The Performativity of “Media Logic” in the Mass Mediation of Science

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Studies of the use of research-based expertise in the mass media often demonstrate how experts are used to confirm journalists’ angles on particular stories or how research-based knowledge claims are twisted. Both among practitioners and science communication scholars, such practices are often explained with reference to a pervasive “media logic.” “Media logic” is constructed as governing choices and interactions of researchers and journalists. This article critically examines the extensive use of the term “media logic” to explain choices, changes or content in media production, and presents Actor-Network-Theory as an approach that invites us to ask what takes place in practice without resorting to such generalizing explanatory devices. The article argues that a quick jump to “media logic” as an explanation may imply that we forget its contingency and ignore what actually takes place in journalists’ and researchers’ negotiations about texts and facts in the mass mediation of science.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)674-688
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Actant
  • Actor-Network-Theory
  • Media Logic
  • Mass Mediation
  • Professional Identities
  • Science Communication

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