Mediating the Scottish independence debate

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Abstract

In the six months leading up to the referendum vote on 18 September 2014 Scotland experienced a period of exceptionally heightened political discourse, a widespread form of political participation unusual in western liberal-democracies. For almost two years fundamental questions about nation, state and society that are routinely taken for granted were exposed to widespread public discussion and debate involving millions of individuals normally silenced by the political fetish. Instead, these became the subject of open, often heated, discussion and debate by wide layers of society. This process of self-representation meant that political discourse was forced to shift from the logic of political self-marketing as the neutral, technical preserve of small circles of networked state managers and media interlocutors, what Pierre Bourdieu (1991) referred to as ‘political fetishism’. This widened public discourse began to break the stranglehold of the political fetish in Scotland, most obviously in the political vertigo experienced by the representatives of the Unionist parties and what might be called ‘media Unionism’. A mass grassroots movement in support of Independence benefited from a changed and, in some ways, reinvigorated media field. Where television once threatened the authority of newspapers, social media now challenges the dominance of television and the press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-7
Number of pages5
JournalMedia Education Journal
Issue number56
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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