Civil Society and Media in Global Crises: Representing Distant Violence Paperback – 1 Apr 1996
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A cross-disciplinary account of how people in Western societies respond to the distant violence of the new world disorder, and the role of media coverage of war in forming people's responses. The author stresses the critical role of the media, in particular the roles of television and newspapers. He presents a set of arguments which challenge academic orthodoxies, arguing that the media are of growing importance because of the decline of other institutions in civil society, and the inability of parties, churches and even social movements to represent the victims of complex international crises. The book concentrates in particular on a multi-dimensional study of responses in one Western society, Britain, to the Gulf War of 1991 and its aftermath. It also argues that the civil wars in Iraq - the revolts of the Shias and Kurds against Saddam Hussein - were as important as the Gulf War itself.
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The citation and research is excellent. Its primary flaw is that the study overreaches its conclusions. By examining only the media -- and not Parliament, diplomatic communication, and inter-office material at White Hall -- Shaw attributes changes in British policy to the one variable he examines: namely media. While there is reason to suspect the media may have had an impact, such a conclusion cannot be drawn from his approach. On the whole, however, a valuable argument, a highly worthy subject matter, and extremely well cited for use by interested researchers.