Death in Media Cover Image

Смрт у медијима
Death in Media

Author(s): Aleksandra Pavićević
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Етнографски институт САНУ
Keywords: death; media; ordinary people and heroes; ideology; fear and catharsis

Summary/Abstract: This paper discusses the role of media in a construction of public image, speech and presentation of death. The main research questions could be posed as follows: does the media discourse confirm a thesis about modern society as the one which intensely avoids encounter with Death, or does it defy it? Frequent images or hints of death in visual media- in films, informative and entertainment programs suggest certain changes related to this issue in the past few decades. This analysis focuses on printed media, hence the paper assesses numerous issues of the daily journal Политика from 1963, 1972, 1973, 1979, 1985, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2007 and 2008, as well as some other daily journals after 2000. The analysis confirms a strong connection between the current political systems and ideology and speech about death. In addition, it reveals a political usage of this event but also speaks up about cultural and historical models, underlying all other constructions. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, the presentations, including the speech about death relied on the traditional understandings about inevitability of death and dying, and alternatively on atheistic beliefs related to the progress and wellbeing of the society. In this particular discourse, death was present to a limited degree, serving primarily to glorify socialist order. The end of the 1970’s witnessed an increase in the glorification of the death, correlated with the decrease of the dominant political ideology. On the other hand, the 1990’s brought about more presence of the national and religious symbolism and glorification of the dead as heroes. After 2000, mercantilism is evident throughout the media. All of the media broadcast drastic images of death and dead, thus providing an answer to the posed question at the beginning of this paper- about the relationship of the modern society towards death but nevertheless, this still leaves out many implicit consequences and possible meanings.

  • Issue Year: LVIII/2010
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 39-55
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Serbian