Mediatization of Self-identity and Divorce
A Study of Life-style Journalism and an Internet Forum on
Divorce in Sweden
Luleå University of Technology
+46 735 244683
Marriage in liquid modernity with increased individualization has to a greater extent came to be the creation of individual autobiographies, instead of based on rigid conventions. (Bauman 2000, Giddens, 1991) In this environment individuals also faces risks to be exposed to divorce in close relationships. This outline for a study will examine how life-style journalism interact with discussions about divorce on an internet forum in Sweden.
Giddens (1991) writes that even self-identity is at stake in late-modern societies, because the reflexive individual is considered to create his own autobiography from a greater number of options which the self must constantly make revisions in relation to. The marriage is under negotiation and is characterized as a transition to the so-called pure relationship where only the love to another should be the guiding principle. Late-modernity itself is a risk culture which challenge individuals trust mechanisms.(Beck 1986, Giddens, 1991) Individual´s are exposed to the risk that their marriage can be dissolved, and after a divorce the self faces challenges to establish trust in another human being. Giddens believes that the media plays a very significant role when self-identity is shaped, and the media also help define social reality and patterns of social interaction. Late modernity itself fundamentally change the everyday life of individuals, and personal aspects of our experience has become mediatized to a greater extent than before. Mediatization has emerged as a new research agenda within media studies, and the concept can be understood from different perspectives and at different levels in society. It is often regarded as a middle-range theory in need to be defined, and also adapted to the prevailing condition of studies on an increasing number of issues. Social institutions and cultural processes have changed character in response to the media having greater authority to define social processes. (Hjarvard 2013, Couldry & Hepp, 2017) Mediated experience is created and penetrates into individual experience, self-identity och everyday life. Late-modernity and mediatization har led to more and more media becoming a part of the individual´s everyday life, and media texts and images becomes part of the individual´s identity contruction. (Fornäs, 2015). Digitalization and Web 2.0 has given individual´s the option to discuss, for example, on internet forums and to write and get response about their life experiences and challenges. The construction of the self and the media are woven into our private lives.
Virtually all of human experiences are mediated by socialization, but also in language.(Giddens, 1991) In this study on media in Sweden discussion treads about divorce on the internet forum www.familjeliv.se are to be examined together with life-style journalism in supplements to tabloids (Expressen Söndag and Aftonbladet Söndag). The aim is to try to understand how individuals communicate an eminently traumatic period in their lives where their self-identity is at stake, and how in a wider context this becomes a discursive construction in interface with the tabloids. The study uses a critical discourse analysis (CDA) and an analysis of visual and linguistic elements in order to thematizise the material and to make close readings of texts. In the visual analysis the symbolic interaction between the observer and observed are to be studied, where photos and illustrations are of interest. Camera angles and the distance to the images are to be interpreted, as well as the demands, requests and offers that are made visible. (Björkvall, 2012) The linguistic elements found in texts on the internet forum and in the supplements to the tabloids are to be examined on a lexical level and the texts modality and evaluation is also of interest.(Fairclough, 1991)