Retroactive causation and the temporal construction of news: contingency and necessity, content and form

BLACK, Jack (2020). Retroactive causation and the temporal construction of news: contingency and necessity, content and form. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory, 1-16.

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This article affords particular attention to the relationship between memory, the narrativization of news and its linear construction, conceived as journalism’s ‘memory- work’. In elaborating upon this ‘work’, it is proposed that the Hegelian notion of retroactive causation (as used by Slavoj Žižek) can examine how analyses of news journalists ‘retroactively’ employ the past in the temporal construction of news. In fact, such retroactive (re)ordering directs attention to the ways in which journalists contingently select ‘a past’ to confer meaning on the present. With regard to current literature, it is noted that a retroactive analysis can highlight two important dialectics within the practice of news journalism: 1) the relation between contingency and necessity; and, 2) the relation between content and form. Indeed, it is argued that this theoretical account offers a novel approach to examining the significance of memory in news journalism as well as the inconsistencies which underscore journalism’s memory-work. It is in accordance with such inconsistency that broader reflections on time, temporality and our relations to the past can be made.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute; Sociology, Politics and Policy Research Group; Sport Industry Research Centre; 16 Studies in Human Society; 20 Language, Communication and Culture; 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies
Identification Number:
Page Range: 1-16
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2020 10:30
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2022 01:18

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