The Department of Media offers programmes in television, radio, music production, media and film studies, advertising, photography and journalism at our campus sites in Chester and Warrington, serving more than 500 students at undergraduate, Master’s and PhD levels.

Recent Submissions

  • Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest Songs

    Duffett, Mark; University of Chester (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018-02-01)
    Counting Down Elvis: His 100 Finest songs is a book length analysis of Elvis Presley's recorded music. It includes discussion of celebrity image, song history, prior versions, music genre, critical evaluation and occasional contextualizing cultural history (1950s to 1970s). The academic popular music historian B. Lee Cooper has reviewed the book for a peer-reviewed academic journal. This is a 'remixed' version of the manuscript in chronological rather than count down order.
  • Negotiating identity politics via networked communication: a case study of the Welsh-speaking population in Patagonia, Argentina

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars, 2017-09-01)
    This chapter examines the communicative and political potential of networked communication in the specific context of marginalized linguistic communities. The work concerns the remnant Welsh-speaking population in Patagonia, Argentina, descended from 19th century migrants who attempted to establish an exclusive and deliberately isolated Welsh-speaking enclave in the region. Since then, the ‘enclave’ has been absorbed into the wider Argentinian ethnic and linguistic melting pot with Welsh-speaking residents now Argentinian citizens claiming dual linguistic and cultural heritage, and therefore represents a kind of archetype for a wider journey from conflict and exclusivity to compromise, inclusivity and hybridity.
  • Impossible Unity? Representing Internal Diversity in Post-Devolution Wales

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester-- (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015-09-16)
    The gradual transformation of British politics through the processes of devolution has been a ‘work in progress’ since Scotland and Wales voted in favour in the 1997 referenda (in the case of Wales, for the creation of an Assembly with devolved powers). Yet these major constitutional changes have not been matched by a realignment of the UK media (Cushion, Lewis and Groves, 2009). In this context, the particular deficiencies of the Welsh media have become increasingly politically relevant in recent years, with its shortcomings (in terms of informing the public about devolved politics) regularly highlighted by politicians, academics and journalists. A 2014 BBC poll, for example, found that fewer than half of Welsh respondents knew the NHS was devolved, which Thomas (2014) suggests results from a Welsh media landscape in which “huge numbers of people” get their news from London-based newspapers. The contrast with Scotland is marked: while Scottish devolution provided a pretext for London-based national newspapers to reduce news content from all three devolved nations it simultaneously provided a catalyst for the further development of an independent media policy in Scotland itself. In interviews, London journalists argued that since Scotland had its own parliament it had its ‘own news’ and its own newspaper editions to carry it (Denver, 2002). More recently, Macwhirter (2014) rued the financial decline of the Scottish newspaper industry, suggesting that this makes it harder for the Scottish media to perform their traditional role as ‘cultural curators’ and forum for informed debate. However, sentiments like this merely highlight the more acute media deficiency in Wales, because the Welsh media is considerably more fragmented than its Scottish equivalent, with no real tradition of a Welsh national press to draw on and the majority of newspaper readers dependent on London-based publications. Around 1,760,000 (from a total population of three million) read newspapers with ‘virtually no Welsh content’ (Davies, 2008).
  • 'A pit we have dug ourselves': The EU referendum and the Welsh democratic deficit

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-06-26)
    The chapter examines the Welsh Brexit vote from a news media perspective, locating it within the long-standing 'democratic deficit' and absence of Welsh national press.
  • Nurturing English regionalism: A new role for local newspapers in a federal UK?

    Roberts, Simon Gwyn; University of Chester (Intellect, 2017-01-20)
    Any constitutional move towards a federal system in the United Kingdom would inevitably be unbalanced by England’s obvious economic, cultural and numerical dominance. Some form of English regional devolution is therefore essential if we are to progress as a multinational state post Scottish and Welsh devolution. This article adopts a deliberately polemical approach to a consideration of the potential role of regional English newspapers in that context, suggesting that their established links with a coherent audience, rooted in place, might allow them to act as a vehicle for debate and nurture a sense of regional identity often absent from contemporary English politics. Regional newspapers are ‘culturally specific’ and have a key role to play in articulating the popular experience of post-devolution political change: this might also present this struggling sector with valuable commercial opportunities as they take advantage of the new political paradigm to further embed themselves within their communities.
  • Hillsborough: Justice at last, but the city of Liverpool always knew the truth

    Hassall, Paul; University of Chester (Eurosport Uk, 2016-04-27)
    A response to the verdicts of the Hillsborough inquest
  • Mrs Miniver (1942): Moral Identity and Creation of the Other

    Hart, Christopher; University of Chester (Midrash, 2015-11-10)
    In Chapter 2 Christopher Hart (University of Chester, UK) takes a popular wartime film, Mrs. Miniver (1942) and analyses it from a Simmelian (derived from the work of Georg Simmel) frame of reference. Taking the assumption that Mrs. Miniver is a ‘why we fight’ film, Hart looks closely at this categorization to make visible for analysis the essentially moral messages in the narrative. Through a detailed examination of several social forms including, value exchange, time and temporality, Americanisation, and conflict Hart argues that categorizing Mrs. Miniver as a ‘why we fight’ film is overtly simplistic and misses the purpose of the film and its director William Wyler. Mrs. Miniver is, Hart argues, a narrative about the future of civilization. Mrs. Miniver was aimed at the American audience, some of who when the film was being made, were advocating isolationism. Mrs. Miniver presents the Americans with a moral choice between supporting the moral choice already made by the British not to capitulate to the ‘evil of Nazism’ or to do nothing and allow Nazism to establish itself as a world order. On 7th December, 1941 with the Japanese attack on Pearle Harbor this moral choice was largely lost and Mrs. Miniver became, regardless of its widespread popularity, classified as a why we fight film.
  • I’m (Not) A Girl: Animating Experiences of Girlhood in Bob’s Burgers

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Intellect, 2019)
    Discourses of girlhood increasingly acknowledge its mutability, with the ‘girl’ as a complex image that cannot adequately be conceptualized by age or biology alone. Likewise, theories of animation often foreground its disruptive potential. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses girlhood studies, animation studies, and screen studies, this article analyses the representation of the two main girl characters, Tina and Louise Belcher, in the animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers (2011–present). Taking this concept of mutability as its central focus, it argues that animation is an ideal medium for representing girlhood, given its disruptive potential and non-linear capacities, whereby characters are often frozen in time. With no commitment to aging its young female characters, Bob’s Burgers is instead able to construct a landscape of girlhood that allows for endless reversal, contradiction and overlap in the experiences of Tina and Louise, whose existence as animations reveals girlhood as a liminal space in which girls can be one thing and the other – gullible and intelligent, vulnerable and strong, sexual and innocent – without negating their multifarious experiences.
  • Leaving the Building: Elvis, Celebrity and the Limits of Psychological Autopsy

    Duffett, Mark; Hearsum, Paula; University of Chester; University of Brighton (l’Association Française d’Études Américaines, 2018-10)
    This article probes the limits of one particular mode of biographic investigation—psychological autopsy—and considers its relationship to the way in which fans have sought to understand their hero. Using Elvis as a case study, we aim to prompt wider discussion about the efficacy of psychological autopsy as a means of understanding popular individuals. If psychological autopsy is so compromised, why does it remain popular? Our discussion develops in two parts. The first examines how psychological autopsy departs from objectivity and is problematic as theory. The second asks why fans are still interested in discussing why Elvis died, even though psychological autopsy necessarily lacks methodological rigour.
  • The Once and Future King: Negotiating the Survival of Boys in 1990s Cinema

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Berghahn, 2015-09-01)
    On the cinema screen, boyhood has often been depicted as a period of freedom, rebellion, and energy, a pre-cursor to manhood in which young boys are able to negotiate their identity and place within the world. In 1990s Hollywood, however, a wave of films turn to depicting the death of young boys on screen. As a result, boyhood becomes a site of vulnerability and weakness. This article seeks to examine the implications of these deaths, framing them within the context of a wider negotiation of masculinity and fatherhood politics. In addition, it questions the extent to which the deaths of these young boys can be read queerly, subverting the drive towards the future inherent in the figure of the child.
  • Horizontal dancefloors and vertical screens: Club culture in the cinema and the diegesis of the dancefloor

    Morrison, Simon A.; University of Chester; University of Leeds (Cine-Clube de Avanca, 2012)
    The culture – in particular the counterculture - of an age will always inform its cinema. This paper will argue that the most significant countercultural movement of the last 25 years has been the “rave” revolution, that morphed into Electronic Dance Music Culture (EDMC). The paper will address how that scene can be read through the medium of its cinematic representation, in UK films such as Human Traffic (1999) and North American productions such as 2012’s Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy. The paper will focus on the way music is utilised within EDMC film texts and the particular issues raised by the use of music in “clubbing” movies. The paper will firstly address non-diegetic codes and the particular issues of scoring a film that itself is focused on the tropes and modes of electronic music, by drawing on the primary input of composers. The argument will then move on to the more ambiguous area of diegetic codes, for instance retro fitting music to time-coded nightclub sequences, postproduction. The paper will then look at metadiegesis, when the music actually forms part of the club experience, blurring these diegetic boundaries and highlighting the peculiar issues that arise when rotating a horizontal dancefloor onto a vertical cinema screen.
  • Tramps Like Them: Jack and Bruce and the Myth of the American Road

    Morrison, Simon A.; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018-03-03)
    Abstract: ‘I try to explain to him the teddy is throwing a kink into our Kerouac On The Road cool, but Matt’s committed to his bear, so we drive on.’ Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run autobiography When Bruce Springsteen appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs at the end of 2015 he did not mention author Jack Kerouac in the list of writers he would consider for his book choice. However, his reference to Kerouac and the teddy bear in his autobiography (above) perhaps reveals stronger, if stranger connections than he imagined, with Kerouac ending the key work On The Road looking over ‘the long, long skies over New Jersey’, Springsteen’s home state, where ‘tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear?’ Unlike, then, the physical proximity of Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan, or the overt creative influence of Jack Kerouac on music characters such as Patti Smith and Tom Waits there is, at first glance, no obvious link between Jack Kerouac and Bruce Springsteen. This chapter, however, will explore and then uncover the links that do, in fact, exist between the two. These can broadly be defined in three ways. Firstly, there are sartorial connections in the way the two men dress and present themselves, with Springsteen adopting the jeans, T, and work-shirt look that very much defined The Beats. Secondly, there are obvious thematic links between the musical and literary work of these two icons of American popular culture: a mythologising interest in blue collar, small town America and the way it harbours past love affairs; male friendship; the open road and the freedom it suggests. Finally, there are defined stylistic links in the free-flowing lyricism that defines the words and worlds of both men. Although these three areas provide the main focus for this account other synergies may also be seen between the two: their European heritage; troubled relationship with patriotism and the American flag; family dynamics; Catholicism. More than anything, however, this chapter will explore the ways Jack Kerouac was able to make literature powerful in a new and alluring way, and similarly how Springsteen was able to engage globally, musically, in a way that could never have happened without Kerouac’s influence. Key words: Bruce Springsteen, Jack Kerouac, Beat Generation, Rock Music
  • Leicester City lift the title: A triumph to touch the hearts of all sports fans

    Hassall, Paul; University of Chester (Eurosport UK, 2016-05-07)
    A focus on the afternoon Leicester City FC made a fairytale dream a reality and sealed one of the most famous sporting surprises of all-time.
  • Daily Mirror exclusive interview with ex-Liverpool and Arsenal footballer, Michael Thomas

    Hassall, Paul; University of Chester (Daily Mirror newspaper, 2014-02-07)
    An article recalling Michael Thomas's infamous goal for Arsenal at Liverpool on the 25th anniversary of his famous last-gasp title-winning strike.
  • Alas, Poor Richard: Fandom, Personal Identity and Ben Myer's Novelization of Richey Edwards' Life Story

    Duffett, Mark; Hearsum, Paula; University of Chester; University of Brighton (Cairn Info, 2017-12-13)
    In 1995 the Manic Street Preachers played their last show as a four piece before their rhythm guitarist and “minister for propaganda” Richey Edwards disappeared on the advent of a US tour. Although his body was never found, his car was discovered at the Severn bridge. It was assumed Edwards had committed suicide. In order to explore the troubled guitarist’s mysterious last days, fifteen years later in a novel called Richard the music journalist Ben Myers wrote a fictionalized first-person account of Richey’s life story. This article assesses Richard as a perceived act of literary impersonation by focusing on the way its author positioned himself as a fan and also on how fans and reviewers responded to the book. Addressing ideas such as parasocial interaction and mythologization, the piece shows that the “cult of Richey” apprehended Richard’s author as an unwelcome textual poacher. Fans challenged both Myers’ motives and the accuracy of his portrayal. We argue that rather than dismissing them as irrational, blind loyalists who cling to the false belief that they know the actual person, fans should be studied as individuals who use their accumulated knowledge to serve shared ethical concerns.
  • Understanding Which Fandom? Insights from Two Decades as a Music Fan Researcher

    Duffett, Mark; University of Chester (John Wiley & Sons, 2018-03-14)
    As researchers, when we study media fandom, are we all studying the same thing? If we have a shared object now, does that mean our traditional disciplines no longer matter? Twenty years ago, Clifford Geertz published an academic memoir called After the Fact. Its subtitle said, “Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist.” Geertz’s (1995) book discussed his insights from forty years as a professional scholar. At the time his memoir appeared, I embarked on a PhD exploring the cultures and meanings made by Elvis Presley fans. In the two decades since, my career has taken me to a place where I wrote a book introducing the field of fan research, called Understanding Fandom (Duffett 2013a). Following Geertz, this chapter aims to map my academic journey and offer some pointers about how fan scholarship could develop. As part of that mapping, I will be citing my own work and reactions to it.
  • Fannish Identities and Scholarly Responsibilities: A Conversation

    Brooker, Will; Duffett, Mark; Hellekson, Karen; Kingston University; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-11-01)
    Three innovative fan scholars with tremendous experience as fan scholars and as editors of fan scholarship, Will Brooker, Mark Duffett and Karen Hellekson, engage in a discussion of issues they feel are central to the methods and ethics of fan studies scholarship. In this conversation, they discuss best practices and methods for fan studies, the impact of scholars’ fannish identities on methods and ethics in fan studies, scholars’ relationships to fan objects and communities, and the responsibilities scholars should assume when studying fan communities.
  • Beyond Exploitation Cinema: Music Fandom, Disability, and Mission to Lars

    Duffett, Mark; University of Chester (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016-07-14)
    Mission to Lars (Moore and Spicer 2012) is a feature documentary in which Kate and William Spicer help their brother Tom make his dream come true. Tom wishes to meet drummer Lars Ulrich from the heavy metal band Metallica. He also has Fragile X syndrome, which Kate calls, “a sort of autism with bells on.” Mission to Lars is therefore a film about disability and popular music fandom. Its marketing and reviews suggest a warm and sympathetic portrait of family life in which two siblings help a third to achieve his ambition. No documentary innocently captures its subject. Mission to Lars explores issues of disability awareness. Raising the possibility that Kate and Will Spicer may not have been motivated by altruism, it deliberately contrasts able-bodied and disabled cast members by using fan stereotypes. The film is therefore an unusual 'fansploitation' picture, depicting fandom both as a training ground for employment and as a compensation for the disabled.
  • I Scream Therefore I Fan? Music Audiences and Affective Citizenship

    Duffett, Mark; University of Chester (New York University Press, 2017-08-28)
    Screaming has long been regarded, in the mainstream media, as the sine qua non of celebrity fandom. Pop music represents one of the obvious places where it is heard in the public sphere. Not all fans scream, but those who do are not doubted as fans since they express their position on the “knowing field” of fandom in an emotional way. As scholars, however, we rarely if ever discuss exclamations made by fans, instead focusing on their creativity, autonomy and collective intelligence. Taking popular music as its focus, what follows will develop in two sections. The first considers why screaming has been framed as a problematic activity. The second argues that fan screaming can alternatively be understood as a form of enunciative productivity, an indicator of totemic interest, and a mode of affective citizenship.
  • Fighting Putin and the Kremlin’s grip in neo-authoritarian Russia: the experience of liberal journalists

    Slavtcheva-Petkova, Vera; University of Chester (SAGE, 2017)
    Russia is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists and the conflict with Ukraine and Russia’s involvement in Syria present even further challenges for the future of Russian journalism. In addition to the financial pressures, physical attacks, abductions and harassment, liberal journalists now face an increasing threat to the democratising role they see themselves as playing. President Vladimir Putin’s soaring popularity and the elaborate range of tactics used to suppress press freedom are forcing liberal media to rethink their mission(s) and identity(ies). This paper presents empirical evidence on the range of tactics used by Russian authorities as well as the coping strategies adopted by journalists. The study shows that some Russian media and journalists demonstrate a great degree of resilience in their efforts to expose wrongdoings and hold the powerful to account. The article questions the applicability of Western-centric normative media system theories because it shows that the breadth, depth, and mechanisms of control in modern-day Russia are very different from the ones used during Soviet times, and yet, Russian media and society do not appear to be on a linear journey from authoritarianism to democracy. The article presents the findings of a semi-ethnographic study of some of Russia’s most influential liberal news outlets – Novaya Gazeta, Radio Echo of Moscow and Radio Free Europe/Liberty. The study was conducted in May 2014 in the midst of the conflict with Ukraine. It involved observations of editorial meetings, documentary analysis and interviews with editors, deputy editors and journalists.

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