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Media Interaction as Representation: Primetime Authority and Expertise

Date: 24 January 2007 Time: 4.00-5.30 pm

The next Departmental Lecture will be given by Mary Talbot (University of Sunderland). Her title is:

Media Interaction as Representation: Primetime Authority and Expertise

>Time and place: Wednesday 24 January, 4.00-5.30 pm, Cavendish LT.

Refreshments from 3.30 pm.


Dr Mary Talbot is Reader in Language and Culture at the University of Sunderland. She has extensive teaching and research experience in discourse, media and gender. Her previous books include Fictions at work (1995), Language and Gender (1998), 'All the World and Her Husband': Women in 20th Century Consumer Culture (with Maggie Andrews, 2000) and Language and Power in the Modern World (with Karen Atkinson and David Atkinson, 2003). Her latest monograph, Media discourse: representation and interaction (Edinburgh University Press), is due out in September 2007.


Within media and cultural studies, the study of media texts is dominated by an exclusive focus on representation. Examining media discourse, however, needs a model that facilitates attention to more than just representations; aspects of the interpersonal are crucial in understanding it: 'If we are to have a comprehensive account of the role of media discourse in the reproduction of social life, then it must be one that includes the interpersonal dimension of talk as well as its ideational aspects - the social relational as well as the ideological' (Montgomery 1986: 88). Critical discourse analysis has since argued strongly that the social relational is, in any case, full of ideological significance, (e.g. Fairclough 1995).

In this paper I present two detailed examples of media interaction as representation, as spectacle for the distant viewing or listening audience. I explore tensions in the construction of broadcast sociability in lifestyle programming generated by the identity of TV 'expert' and the relationship of expert/novice. I also examine the BBC's representation of Jeremy Paxman in interview with politicians. As a high-profile current affairs 'celebrity', he is celebrated as a discursive pugilist and his discursive style is not only valorised but essential for democracy.


Who can attend:


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Linguistics and English Language


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
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