The subjective and objective violence of terrorism: analysing “British values” in newspaper coverage of the 2017 London Bridge attack

BLACK, Jack (2018). The subjective and objective violence of terrorism: analysing “British values” in newspaper coverage of the 2017 London Bridge attack. Critical Studies on Terrorism.

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Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17539...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/17539153.2018.1498191

Abstract

This article examines how Žižek’s analysis of “subjective” violence can be used to explore the ways in which media coverage of a terrorist attack is contoured and shaped by less noticeable forms of “objective” (symbolic and systemic) violence. Drawing upon newspaper coverage of the 2017 London Bridge attack, it is noted how examples of “subjective” violence were grounded in the externalization of a clearly identifiable “other”, which symbolically framed the terrorists and the attack as tied to and representative of the UK Muslim community. Examples of “systematic” violence were most notable in the ideological edifice that underpinned this framing but also in the ways in which newspaper reports served to draw upon British values in the aftermath of the attack. This directed attention away from the contradictions within the UK, towards narratives that sought to “fix” these contradictions through eradicating the problem of “the other” and/or by violently protecting the British values “they” seek to undermine. As a consequence, newspaper coverage worked to uphold the illusion that “peace” could be achieved by eradicating terrorism through further forms of objective violence, including, internment without trial; the “ripping up” of human rights; and, closer surveillance of Muslim communities. Indeed, it was this unacknowledged violence that worked to maintain British values in the press’ coverage.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Žižek, London Bridge, British values, Muslim/Islam, media analysis
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Sport and Exercise Science
Humanities Research Centre
Sociology, Politics and Policy Research Group
Departments: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Media Arts and Communication
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Humanities
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics
Health and Well-being > Department of Sport
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/17539153.2018.1498191
Depositing User: Jack Black
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2018 09:22
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2018 14:10
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22174

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