotion, Politics and the Law : Narrative Transformation and Authoritarian Deliberation in a Mediated Social Drama

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

Conference

Title101st Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Conference (AEJMC 2018)
LocationRenaissance Hotel Downtown
PlaceUnited States
CityWashington
Period6 - 9 August 2018

Abstract

Through studying a land-dispute-triggered revenge murder in China and its subsequent trial, the article explores the concept of narrative transformation in a social drama and proposes an event-based model for authoritarian deliberation. I argue an obscure murder rose to prominence because it came to be narrated as a different kind of story. Initially “a normal killing”, it came to be seen as a “contest” between a law-and-order frame emphasizing individual guilt and a righteous revenge frame symbolizing wider social conflicts. Here, narrative transformation deviates from its original usage moving an event from an instrumental phase (“contest”) to a value phase (“conquest/coronation” or “degradation ritual”). Instead, it contains a regression from “ritual” to “contest”, with opportunities for deliberation. I argue while deliberation is insulated from western events research, contentious events present a model for studying authoritarian deliberation. Instead of occupying an institutionalized issue forum (e.g. the legislative centre), deliberation in China is pegged onto social dramas on the judicial periphery thanks to an embedded liminal phase that invites reflexivity. These events bring into sharp relief elite dissent otherwise veiled by interest-driven alliance. In this case, media engaged other institutions in contentious performances that affirmed hidden social fault-lines, but also encouraged deliberation.

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Citation Format(s)

Between Emotion, Politics and the Law: Narrative Transformation and Authoritarian Deliberation in a Mediated Social Drama. / Liang, Limin.
2018. Paper presented at 101st Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Annual Conference (AEJMC 2018), Washington, District of Columbia, United States.

Research output: Conference PapersRGC 32 - Refereed conference paper (without host publication)peer-review