Year

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of the Arts, English and Media

Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the role of media in the experience of place in three local government areas. It builds upon recent scholarly work that seeks to rehabilitate the relationship between place and media following earlier claims that media usage could only inhibit a sense of place, or bring about a condition of placelessness. The research is informed by interviews conducted with staff and elected officials from the three local government authorities that serve as the primary examples and case studies. The thesis thus explores the ways in which each of these places is experienced as a complex network of heterogeneous people, objects and connections which interact constantly to produce and reproduce new configurations and imaginaries. The process of negotiation between these is identified as the ‘politics of place’, a process that can occur across various connective media including newspapers, television, books, social network sites, tourism brochures, and blogs. It is argued that each of these media may convey an experience or a construction of place that, in turn, build upon pre-existing histories and conceptions. The methodology pursued is informed by actor-network theory (ANT), which urges the tracing of associations between ontologically distinct actants in any given network. Such traces are examined in pre-existing media such as those described above, but there are also emerging forms of media emerging that are shown to also contribute to an understanding of the construction of place.

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