Media events: Past, present and future

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sociology Compass, 2014, 8 (5), pp. 457 - 467
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This paper aims to do three things. First, it will provide a review of key aspects of media events to date. Second, it will consider the relevance and challenge facing the paradigm of media events in the era of post-broadcasting and terrorism. Third, it will discuss the ways in which media events work in the context of the People's Republic of China. The paper suggests that classic media events were instrumental in recording the significant moments of history during the second half of the 20th century. Although this enchantment with the modern technology of broadcasting and its role in building the national culture has been on the decline in some parts of the world, the concept of media events proves to be remarkably elastic, and as the Chinese case makes clear, innovative media event formats take place in unlikely places and in unpredictable circumstances. As we move ahead into the 21st century, it has become clear - evidenced in the case of China and elsewhere - that the scenario we face is not the replacement of the enchantment of the broadcasting era with the cynicism of the post-broadcasting era, but rather their uneasy coexistence and curious codependence. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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