9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN18 Sociology of Communications and Media Research

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 National or Transnational Symbols? Building AA, AA.325

Symbols of Statehood, Legitimation, and Power in the Depiction of Heads of State in German and US-American Annual Reviews

The depiction of heads of state in the media offers a good opportunity to study symbols of statehood, legitimation, and power. Depictions of heads of state are usually carefully staged and use a set of symbols to underline their claim for representation, legitimation, and leadership.
Examples of these symbols are national flags, arrangement of persons, clothing (formal / informal), and setting (like military parades, state vists, or interview situations). Televised annual reviews summarize the most important events of the year. They are well-suited to study the structure of these representations and to study changes over time and across nations. Depictions of stateheads in annual reviews from 1999 to 2008 from the USA (ABC, CBS, NBC) and Germany (ARD) are selected and qualitatively analyzed with regard to the representation of statehood, legitimation, and power. A quantitative content analysis of the material reveals differences in representations over time and across Germany and the USA.
An innovative aspect of the project is the modelling and analysis of the visuals with the help of techniques from computer science, specifically from the field of automatic image recognition.
Based on prior research, the author expects a) a convergence of the representation of statehood, legitimation, and power in the USA and Germany over time and b) a development over time away from traditional formal settings towards informal settings.
The project will test these hypotheses.