The Death of Margaret Thatcher and the question of the media event
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Valentine, J. (2013) The Death of Margaret Thatcher and the question of the media event, JOMEC Journal, , , ,
This paper discusses the death and subsequent funeral of Margaret Thatcher through a critical interrogation of Dayan and Katz's notion of 'media events'. By considering the internal theoretical coherence of the notion, and some of the 'media events' that have occurred since its initial formulation, the notion of 'media events' is used as a problematic in order to analyse television coverage of the death and funeral of Margaret Thatcher. The paper focuses on the political dimension of the coverage in order to indicate the ways that the problem of Thatcher's material and symbolic legacy is established in the context of the continuation of the unprecedented financial crisis of capitalism and the attempts of the UK government of the Conservative-Liberal- Democratic alliance to manage its consequences. The paper argues that the event can be understood in terms of the convergence of a residual nostalgia for the social divisions associated with Thatcher, a dominant strategic political ambiguity, and an emergent effervescence around the absence of 'the people'. The paper concludes with a discussion of the problem of democratic politics as precisely the absence of the 'the people'.