1st Edition

Media and Conflict
Escalating Evil

ISBN 9781594516443
Published July 30, 2011 by Routledge
192 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

The world faces explosive conflicts about the distribution and scarcity of resources, about ethnicity and religion, and about the risks of urban life. These conflicts can easily spiral out of control toward mass slaughter-an evil of huge proportions that is often escalated by the media. What should be done to prevent this lethal trend? We need to understand how the 'spiral of escalation' works. How do media create anxiety, provide space for agitation, and disconnect people? Three approaches to the prevention of mass mediated aggression are proposed in this book: an early warning system for incitement to mass destruction, the invitation to disarming conversations in urban space, and the teaching of 'compassionate communication' to children and others. Alertness to the recurrence of collective violence is urgently needed not only in unstable and poor societies, but also in established democracies. Ordinary people can be incited to the mass slaughter of other ordinary people anywhere. Understanding the media's role in this and acting to prevent it are key goals of this book.

Table of Contents

Covers the following topics:; Media provide angry leaders with too much of a platform.; In the escalation of evil the media are essential tools for agitation by unscrupulous political and religious leaders.; The mass media also create anxiety: the social matrix for mass manipulation.; Today's conflicts about resources, identities, and urban threats can turn into tomorrow's bloody wars.; The "clash of civilizations" thesis is appealing, popular, influential, clear-and very misleading!; If the international news media were to cancel photo sessions with world leaders-even for one day-that would be a victorious day for democracy and an antidote to reductionistic intellectual constructs.

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“What a timely book—when the media try to limit the discussion of the Middle East to
escalating violence right now, leaving out both the past and the future. Hamelink’s three
proposals, early warning (opening the future), disarming conversations (anti-escalation) and
‘compassionate communication’ (about suffering, about joy) should be read and understood by
all, moguls and pundits alike.”
—Johan Galtung, Professor of Peace Studies and founder of TRANSCEND

“Cees Hamelink brings a breadth and depth of experience, and of political and ethical
commitment, to presenting potential everyday solutions to enormous problems that can easily
appear beyond our capacity to solve. In particular, he serves as a seasoned guide to the roles of
media and information embedded in these problems and their solutions.”
—John D. H. Downing, Emeritus Founding Director, Global Media Research Center, Southern Illinois University

“This is vintage Cees Hamelink as incomparable provocateur imbued with a social purpose.
This book alerts us to the reality of the cycle of good and evil, humans who look the other way
rather than defuse conflict, the need for mindfulness in the everyday, and the role of media
institutions in escalating evil through dehumanizing representations.”
—Bella Mody, de Castro Chair in Global Media, University of Colorado–Boulder

“Cees Hamelink has written an eloquent and important book about the importance of both
personal communication and mass media in counteracting the evils of war and conflict. He
opines that it is not enough for communicators to report. They must also educate and warn
against repetition of crimes against humanity.”
—Howard Tumber, City University–London

“In this wide-ranging book on an all too timely topic, Cees Hamelink asks key questions about
the role of media in collective violence, and he suggests thought-provoking answers.”
—Susan Benesch, Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute