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Binaries – Seeing Differences as Relationships

Presentation by Wiebke Loosen & Armin Scholl held at the ECREA Journalism Studies Section Conference, 15 February 2019, Vienna, Austria

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Binaries – Seeing Differences as Relationships

  1. 1. Binaries⏋ Seeing Differences as Relationships Wiebke Loosen & Armin Scholl 15 February 2019 | Vienna| ECREA Journalism Studies Section Conference
  2. 2. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam
  3. 3. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam draw a distinction
  4. 4. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam
  5. 5. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam journalism
  6. 6. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam Look at the distinction of “journalism” in the context of its distinction from something else
  7. 7. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam journalism everything else but journalism
  8. 8. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam Realize that the excluded “everything but journalism” is as important for the identification of “journalism” as the marking of “journalism” as different from “everything but journalism”.
  9. 9. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Wiebke Loosen | January 24, 2019 | Amsterdam journalism everything else but journalism (Baecker, https://catjects.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/george-spencer-brown-wird-90/)
  10. 10. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna „Draw a distinction and a universe comes into being“ 10
  11. 11. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Breaking Binaries? 11 • Do binaries hinder us from coping with the (increasing?) complexity of journalism? • Is it really the case that binaries obscure to observe certain transformations, occurrences etc. – or do they rather allow to do so? → Questioning the proposition that we must break binaries in order to be able explore the diverse meanings of journalism
  12. 12. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Clarifying Binaries 12 • Arguing for a) making distinctions, b) considering both sides of the distinction, c) understanding differences as relationships, and d) asking who makes a distinction (second-order observation) • Such a clarification is not only a cognitive and philosophical exercise but also of normative and practical interest
  13. 13. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Rehabilitating binaries 13 • The criticism of binaries, dichotomies and boundaries neglects their - epistemological status, - pragmatic meaning, and - strategic use. • Complexity « Binaries • Without binaries no observation of blurring boundaries
  14. 14. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Epistemological and normative value of binaries within journalism (research) 14 Binaries are 1) dynamic rather than stable, 2) pragmatic relationships rather than given ontologies, and 3) serve a strategic purpose of legitimation, which has emerged as boundary work (cf. Carlson 2016).
  15. 15. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Exemplary Applications 15 • Typical diagnosis: continuous evolution towards blurring boundaries and breaking binaries • Soft news/hard news • Fact/fiction • Public/private Ø Empirical observation: distinctions are rather re-arranged, re-sorted, or re-grouped
  16. 16. ► Loosen & Scholl | 15 February 2019 | Vienna Conclusion 16 • Dichotomies, binaries and boundaries should not be ruled out as unreliable or invalid logical tools. • Instead: Using them as process-related and observer-related categories rather than ontological realities. • Binaries are more stable than we might expect and re-emerge in different guises • The blurring of boundaries (re-)stimulates negotiations of demarcations lines

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