Representations of Africa in African media: The case of the darfur violence

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Abstract

This article examines representation of the conflict in Darfur by the media in Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Rwanda. It analyses 850 newspaper articles published from 2003 to 2008 and journalist interviews from Kenya and South Africa. Using Mbembe's articulation of 'meaningful acts' and Bourdieu's field theory, the article highlights how the intersection of geopolitics, symbolic affirmation of unity and 'Africanness' and a ritualistic use of official sources led African media fields to mimic the global north in how they have framed the Darfur conflict. The most striking finding from the analysis of how these four countries reported the violence in Darfur is the salience of the ethnic conflict frame. However, the ethnic conflict frame was used in African media differently than in Western media, which often assumed a path-determined relationship between conflict and tribal identities. In contrast, African journalists used the ethnic frame to domesticate the news and as a part of specific political project to demarcate which actors should be understood as Other and with which actors audiences share an affinity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberadx039
Pages (from-to)44-61
Number of pages18
JournalAfrican Affairs
Volume117
Issue number466
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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