Belligerent Broadcasting: Synthetic argument in broadcast talk, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Belligerent Broadcasting

Synthetic argument in broadcast talk, 1st Edition

By Michael Higgins, Angela Smith


184 pages | 63 B/W Illus.

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Why is rudeness such a prominent feature of contemporary broadcasting? If broadcasting is about the enactment of sociability, then how can we account for the fact that broadcasting has become a sphere of anger, humiliation, anger, dispute and upset? And to what extent does belligerence in broadcasting reflect broader social and cultural developments?

This book reflects upon and analyses the development of 'belligerent broadcasting' beginning with an examination of belligerence in its historical context and as an aspect of wider cultural concerns surrounding the retreat of civility. With attention to the various relations of power expressed in the various forms of belligerent conduct across a range of media genres, the authors explore its manifestation in political interviews, in the form of 'confrontation' in talk shows, in makeover television, as an 'authentic' means of proffering opinion and as a form of sociability or banter.

Richly illustrated with studies and examples of well-known shows from both sides of the Atlantic, including The Apprentice, The Fixer, American Idol, Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, DIY SOS, The Jeremy Kyle Show and Dragon's Den, this book reflects on the consequences and potentialities of belligerence in the media and public sphere. It will appeal to scholars and students of cultural and media studies, communication and popular culture.


‘This book offers an in-depth academic exploration of the role, function and wider cultural and political impact of belligerence in broadcasting. The authors’ insightful and detailed analyses and discussions of rudeness, bullying and banter in a variety of programming provide a most engaging and enlightening read.’ - Professor Åsa Kroon, Örebro University, Sweden.

Table of Contents

1. A Polite Introduction

2. Pugnacious Political Media Talk

3. Truculent Talk Television

4. Bellicose Business

5. Chastening Changes: Make-over TV

6. Banter as Playful Sociability

7. Mediated Fury: Talk Radio and its Publics

8. Some Courteous Conclusions

About the Authors

Michael Higgins is Senior Lecturer in Humanities at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. His books include Media and Their Publics, The Cambridge Companion to Modern British Culture and La Leadership Politica as well as more than 30 book chapters and journal articles. His academic interests range from national identity in the news to populist political rhetoric. Michael is also a member of the Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Group.

Angela Smith is Reader in Language and Culture at the University of Sunderland. She has published widely in the areas of media discourse, gender and politics and is a member of the Ross Priory Broadcast Talk Group. With Dr Claire Nally (Northumbria University), Angela is co-editor of the International Library of Gender in Popular Culture.

About the Series

The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture

Dedicated to a renewed engagement with culture, this series fosters critical, contextual analyses and cross-disciplinary examinations of popular culture as a site of cultural politics. It welcomes theoretically grounded and critically engaged accounts of the politics of contemporary popular culture and the popular dimensions of cultural politics. Without being aligned to a specific theoretical or methodological approach, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture publishes monographs and edited collections that promote dialogues on central subjects, such as representation, identity, power, consumption, citizenship, desire and difference. Offering approachable and insightful analyses that complicate race, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability and nation across various sites of production and consumption, including film, television, music, advertising, sport, fashion, food, youth, subcultures and new media, The Cultural Politics of Media and Popular Culture welcomes work that explores the importance of text, context and subtext as these relate to the ways in which popular culture works alongside hegemony.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural