Translating the Public Imaginary: The Narrative Aesthetics of Public Engagement in Canadian Broadcasting Policy

Michael Lithgow

Abstract


In public proceedings, professionalized discourses often reflect markedly different communicative strategies than those use by members of the general public. This paper describes the findings of aesthetic discourse analysis of public submissions to one of the largest public processes ever held by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Lets Talk TV review of television regulation in Canada. Public submissions rarely engaged the legal, financial and bureaucratic logics that traditionally dominate CRTC policy hearings, but instead demonstrated heart-felt, affective, psychologically complex and sometimes ambiguous expressions of desire. One of the tactics routinely engaged in public submissions was ‘narrative aesthetics’ – the implicit and explicit use of story structures to shape aspects of discourse legitimacy. By focusing on the narrative aesthetics of public submissions, a discursive landscape emerged that in some instances revealed gaps between public sensibilities and those legitimized by policy decisions, suggesting a territory of public experience more complex than the social realities reflected in policy discourse outcomes.


Keywords


Broadcasting, Discourse analysis, Aesthetics, Narrative, Lets Talk TV

Full Text: PDF HTML


DOI: https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2019v44n1a3381

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/
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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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