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Philomathia Forum 2017: Democratic resilience and the media: The effects of policy and communication strategies on community cohesion in times of threat

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Ali Sonay.

Does the media empower or exclude different citizens and community groups at times of crisis, and can this impact democratic resilience? The London Westminster attack on March 22 reminded us once again how essential this issue is for our multi-ethnic societies, and how acts of terrorism become media events with wide-ranging impacts on the ways trust, fear and belonging can knit together, or tear apart the fabric of a nation.

From the time of the Charlie Hebdo attacks to the most current London tragedy, the same question continues to arise: Why do locally born jihadis choose the path they do? This Forum will engage with this elusive question in the context of how media and policy contribute to atmospheres of inclusion or alienation, and how that affects community culture, social cohesion, and citizen fear – and crucially, marginalisation of the most vulnerable. By bringing together experts on media and social policy from a number of different fields and national settings, the Forum will encourage debate that considers the importance, as well as the role of social norms, public discourses, and local policy in influencing, controlling and mediating community messaging. Understanding how the media’s discourse secures, as well as structures local and national community resilience, is critical to understanding how policies of community engagement and inclusivity can protect (or by their absence, damage) democratic society.

This talk is part of the Philomathia Forum 2017 series.

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