Tabloidisation Revisited: The regeneration of journalism in conditions of 'advanced liberalism'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


For the last two decades, the problem of how to understand contemporary transformations in journalism has frequently revolved around concerns about an alleged 'tabloidisation', that has not only provided the basis for a proliferation of 'infotainment' texts and genres but is also seen by critics to have affected the field of journalism as a whole. This article revisits these debates to develop an alternative, genealogical perspective on contemporary forms and practices of journalism which, it is argued, provides a basis for engaging with this problem that is more realistic and, consequently, more critically useful. To this end, it begins by highlighting how most contributions to the 'infotainment' debate tend to divide into one of three perspectives on the present: as a moment of historical decline, continuity or progress. While acknowledging the importance of recognising, and taking account of, substantive changes within the field, this article questions the critical practice of providing a meta-historical 'assessment' of the present. By contrast, the advantage of a genealogical perspective is that it enables engagement with both continuities and change within journalism, as a basis for understanding how the present is marked by particular characteristics and challenges. To this end, the work of Nikolas Rose and Erik Neveu are drawn upon to consider how each provides suggestive directions for an analysis of how journalists and journalism have been substantially challenged and transformed in conditions of 'advanced liberalism'. Finally, the article reflects on what such analysis might offer, both in the critical perspective it provides on journalism, and the contribution such work might make to the field itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-118
Number of pages19
JournalSouthern Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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