Mediated Emotion in Turbulent Times: The Good News and the Bad News


  • Karin Wahl-Jorgensen Cardiff University, UK


This talk will address the complexities surrounding the role of emotions in mediated political life. It will consider the roots of the historical suspicion of emotion in political life. Against that backdrop, it will develop a typology of “mediated emotion.” This typology is based on the premise that when we talk about emotionality in mediated contexts, we are dealing with a particular form of emotionality which differs from emotions as they circulate in individual bodies. Mediated emotions are performative, discursively constructed through journalistic narratives, and usually collective and political. On that basis, the talk will consider the need for a nuanced analysis of the range of emotions circulating in public and the ways in which key political actors strategically harness emotion. It will focus on two contrasting high-profile cases; Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, suggesting that while Donald Trump has benefited from the strategic cultivation of angry populism, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has used emotional appeals to mobilise compassion. The talk concludes by considering future avenues for research on media and emotional mobilisation.


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