Accepted paper:

Circulating social imaginaries: a theoretical and methodological perspective for media studies

Authors:

Johanna Sumiala (University of Helsinki)
Katja Valaskivi (University of Tampere)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses circulation as a theoretical and methodological concept for media studies. We examine the role of the media in the processes of circulation of mediated actors, ideas and items. Different empirical media examples are used to illustrate the theoretical discussion.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper we examine circulation as a theoretical and methodological concept for media studies. The presentation is divided into two parts. i) By drawing on sociological, anthropological and media studies literature we discuss circulation as a theoretical concept in the media-saturated contemporary society (see e.g. Peterson 2005; Lee & LiPuma 2002). ii) In the empirical part of the presentation we discuss how circulation creates, maintains and shapes social imaginaries in the process of disseminating ideas, items and people in different mediated contexts. We ask: How media takes part in the circulation of different cultural practices, what kind of social and cultural relations emerge from encounters between different circulating actors, elements, organisms and institutions, and how are social imaginaries established, reinforced, negotiated or questioned in these circulating encounters? Different empirical examples including nation branding, Flotilla news event and the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs are used to illustrate the theoretical discussion.

panel P19
Circulating social worlds in polymedia