Study of Audience Responses to the Media Discourse About the “other”: The Fear of Terrorism Between Australian Muslims and the Broader Community

Author: Aly, Anne
Year:2010
Pages:444
ISBN:0-7734-3770-3
978-0-7734-3770-8
Price:259.95
This book examines the fear of terrorism and its impact on community well being and public perception of government counter terrorism strategies. The author’s discussion of the audience and their role in encoding/ decoding raises questions about the relationship between the audience and the media in an era of new technologies.

Reviews

“. . . [this] book gives a much needed voice to Australian Muslims who have been demonised as the enemy ‘other’ in many media discourses on terrorism. The work touches on issues of Australian Muslim identity, stereotypes of Muslims in the media (both historical and contemporary) and the fragile state of Australian Muslim relationships with the broader community. The quotes from her Australian Muslim respondents offer us a thought-provoking, and sometimes heart-rending, insight into the everyday lives of Muslims in the Western world where anti-Muslim sentiment, fear and even aggression are a part of the ‘war on terror’.” – Prof. Lelia Green, Edith Cowan University

“Anne Aly’s book is one of those rare occurrences where you find an engaging narrative combined with heavy duty methodological and theoretical understanding. For students it will provide an introduction to media effects and for the general reader it will provide a window to the dynamics of a world where much of what you see and hear is mediated by others.” –
Prof. Mark Balnaves, Curtin University of Technology

“. . . a high priority for professionals in the associated areas as well as those in the interested public.”– Prof. Bill Hutchinson, Edith Cowan University

Table of Contents

LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURES
FOREWORD PROFESSOR LELIA GREEN
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
1. INTRODUCTION
Structure
2. RESEARCH FRAMEWORK AND METHODOLOGY
Research Framework
A Conceptualisation of the Audience
Studying the Audience
Limitations of the encoding/decoding model
Towards a workable model
Theoretical Framework
Methodological Approach
Research Questions
Research Procedure
Sampling
Sampling Design
Sampling Techniques
Sampling members of the Muslim communities
Sampling members of the broader Australian community
Focus Groups
Pre-Session Questionnaire
Individual Focussed Interviews
Data Analysis
Conclusion
3. THE DISCOURSE ON TERRORISM IN THE AUSTRALIAN POPULAR MEDIA
Discourse, Society and the Media
Discourse
The media, discourse and power
Framing reality: frames and framing
The Media Discourse on Terrorism
The 11 September terrorist attacks
Journalism after 11 September
11 September as a global media event
Terrorism frames in the Australian popular media Freedom under attack
The clash of ideologies: The liberal West versus Fundamentalist Islam
The Muslim ‘other’ in the discourse on terrorism
The Political and Social Context
The backdrop to 11 September and the ‘war on terror’
The asylum seeker debate and the Federal election
The Australian government’s response
The terrorism raids, the Cronulla riots and the Danish cartoons
The discourse on terrorism and the broader context
Conclusion
4. THE FEAR OF TERRORISM
Theorising Fear and Terrorism
Political fear
Fear and the Muslim ‘other’
The community victimisation perspective and repressive fear
The Psychology of the Fear of Terrorism
Globalisation and fear
The Fear Effect: Behavioural Responses to the Fear of Terrorism
Identity anxiety
Nationalistic behaviours
Prevention and protection
The appearance of consensus: The spiral of silence
Conclusion
5. FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS
Pre- Session Questionnaires
Section A- demographic data
Section B- levels of fear and anxiety about terrorism
Section C- social distance scale
Section D- media use
Focus Group Findings
Terrorism
Constructing terrorism
Discussing terrorism
Influentials and opinion leaders
Perceptions of the terrorist threat
Fear
The fear of terrorism
The fear of the response to terrorism
The 11 September terrorist attacks

Constructing the 11 September attacks
The Australian media ‘s representation of the 11 September attacks
Sources of information and news about 11 September
Terrorist attacks and the ‘war on terror’
The Australian media
The media discourse on terrorism
Perceptions of the media
Australian identity and the ‘other’

Conclusion 6. INDIVIDUAL FOCUSSED INTERVIEWS
Critical Points and the Experience of Making Meaning from the Discourse
Terrorism
The Dominant Messages in the Discourse on Terrorism
Audience positions regarding the dominant messages in the media discourse terrorism
Critical Points in Audience Constructions of the Media Discourse on Terrorism
Critical Point 1: The live broadcasting of the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States
Critical Point 2: Extended coverage of the 11 September terrorist attacks in United States
Critical point 3: The Bali bombings
Critical point 4: The war on terror and the invasion of Iraq
Critical point 5: The London terrorist attacks, 2005
Critical point 6: Alternative truths and personal influence
Conclusion: The Influence of Critical Points on Meaning Making
7. THE FEAR OF TERRORISM AMONG AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITIES
The Fear of Terrorism
The components of community fears of terrorism
The nature of fear among members of the broader community
The nature of fear among Australian Muslim communities
Conclusion: The Nature of the Fear of Terrorism
The Construction and Circulation of Messages of Fear, Terrorism and ‘Other’
The media discourse on terrorism and the fear of terrorism
The role of opinion leaders and the circulation of messages
Conclusion: The Construction and Circulation of Messages of Fear, Terrorism and the ‘Other’
The Broader Socio-Political Context and the Fear of Terrorism
Conclusion: The Fear of Terrorism, the Construction and Circulation of Messages of Fear, Terrorism and the ‘Other’, and the Broader Socio-Political Context
8. CONCLUSION
Methodological Findings: Contributions to the Field of Audience Reception
Decoding as a cumulative process
The contribution of opinion leaders
The relationship between reader and media
The conditions of decoding: visibility and reframing
Critical points in meaning making
Theoretical Findings: Audience Constructions of the Media Discourse on Terrorism and the ‘Other’ and the Fear of Terrorism
The construction and circulation of messages of fear, terrorism and the ‘other’ among Australian Muslims and members of the broader community
The community victimisation perspective
The media discourse on terrorism and the ‘other’ and the fear of terrorism
The components of community fears of terrorism
APPENDIX A CODES FOR RESPONDENTS
APPENDIX B PRE-SESSION QUESTIONNAIRE
Explanatory Notes: The Social Distance Scale (Section C)
APPENDIX C FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDES
APPENDIX D INDIVIDUAL FOCUSSED INTERVIEW SCHEDULE
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX