‘Hostility Won’t Deter Me, Says PM’: The Print Media, the Production of Affect and Waitangi Day

Alex McConville, Margaret Wetherell, Tim McCreanor, Helen Moewaka Barnes

Abstract


This paper explores affect, discourse and emotion in national life. We focus on the print media’s use of Waitangi Day as an affective-discursive distribution channel maintaining and reinforcing the hegemony of settler culture. Applying new thinking around affect, we consider how the cultural production of emotion in print media privileges settler identity, whilst simultaneously devaluing indigenous struggle. One hegemonic interpretive repertoire is discussed; that ‘Waitangi Day is a day of conflict.’ Two subordinate repertoires are juxtaposed against this: that it should be ‘a day of celebration’ and that it should be ‘a day of conversation.’ We argue that these repertoires and their associated affective-discursive positions encourage readers to move into episodes of pejorative affect directed towards Māori ‘ruining the day.’ Productive engagement with bi-culturalism requires a broader and deeper range of affective-discursive resources. Popular journalism fails its readers and limits debate through its narrow modelling of the emotional experiences Waitangi Day might evoke.

Keywords


Affect, social justice, Waitangi Day, media representations, affect and emotion, positions and repertoires, emotional capital

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol11iss2id283