Understanding Ethnic Media Through Agonism



I apply agonistic pluralism to ethnic media via two perspectives; the existing hegemonic structures and norms that can be identified through an agonistic approach, and the ethnic media practices that may constitute counter-hegemony in practice. Three areas are focused on to demonstrate my arguments: a critique of journalistic professionalism as hegemonic discourse; a case study of minority ethnic media production in Australia which demonstrates its counter-hegemonic potential and limitations; and an analysis of media policy discourses and their relationship to ethnic media. I suggest that looking at journalistic professionalism as the hegemonic sedimentation of particular discursive constructions of journalistic identity reveals much about the sometimes subtle ways that ethnic minority journalists are marginalised in dominant media culture (Carpentier, 2005; Husband, 2005). These are not exclusions that are always visible under a political-economy approach, with its concerns over ownership and control. Instead, they gain their power through the language of neutrality and the imperceptibility of their contingent foundations (Phelan, 2014b). The case study of ethnic media practice will draw on my own research into African media production in Australia, and I will interrogate the way media workers in this sector challenge hegemonic constructions of race through diverse means. I will also draw on secondary data from other research in this area. Finally, in taking an agonistic approach to policy, I focus on the notion of pluralism, and the way it differs from more common concerns with diversity in media policy analysis. Establishing and sustaining a media environment open to ‘pluralisation’ is one of the key challenges in this area (Connolly, 1995; Karppinen, 2013).


Agonistic pluralism Ethnic media Media Counter-Hegemony Journalism 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MediaUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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