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Archive for the ‘Media studies’ Category

Claire Scott’s At the Fault Line explores whiteness and white identity through the lens of literary journalism

Social identities within post-apartheid South Africa remain highly contested with issues of race and racism often dominating the national discourse.

In order to find their place within the national narrative, white South Africans need to re-think their stories, re-define their positions in society and re-imagine their own narratives of identity and belonging.

By exploring whiteness and white identity through the lens of literary journalism, this book reflects on ways in which writers use the uncertainties and contradictions inherent in this genre to reveal the complexities of white identity formation and negotiation within contemporary society.

Authors such as Rian Malan (My Traitor’s Heart), Antjie Krog (Country of My Skull and Begging to Be Black), Jonny Steinberg (Midlands) and Kevin Bloom (Ways of Staying) are writing at times of political and social flux. By working at the fault line of literature and journalism, these literary journalists not only mirror the volatility of their social setting but also endeavour to find new narrative forms, revealing the inherent anxiety and possibility of whiteness in contemporary South Africa.

Claire Scott holds a PhD in English Studies from the University of the Western Cape and currently lectures in the department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has a keen interest in South African literary journalism, as well as representations of South African identities within popular culture.

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Yves Vanderhaeghen’s Afrikaner Identity looks at the role that media plays in the construction and demarcation of boundaries and culture

What have we done?’ is a plea heard amid the wreckage of Afrikanerdom.

‘Afrikaner’ in South African public discourse is more often than not a swear word.

This close media study considers how, squeezed in the moral vice of past and present, Afrikaners look in a mirror that reflects only a beautiful people.

It is an image of upstanding, hard-working citizens.

To hold on to that image requires blinkers, sleights of hand and contortion.

Above all, it requires an inversion of the liberation narrative in which the wretched of South Africa are the historical oppressors, besieged in their language, their homes, their jobs.

They are the new ‘grievables’, an identity that requires intricate moral manoeuvres, and elision as much of the past as of transformation.
 
Yves Vanderhaeghen is a journalist who grew up in Pretoria, took time out from newspapers to write his PhD on Afrikaner ‘self-othering’ in Beeld newspaper, and is now editor of the Witness in Pietermaritzburg.

‘Central to the book’s original contribution is the notion of “self-othering”, namely the discursive switch present in Afrikaans media that turns perpetrators into victims in an attempt to dislodge the historical burden of collective guilt and assume a new identity of marginalisation – thereby activating a discourse of minority rights and the need for cultural protection. This is a significant, authentic insight that the author goes on to support through empirical analysis of newspaper reports.’ — Herman Wasserman, professor of Media Studies and director of the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town

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