Publication Details

Dreher, T. (2008). 'Media, multiculturalism and the politics of listening', In E. Tilley (Eds.), Power and Place: Refereed Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference 2008 (pp. 1-14). Palmerston North, New Zealand: Massey University.

Additional Publication Information

ANZCA is the peak professional body for communication, mass communication, public relations, and journalism educators in Australasia, and the annual conference is always a lively and collegial opportunity to explore and debate new research directions in communication. We are the biggest annual gathering in Australasia for communication educators and researchers - and often noted as an extremely friendly conference, too!


To date both research and policy on media and cultural diversity have emphasised questions of speaking, whether in mainstream, community or diaspora media. There is also a vast literature examining questions of representation, including stereotyping, racialisation, hybridisation and self-representations. This paper extends these discussions to focus on questions of listening. Attention to listening provokes important questions about media and multiculturalism: How do media enable or constrain listening across difference? How can a diversity of voices be heard in the media? Drawing on recent work in ethics and political theory, this paper explores the productive possibilities of a shift from the politics of representation to a politics of listening in both media studies and media advocacy work concerned with understanding across differences. To highlight listening shifts the focus and responsibility for change from marginalised voices and on to the conventions, institutions and privileges which shape who and what can be heard in media.