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Cultural reductionism and the media: polarising discourses around schools, violence and masculinity in an age of terror
journal contributionposted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by M Mills, Amanda KeddieAmanda Keddie
This paper provides a media analysis of three interrelated sets of newspaper articles dealing with youth, schooling and violence. Understanding the media as a dominant and powerful cultural text that creates the realities it describes, the paper takes a critical view of the ‘standpoint’ of recent media representations of the Cronulla (Sydney, Australia) riots, gang violence in schools, and issues of education amid broader concerns with security in an ‘age of terror’. The paper draws attention to the polarising media discourses that demonise young Muslim men as the ‘other’—violent and dangerous—and advocate for ‘ethnic’ integration of this ‘other’ over ‘progressive education’ or ‘multiculturalism’. Such reductionist sociology is presented as highly problematic in its homogenising and inferiorising of minority cultures and in its silencing of particular issues imperative in understanding and addressing contemporary expressions of violence. The paper calls for a more nuanced interpretation of issues of culture and violence that, in particular, acknowledges how masculinity politics are implicated in current manifestations of violence.