How death is represented in the media  Cover Image

Medijska reprezentacija smrti
How death is represented in the media

Author(s): Karmen Erjavec, Petra Thaler
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Slovensko sociološko društvo (in FDV)
Keywords: representation of death; tabloid; frame analyses; media; reincarnation

Summary/Abstract: This article introduces sociological and media analyses of death. It is based on the assumption that analyses of texts in the media can contribute to the sociological understanding of death. The understanding of death is quite different in post-modern societies than in traditional ones, where individuals can rely on the social system in cases of marginal situations while in post-modern societies they have to rely on themselves. Nowadays, talk about the natural is pushed into the private sphere, while the public sphere is flooded with media representations of death. The media discourse on death can be grasped through an identification and description of specific frames which are prevalent in the news, as well as through the style of framing the issue of death. The analysis of the Slovenian family tabloid magazine Jana identifies two consistent and repetitive frames regarding death: ‘ordinary circumstances of the deaths of extraordi¬nary people’ and ‘extraordinary circumstances of the deaths of ordinary people’ with eight main sub-frames among the latter. Two missing frames were found: ‘death as a product of aging’ and ‘death of the members of marginal groups’. The framing analysis combined with the analysis of lexical choice reveals that the magazine views natural death as a norm. Changes in society have forced the magazine to include the beliefs of those described as New Age (reincarnation) among the competing discourses (Catholic and scientific).

  • Issue Year: 22/2006
  • Issue No: 52
  • Page Range: 29-44
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Slovenian