Epistemology of journalistic rituals: The case of domestic violence
This paper explores journalistic strategic rituals in newspaper and television reports of domestic violence, emphasises the importance of formal aspects of the media representation of violence and argues that these institutionalised forms produce the (un)importance of the issue of violence as a public problem. The purpose of such deconstruction of conventional journalistic narratives is the denaturalisation of those standard procedures of telling and framing the news that mythologise violence as an effect of individual pathologies. By overlooking its social dimensions, they establish violence as a natural, i.e. acceptable part of performing masculinity and most importantly, the social background of violence remains unexplored regardless of genre, whether it is in episodic television news stories, daily news items in quality dailies or in journalistic documentary melodramas. The most important function of these ritualised conventions is thus not so much the consolidation of the truthfulness of messages as in the act of establishing and narrowing what can be said at all.