News media, threats and insecurities: an ethnographic approach

Gillespie, Marie and O'Loughlin, Ben (2009). News media, threats and insecurities: an ethnographic approach. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22(4) pp. 667–687.



This article presents research from a three-year study of shifting understandings of threat and security in Britain following the 2003 Iraq War. We develop the case for a more integrated and nuanced approach to studying the relationship between policymakers, media practitioners and media publics given the increasing importance of these relationships to international relations (IR) matters of concern. Our analysis demonstrates the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors that explain why certain individuals and groups arrive at certain understandings or perceptions of threats. Responding to recent calls in IR for the use of diverse and interdisciplinary methods, our methodology enables us to demonstrate how disparities emerge between official and public understandings of threats. These understandings result from people’s engagement with political and media discourses, and the experience of this engagement can be characterized by connectivity, (un)certainty and contradiction

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