A major new series, launched today by The Guardian and devised by NUI Maynooth Media Studies Lecturer Dr Gavan Titley and the editors of Guardian Comment is Free, sets out to explore how racism is understood in public debate, and how it is debated in the interactive spaces of digital media.
According to Dr Titley, the series was inspired by the fact that racism continues to dominate the headlines, from the rise of the far-right to the prevalence of racism in sport, to the status of racial abuse on social media. Nevertheless, not only is the nature and impact of racism disputed, the very idea of racism is contested.
‘Racism is at once everywhere and nowhere', Dr Titley said. 'On the one hand, the recent focus on the far-right in Europe, and the continuing stream of incidents involving politicians and celebrities, ensures that news about racism remains constant. On the other hand, European societies largely regard themselves as having overcome racism and it has become very difficult for those that experience racism to describe their experiences in these terms. So the main question this series will explore is, ‘what is recognised as racism and, in diverse and unequal societies, who gets to decide?'’
The series will pay particular attention to how online sites and social media platforms have intensified the opportunities for racial abuse, an issue that has received increasing attention in the aftermath of the July 22nd 2011 murders in Norway. 'Anonymity, the ability to network instantaneously in the global space of the internet, and the desire of mainstream media to provide as much 'interaction' as possible has given rise to a situation where writers with minority backgrounds can suffer serious abuse and hate speech when they publish' Dr Titley said.
Dr Titley's contributions to the series are written with Dr Alana Lentin, a sociologist at the University of Western Sydney. Their recent book, The Crises of Multiculturalism; Racism in a Neoliberal Age, has triggered widespread debate on the changing nature of racism, and has been featured in such publications as The Washington Times, The Guardian, The Nation, and The Washington Post.
The series will feature on the Comment is Free site on the online version of The Guardian newspaper http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/racism-in-a-digital-age.
Ends: 12 July 2012
For more information, please contact:
Deirdre Watters, NUI Maynooth Communications Office
+353 1 708 6735 firstname.lastname@example.org