National Belonging, Convergence Methodologies & Media Representations of Power

Recent contact with established journalist, Olja Beckovic has enhanced an understanding of the current state of media within Serbia. I begin this post with an understanding of power and responsibility, formed by knowledge of Curran (1981). Beckovic tends to research into the future of Serbian media and what forms still matter most. This often begs the question, of how can Serbian journalists improve the current situation and what would it take to readdress the state of national belonging affected by current mediated awareness.

Previous posts suggest strongly theories of Utopia Socialism: considered in terms of power by Engles (1880) of the attempt to provide a perfect solution therefore a ‘new’ world. Kumar, however, brings in the concept of technology into this new world utopia. Kumar (1981:302) suggests, “The utopian tide of the 1960’s flowed largely within a tide of technological optimism” ultimately the argument was not technological but against its abuse of technology. Technology, for journalists in Serbia especially, is a key tool that is necessary of the duty of reporter. Considering Zoric (2010) who engages in her understanding of security in Serbia by the advancement of technology going mobile and adapting to a professional lifestyle confidence of identity grows. The positionality of a female researcher is noted here, as the self-security is assured rather than being flanked by camera crew (‘men’). Media tends to be seen as a freedom of expression, especially under the works of Beckovic, which will be interesting to note her career development to become a journalist in the early 90’s, the same time as the position to be political TV show host, “The Impression of the Week”. In terms of security, perhaps the visual identification of her own image projected, and then nationally, was taken advantage of.

Curran (1981) identifies theories stemming from Foucault, whom identifies surveillance culture and control whilst still suggesting the potential for regulation. Contemporary theory comes under scrutiny here, the idea of subjectivity of understanding yourself, particularly one’s positionality as a researcher and/or reporter – which can often be suggested has similar connotations. We are often self disciplining and self monitoring, leading directly to discourses of surveillance which is interesting to consider in terms of Foucault & Althusser.

Feelings do not often have a linear history though they are being connected- as a narrative. This narrative can be displayed within works of journalism as expression of a news or event has been chosen but how that story has become represented and what facts appear to be chosen due to how the knowledge has formed as the researcher. “We are becoming … Not being”. Here, considering Serbia and what research that has been uncovered so far – the promise of happiness appears to be strongly motivating despite closure not being found in Belgrade.

Focusing on convergence mythology: Curran (1981:282):

“The rise of transnational media and globalization are weakening, in this view, identification with the nation. They are also said to be eroding engagement in national politics since this derives ultimately from a sense of national belonging”.

I am interested in the concept of national belonging for a journalist in Serbia. How is their future being contrasted by the catalyst of mobile technology and the advancement of how we receive our media? When borders are historically changing, how does it position itself (the researcher or journalist) in contact with its borders and neighbours – do they shape that individual subjectively through a grand fusion of technologies.

National Belonging, Convergence Methodologies & Media Representations of Power

Starting from Zero – MindMap#2

Narratives: Is everywhere, which generates more confusion when parts of information or representations are neglected, as researchers we need to consider why this is and for what reason and who’s benefit.

The narratives, that are often expected within a country such as Serbia, as a commodity culture, can become fragmented that can develop and maintain a constant state of mis information interpreted. Resulting in the country from starting again from ‘zero’.

Considering a critique of a political economy: the way it is studied in terms of contemporary institutions and practises who controls the resources is important to consider as researchers. Who owns and controls them? Who owns the resources of the political economy and decides the interest of the people who are in power and will this investment be returned? In terms of Serbia’s current narrative they continue to speculate a desire to attain that on the surface everything is fine. However the reason for this is the forgone closure of a fragmented past. The media continues to form part of what is controlled in the news of the world and what does not get distributed shapes and defines our understanding of the world and space around us, including those spaces we have not yet explored.

Here, we consider our positionality as researchers. Well cultured, though still ignorant to the entire Yugoslavia history when considering at a young age in Serbia, English is learnt and developed. The politics of how this is controlled and represented is also determining on our understanding and knowledge as prosumers of media content in which we produce. Therefore, we should continue to consider theories of agency and theories of consent within the media and provide very finite media controls that can still progress even though we are digitally processing the use of media news at our own convenience (Zoric). Journalist Olja Beckovjk reports directly on the media break downs and black outs Serbia has experienced which is key to our own understanding of what their own journalists see worthy as published news report material. We are constantly re recreating new images and viewpoints. A cycle of narrative to fragmented narratives. Which enables us to comment on the media security of Belgrade and how reporters feel when reporting sensitive issues of their own narrative space.

Considering Zizek, (The last utopia dies with commodity culture) we begin to focus on how Belgrade has managed it’s mediation of celebrity and the political economy of the sign as a celebrity. This narrative that formulates its idea around the concept of a celebrity is important because it pulls in freedom of expression and to with free choice (hegemony) lifestyle and consumer choice. Here, again the idolised reporter Beckovjk can be highlighted: once supporting B92 radio station and entertainment her programme was ‘axed’ – Impression of the Week – a political programme that begun in 1991. Beckovjk now focuses on the current state of the media in Serbia. What future does it have and what kind? Does media still matter and in what form, she asks. How can journalists improve the situation – or narrative – that they are already in? when considering these meta narratives we can begin to consider surveillance culture (Foucault) and gender representations (McRobbie 2006). This alternatively relates into structuralism and understanding Serbia’s culture as a change in their previously established routine (pre Yugoslavia conflict – Utopia Socialism – Engles 1880). An ideologically driven system that can provide hegemony and attempt to provide (similarly to Beckovjk) a solution to a perfect vision and ‘new world’. Why and how has this narrative form become so powerful? As media students we will need to untidy these narratives through our understanding and progressing knowledge of Serbia. People want certain things that will make their world represented as more simplistic but they are also trying to shut the world off by an opposing reflection that everything is ‘fine’ in order to provide a positive identity.

Utopian Socialism can be expanded by the understanding of the lure of the marginal (the 3 temptations). Continue to consider power, Engles points out that extreme revolutionists did not recognise any external authority of any kind whatsoever – therefore reason became the sole measure of everything. Revolutionary uprising of class begun in Serbia after their Utopia was broken and a fragmented narrative expanded during the conflict. It is interesting to consider the future for Serbia and how the culture maintains its sole independent collaboration with countries they foresee as ‘powerful’ and useful for future engagement. Curran (2009) considers that the higher levels of news consumption contributes to a smaller within-nation knowledge gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged – Curran will be interesting to consider further when understanding the wider processes in society that take over the power of the media in determining how much people know about public life. Especially gaps between generations.

Here the West is introduced: capitalism and hegemonic ideas of freedom that can be conflicted with Serbia’s idea of freedom. The ‘Human Drift’ (1894) and ‘the will to power’ leading back to Utopian Socialism. Architecture and inter connections become considers (industrial revolution and post modernism) – adapting and integrating for productivity, in which Serbia is progressing to achieve, from zero.

serbia mind map

serbia mindmap

Starting from Zero – MindMap#2

Methodology: The Urge of Permanence


Methodology: The Urge of Permanence

The idea of taking time for granted, and all the more important to deconstruct. To u dear stand and to go beyond the surface again. The archive and time this is the evidence of our permanence. Things like a ‘time capsule’.

What is time? 

It is a social construct and we have invented time – we have had to. God controlled our early conceptions of time: in the seasons and immortality and the gift of life. It was until the 1840s the development of the clock and the early GMT time. Ink 1884 the international meridian conference in Washington was set the global clock. Around this time there was also industrial revolution had begun. The clocks were set at the beginning of capitalism and we needed to have a international clock in order to engage globally. The west ultimately set the time.

“Empty time” – response to uncertain time, is the synchronous and measurable eg calendars and organisers. A sense of control but when this is lost we have to start rationalising and structuring. It helps us feel secure.

Temporality = now. The present, we tend to think about time similarly as how the clock ticks, metaphors can be drawn upon in order to relate and our feeling of time and the now can be visualised as a string of pearls. Which suggests we are without a past and without a future but these cant be discrete series of ‘nows’ as this could be a perpetual present.

Another metaphor of the “flow of time, time is a stream” the progress and moving. This suggest time flows in one direction only so this does not account for the past or the previous and suggests w cannot account for our experiences or indeed a plan for the future.

Time is very rational and very modern invention modernist concept where as temporality is part of our being. Temporality can be seen as: back to the future and shaped by our past experiences and the future experiences we are envisioning to encounter.

Primordial or fundamental time is date able and expanded and authentic.

Time can be inauthentic which is coming from “the experience of time is a state of being within the world” we have this experience of existing in time. Time that can be ruled by others. Eg by society which presents a lack of awareness. See Heidegger (Ontology)- time is future orientated “becoming but not being” never in that final state and never complete. This existence is a state of in between. He argues that we experience the ‘now in preparation for our future which is shaped by thinking what is going to come next. We must consider his own politics as a master race for the future, considering his views.

Phenomenology – Merleau-Ponty (1945) we can only experience temporality and not know our own. If time stood still, if we would imagine it, we would not be able to move forward and progress. We only experience temporality because it is constantly changing and has previous experience that helps us make sense of the now.

“Time is Money

Time and money are both abstract and appear very quantitative they appear neutral and give the illusion of objectivity. The clock appears to be emptied of rhythm.

Capitalism catalysts the idea of money is time. It has become a resource and a commodity (time).

Virilio (2000) suggests “Time Compression Modernity” eg the networked society. “The black hole of inter connectivity” 

We have an obsession with possession and desperation for speed and becoming quicker speeding time up. Though this often becomes counter productive and divides people by class.

Time and money is not always equal, considering “0 hour contracts” (According to recent primary resources through an interview account, Serbia maintains an expectation of jobs and careers if one is sucesful enough and has adopted a ‘lazy’ lifestyle culture.).


A forced improvisation and moving our way through life. The political ideology of speed is significant when considering this research as we live in a society where there is freelance and the nature of working life is told to be. Lara Milan – a cruel optimism and we should look forward to it and a future of careers and work life. States of control is different for Serbians working life is not always constructed and often becomes a “Lazier” culture of which we would consider and of which is accepted.

The concept of boundaries and walls could be seen as a reference to the conflict of Yugoslavia history. During which one region was divided by imaginary differences. 

Four major clock towers – Nebojsa and Sahat is most important because these include walls from Roman and medieval times which reflects upon the founder of Serbian medieval Belgrade (Vicktor – Pobednik, and one of the most important symbols of Belgrade.

Built in Period of 1740 – 1789. In Baroque style which is used exaggerated motion and clear easily interacted materials in order to produce drama and tension, which presents this clock tower as a defining feature.

Location – “Belgrade Fortress” the Stambol Gate (provides the entrance).

Public or private ?

It is now a reminder of its heritage in order to keep ‘Slavic” identities “the same” their identity was Defined by location. However since the Yugoslavia conflict time has become to remain “slow” and has become re constructed/ re thought in terms of thought and understanding because of “loss of hope” and acceptance of just waiting.

Methodology: The Urge of Permanence