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"The supremacy of ignorance over instruction and of numbers over knowledge": journalism, popular culture, and the English constitution

Hartley, John 2008. "The supremacy of ignorance over instruction and of numbers over knowledge": journalism, popular culture, and the English constitution. Journalism Studies 8 (5) , pp. 679-691. 10.1080/14616700802207607

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Abstract

I argue that a divergence between popular culture as “object” and “subject” of journalism emerged during the 19th century in Britain. It accounts not only for different practices of journalism, but also for differences in the study of journalism, as manifested in journalism studies and cultural studies, respectively. The paper offers an historical account to show that popular culture was the source of the first mass circulation journalism, via the pauper press, but that it was later incorporated into the mechanisms of modern government for a very different purpose, the theorist of which was Walter Bagehot. Journalism's polarity was reversed—it turned from “subjective” to “objective.” The paper concludes with a discussion of YouTube and the resurgence of self-representation, using the resources of popular culture, in current election campaigns. Are we witnessing a further reversal of polarity, where popular culture and self-representation once again becomes the “subject” of journalism?

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Uncontrolled Keywords: English constitution; pauper press; popular culture; subject/object; YouTube; Walter Bagehot
Additional Information: Special issue: The future of newspapers
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1461-670X
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2016 03:05
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/34106

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