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Limning Terror: Seams in the Discourse of 'Terrorism'

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Abstract

Generations of social science and critical scholars have documented the interdependency among capitalism, the media, and government. The media-constructed world of threatening ‘others’ systematically skews reality in phallogocentric, ethnocentric, nationalistic ways that reinforce government power, reify disparities of gender, wealth and influence, and perpetuate and amplify perceived differences and enmities. Growing social, economic, politic, ethnic, religious, and even familial globalization nonetheless increases reliance on mass communication as a source of ‘objective’ information about the world beyond individual reach. Despite the promise of democratic, public media or multiple, niche media to offer diverse, balanced perspectives, mainstream media continue to dominate and direct information flows. Based on evidence taken from media coverage of terror, the author suggests individuals, particularly women, resist the hegemanic force of media by offering mainstream journalists new information and alternate visions that exploit seams within government-propelled narratives to help diffuse the self-perpetuating, media-hyped cycle of global violence.

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