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Dead Ground: Time-Spaces of Conflict, News, and Cultural Understanding

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Slogans like “geography matters” or “space makes a difference” are often repeated but in media studies there have been few efforts to go deeper into these concepts and to systematically explore what kind of geography could matter when we talk about conflict and war reporting. This article introduces the concept of “dead ground,” which refers to hidden cultural time-spaces where the cultural faultlines of conflicts are located. It explores cultural “dead grounds” within reporting on armed conflict in post-Soviet Georgia. It also analyses three different elements of dead ground by comparing local and news discourses on the conflict. Empirically, it explores the war between Russia and Georgia through interviews with local journalists, foreign correspondents, and international observers. The article shows that in order to move beyond “dead ground,” conflict reporting should advance towards anthropological reflexivity on how the spatio-temporal context defines a cultural understanding of conflict.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Communication, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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