Rethinking Journalism Culture and Authority: Beyond 'Professionalism'

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This paper provides a sympathetic critical engagement with the framework recently developed by Christopher Anderson (2008) for understanding the form, constitution and operation of journalistic authority. It argues that Anderson usefully draws upon approaches developed within sociological studies of professions and professionalism, while augmenting these by bringing them into dialogue with both ‘cultural’ analyses of journalism and work that has sought to understand the constitution and operation of journalism as a ‘field of cultural production’. While this paper suggests that this framework both embodies a sophisticated theoretical perspective and provides useful heuristic directions for research, it suggests that a Foucauldian understanding of journalism, as an historically and contextually variable cultural technology that operates as part of a broader field of governmental practices, addresses two potential shortcomings of Anderson’s model. Firstly, it provides a more concrete and materialist understanding of ‘culture’ that serves to avoid a slippage toward forms of cultural and political-economic determinism. Secondly, it provides a less idealistic, and consequently more realistic, conception of journalistic autonomy. Having considered the implications of this for an understanding of how journalism is constituted and operates as a “cultural technology” that contributes to formations of public life, it concludes by reflecting on the normative implications of this approach for journalism studies
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication, Creativity and Global Citizenship: Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communications Association Annual Conference, Brisbane, July 8-10.
EditorsTerry Flew
Place of PublicationBrisbane
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Communications Association (ANZCA)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781741072754
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
EventANZCA 2009 - Communication, Creativity and Global Citizenship - Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 8 Jul 200910 Jul 2009


ConferenceANZCA 2009 - Communication, Creativity and Global Citizenship
Abbreviated titleANZCA2009
Internet address


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