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Three twenty-first-century disaster films, the ideology of science and the future of democratic debate

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While news media representations of science and technology have received ample attention in academic research, there is a lack of comparable research into disaster films. Drawing on an in-depth qualitative content analysis, this article aims to explore the representation of science in three recent disaster films: The Day After Tomorrow (Emmerich, 2004), Contagion (Soderbergh, 2011) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Wyatt, 2011). We find these films’ representation of science contributing to a reification of science and the promotion of the ‘ideology of science’. We conclude by discussing how this representation potentially shapes the context in which late modern risks are approached in social and political debates, and to what extent this might contribute to facilitating or impeding democratic debate and citizenship.
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Keywords: democratic debate; disaster film; ideology of science; late modern risks; representation of science; science in the media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Antwerp

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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  • The Catalan Journal of Communication and Cultural Studies (CJCS) is committed to publishing research and theoretical articles in the fields of media studies, popular culture and cinema, public relations and advertising studies, social communication, new media, language uses in the media, communication and cultural policies, social and national identities, gender studies, sports and leisure, tourism and heritage, among other related issues. CJCS publishes double blind peer-reviewed articles and its aims and scope cover not only Catalan media and cultural systems but also other social contexts.
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