Multiperspectival normative assessment: The case of mediated reactions to terrorism

Wessler, Hartmut ; Althaus, Scott L. ; Chan, Chung-hong ; Jungblut, Marc ; Welbers, Kasper ; Atteveldt, Wouter van

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-616423
Document Type: Article
Year of publication Online: 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: Communication Theory
Volume: tba
Issue number: tba
Page range: 1-24
Place of publication: Hoboken, NJ
Publishing house: Wiley
ISSN: 1050-3293 , 1468-2885
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Humanities > Medien I (Wessler)
Außerfakultäre Einrichtungen > Mannheim Centre for European Social Research - Research Department B
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 070 News media, journalism, publishing
150 Psychology
400 Language, linguistics
Keywords (English): normative assessment , normative theory , public sphere theory , terrorism , terrorism communication , journalism , social media
Abstract: This article provides a model for how communication phenomena can be normatively assessed using multiple normative perspectives simultaneously. We exemplify the proce- dure of multiperspectival normative assessment (MNA) using mediated reactions to ter- rorism as our case in point. We first identify the normative challenges related to the speed and substance of terrorism communication and the ways in which relations of solidarity are communicatively constructed in reacting to terrorism. We link these chal- lenges to four distinct normative theories that prioritize competing values for public dis- course (freedom, community values, empowerment of the marginalized or constructive debate). The resulting set of competing normative expectations, which help assess the performance of terrorism communication, are eventually translated into recommenda- tions for professional and non-professional communicators. In conclusion, we show how MNA can help ground empirical scholarship in firmer theoretical foundations while simultaneously demonstrating the usefulness of normative theory in analyzing a wide range of issues.
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