Distancing the extraordinary: audience understandings of discourses of 'radicalization'

O'Loughlin, B., Boudeau, C. and Hoskins, A. (2011) Distancing the extraordinary: audience understandings of discourses of 'radicalization'. Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 25(2), pp. 153-164. (doi: 10.1080/10304312.2011.553937)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


The term radicalization proliferated in official and media discourses in the UK in 2005 and has become an anchoring concept in debates about jihadist-inspired political violence. This article presents original research from an investigation conducted in the UK and France in 2008-09 to elicit how audiences understand the term and concept of radicalization from multi-methodological analysis of their ordinary language. As a contribution at the intersection of media and security studies, our analysis indicates that audiences are aware of official and media discourses of radicalization, and that they establish disjunctures between those discourses and their own understandings of the concept of radicalization. Critically, these disjunctures are found in the way people talk about radicalization: in their use of language rather than the content of arguments expressed. In establishing these disjunctures through ordinary news talk, audience members position themselves as not-your-typical-viewer, making presumptions about other members of the same audience to which they belong. This supports Scannell's theorization of mass media as for-anyone-as-someone structures, through which individuals are able to articulate their own sense of difference and identity

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hoskins, Professor Andrew
Authors: O'Loughlin, B., Boudeau, C., and Hoskins, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Media and Cultural Studies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1469-3666

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record