Frames-as-Assemblages: Theorising framing in contemporary media networks

I presented a paper at the University of Leicester’s Caught in the Frame conference yesterday covering some of the main theoretical issues I’m working on for my PhD. You can view my presentation below and I should have a more substantial account of what I was trying to convey coming shortly which I’ll share via the blog too.

My starting point took slight issue with to the conference’s original call for papers: ‘Frame analysis continues to offer valuable insights into the relationship between institutions, representations and audiences’. In response, my paper aimed to question the relevance of such values in a contemporary networked ‘hybrid media system’ – that is an environment characterised by the fluid interaction of new and traditional media, the disintermediation of institutions and institutional actors, dissolution of easily definable and discrete audiences and the crisis of representation brought about by the materialist turn in communications research.

I proposed a revised and renewed approach to framing by synthesising Stephen Reese’s (2001) notion of frames as “organizing principles that … structure the social world” and the Deleuzian concept of ‘assemblages’. Using Manuel DeLanda’s schematic Assemblage Theory I developed a cohesive yet dynamic model – tentatively termed ‘frames-as-assemblages’ – for analysing the representational and material components and dynamic forces of territorialization and deterritorialization that constitute frame production in a contemporary networked media space.

The new model hopefully offers a radical re-engagement with, and contribution to, the conceptual debate surrounding one of the most widely applied theories in the field of communication studies.

Hopefully :) Let me know what you think.

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