The polyhedron of social inequality, social change and media events

Weslati, Hager (2016) The polyhedron of social inequality, social change and media events. In: New perspectives on researching social inequality; 05 Feb 2016, Kingston upon Thames, U.K.. (Unpublished)


The first part of this paper outlines two competing interpretations of social inequality from the standpoint of social change, drawing on two educational films: The Stuart Hall Project (John Akomfrah, 2013) and The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (Sophie Fiennes, 2012). These films dramatize the different positions occupied by the “public intellectual” in relation to media events and media texts, and show how the (media) critic’s shifting positions respond to shifting frames through which social change is effected, represented, or experienced. However, both “projects” end on a deflationary note of uncertainty and disorientation. The more omnipresent and visible social change and social inequality are in media events, the more unintelligible they have become. The second part of the paper reflects on the growing elusiveness of social inequality in the intersection of social change with media events and the broadcasting or hashtagging of histories of the present. The paper concludes with a reflective overview on: 1) the application of media communication theories and approaches to reframing narratives of social inequality and social change, and 2) the role of critical pedagogy and the function of “eventalization” in ‘breaching self-evidence on which our knowledge’ and spectacles of social inequality rest.

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