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abstract

  • This article discusses service journalism — the way the news media provide their audiences with information, advice and help about the problems of everyday life — in light of the theory of the public sphere and the growth of subpolitics fostered by reflexive modernization. Service journalism addresses two main types of everyday problem — grievances and risks — but it tends to subsume the former under the latter due to the effects of promotionalism as an increasingly dominant logic shaping the popularization of media formats and content. Apropos the public sphere debate, we argue that service journalism addresses a hybrid social subject — part citizen, part consumer and part client. Moreover, despite the fact that service journalism tends to individualize problems, it is amenable to politicization inasmuch as it shares common ground — the problems of everyday life — with the social movements and advocacy/activism groups that are the collective, motive force of subpolitics. Subpolitics politicizes the problems of everyday life in the way that it tends to subsume risk under grievance and break with the exclusionary, binary logic of mediational politics. This allows plural identities, individualistic and collectivistic, to coexist in an ambivalent and fluid way.

publication date

  • December 1999