Francis CodyJun 14, 2023
The News Event
Popular Sovereignty in the Age of Deep Mediatization
University of Chicago Press 2023
Not merely the act of representing events with words or images, a "news event" is the reciprocal relationship between the events being reported in the news and the event of the news coverage itself.
In The News Event: Popular Sovereignty in the Age of Deep Mediatization (U Chicago Press, 2023), Francis Cody focuses on how imaginaries of popular sovereignty have been remade through the production and experience of such events. Political sovereignty is thoroughly mediated by the production of news, and subjects invested in the idea of democracy are remarkably reflexive about the role of publicly circulating images and texts in the very constitution of their subjectivity. The law comes to stand as both a limit and positive condition in this process of event making, where acts of legal and extralegal repression of publication can also become the stuff of news about news makers. When the subjects of news inhabit multiple participant roles in the unfolding of public events, when the very technologies of recording and circulating events themselves become news, the act of representing a political event becomes difficult to disentangle from that of participating in it. This, Cody argues, is the crisis of contemporary news making: the news can no longer claim exteriority to the world on which it reports.
Atreyee Majumder is an anthropologist based in Bangalore, India. She tweets at @twitatreyee.